Saturday, January 13, 2018

Nabil Mousa's Arab and Coming Out in Detroit

By Michael T. Luongo
Nabil Mousa with his painting “Burka #16.” Mr. Mousa took what he saw as a symbol of women’s oppression and applied it to himself as a gay artist.Credit Salamatina Gallery; Johnathon Kelso for The New York Times
DEARBORN, Mich. — Nabil Mousa’s first solo art exhibition was a joyous occasion, but it still brought tears to his eyes when he introduced his husband to the audience. Mr. Mousa was born in Syria and immigrated to the United States with his conservative Christian parents. In 2000, when he came out, they soon cut off contact and disowned him. Now, he was melding his two identities — gay and Arab — in a show of paintings here. And what was more surprising was where his work was being displayed: the Arab-American National Museum, which was focusing for the first time on a gay artist’s exploration of discrimination. Mr. Mousa, 51, is among a small but growing number of L.G.B.T. artists of Arab descent incorporating their sexual identity into their work. [More]

Arab American National Museum: "American Landscape: Exploring the Art & Humanity of Nabil Mousa" (Through April 18, 2018); 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI; (313) 582-AANM (2266);
Mr. Mousa, who is melding his gay and Arab identities in his art, at his studio in Atlanta. Credit Johnathon Kelso for The New York Times