Translation as Research: February 13

Translation as Research: Ahmad Diab and Anneka Lenssen in conversation with Saleh al-Jumaie




Translation as Research
Ahmad Diab and Anneka Lenssen in conversation with Saleh al-Jumaie
Tuesday, February 13 at 6:00 pm
126 Dwinelle Annex, UC Berkeley

Anneka Lenssen (Assistant Professor, Global Modern Art, UC Berkeley) and Ahmad Diab (Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature, UC Berkeley) will speak with Iraqi artist Saleh al-Jumaie (b. al-Suwaira, 1939) on the notion of translation as research. The trio will open their conversation with a reading–in English and in Arabic–of the radical “New Visions” manifesto, whichal-Jumaie and five other young artists published in Baghdad in 1969, and which has been newly translated by Lenssen and Nada Shabout for the forthcoming Museum of Modern Art anthology Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents. In light of recent efforts in the United States to revisit and revive Arab modernist and avant-garde histories by means of translation, how do we understand the hopes and challenges of this period? Or grapple with the stakes of al-Jumaie’s work and struggle? To what extent did Iraqi artists themselves, located in the complicated colonial and post-colonial conditions of 1960s Iraq, already work by translation—between languages, materials, and worldview? And in what ways might such translations-as-research intervene upon contemporary cultural practice?

Saleh al-Jumaie lives and works in Sacramento, CA. Prior to settling in California in 1980, he was a prominent artist in the Arab contemporary scene, holding solo exhibitions in Baghdad, Kuwait, and Beirut. In Baghdad, he was a founding member of the Innovationist Group, and, in 1969, the New Vision group.

Anneka Lenssen is Assistant Professor of global modern art in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley, where her research and teaching interests include modern painting and contemporary visual culture in the Middle East. Her anthology Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, which she co-edited with Nada Shabout and Sarah Rogers, will be published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this March.

Ahmad Diab is Assistant Professor of modern Arabic literature in the Near Eastern Studies Department at UC Berkeley. He received his B.A. from Damascus University, majoring in English Literature. His teaching and research interests are twentieth and twenty-first century Arabic literature, translation studies and Middle Eastern cinema. He is currently working on a book manuscript based on his PhD dissertation at NYU; it analyzes literary and filmic representations of Arabs in Palestinian cultural production. He has translated the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and Muhammad Al-Maghout and is currently compiling an anthology of new Syrian poetry.