Conversations on Roots & Identity 5: Iraq
with Joyce Dallal, Lev Hakak and Salaam Yousif.
Thursday, March 29 L.A. 7:30 pm
Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
681 Venice Blvd., Venice CA 90291
Tickets $7 general, $5 members of Ivri-NASAWI, Beyond Baroque.
RSVP: (323) 650-3157
This popular series raises issues of cultural roots, literary explorations and adjusting to a bicultural American and Middle Eastern identity. Part five of the series features American-born multimedia artist Joyce Dallal, who reflects on the journey of her Iraqi Jewish parents from Baghdad to the U.S.A., her father's past as a member of Iraq's Communist Party, and her own struggle to find the meaning of home.
Lev Hakak is a Baghdad-born fiction writer and UCLA professor of Hebrew whose work reflects his journey from Iraq to Israel and on to the States. A poet, novelist and critic, among his many works are the novel, "Strangers Among Brothers." His poetry appears in the anthology, "Keys to the Garden, New Israeli Writing" (City Lights 1996) Hakak was one of the first Mizrahi writers of the generation that grew up in Israel to confront the social issues confronting Mizrahi Jews through his academic and literary activities.
Salaam Yousif is a Baghdadi-born scholar and essayist who reflects on Iraqi writing, at home and in exile.
Tickets $7, $5 members of Ivri-NASAWI and Beyond Baroque. Seating is limited; you must reserve by phone or email. Call for directions. RSVP to (323) 650-3157 or email
Ivri-NASAWI, founded in 1996, is a national grassroots organization which promotes the arts and cultures of Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews and other cultures of the Middle East. Visit www.ivri-nasawi.org.
"It is a Tree of Life to Those that Hold Fast to It"(detail), 1994
Joyce Dallal, who will speak at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center on Thursday, March 29, 2001, is an artist whose work ranges in media from painting and collage to installation. Dallal explores the evolution of contemporary American identity, incorporating issues of immigrations, assimilation, conflict ing loyalties and changing cultural traditions. Much of her work is based on her own experience as an Iraqi-Jewish American.
She received her BA from UCLA and her MFA from USC, and is on the Art faculty at El Camino College. She is the recipient of a B rody Arts Fellowship and a Western States Arts Federation Fellowship in Photography.
The title of this piece is taken from a well-known Hebrew prayer. The Tree of Life refers to the Torah, which is the law and history of the Jewish people. In the synagogue, the Torah is kept in a closed cabinet call The Ark, and there is a light above T he Ark that is always kept burning. For this piece, I created a type of ark of an old television cabinet, and instead of the Torah, it holds a television. There is also a light that hangs above it. There is a collaged prayer rug in a Tree of Life patte rn that sits between the art and an easy chair.
The rug is made from linoleum, photographs and TV Guide clippings. Viewers are meant to sit comfortably in the chair and watch television. On the television is a silent video that tells the story of four generations in my family. With each successive generation, the stories reveal the increasing presence of the television as the family structure changes over the years. The Hebrew inscription "From Generation to Generation, Hallelujah," also taken from a well-known prayer, is inscribed on the television cabinet.
Joyce Dallal previously participated in a group art exhibit of contemporary Sephardi and Mizrahi artists, "Beyond Boundaries," at the Skirball Cultural Center, held in August 1997 for the Sephardic Arts Festival and curated by Ivri-NASAWI.
Click here to learn more about Joyce Dallal's Finding Home.
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