an exhibition by artists Sama Alshaibi and Beth Krensky
Exhibition at Dinnerware Artspace, Tucson, Arizona
April 5th - April 26th 2008 (opening reception on April 5th 7-9pm)
Sponsored by "Conversations Across Religious Traditions"
Office of the President at the University of Arizona

Previously exhibited at the Mizel Museum, Denver, Colorado
October 11, 2007 - January 24, 2008

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At a time when divides between Jews and Muslims seem to be normalized, artists Sama Alshaibi and Beth Krensky's work in this exhibition creates a space for dialogue between the two traditions. Gloria Anzaldua wrote about “counterstance” in Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza:

[I]t is not enough to stand on the opposite river bank, shouting questions….A counterstance locks one into a duel of oppressor and oppressed; locked in mortal combat, like the cop and the criminal, both are reduced to a common denominator of violence....But it is not a way of life. At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes.” (1987, pp. 78 - 79).

This exhibition is based on Anzaldua’s work and creates the opportunity for the artists, a Muslim-American and a Jewish-American, perhaps at times standing on opposite banks—understanding the situation from different vantage points—to share common ground as we explore difference, bridges, dialogue and possible new paths.

The artist Krystof Wodiczko calls for the creation of a public space that can, at once, hold disparate viewpoints in a civil way. It could be a space with contested meanings; nevertheless, a shared space that can act as a limen—a region marking a boundary as well as a threshold connecting two spaces or places. This exhibition is a metaphorical limen that creates an opening for dialogue between the artists, between the works of art, and hopefully among and between the viewers as well as between the American-Muslim and American-Jewish communities.

“We Make the Road By Walking” comes from a line by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado: “Se hace camino al andar,” or “You can make the way as you go.” The phrase was also used as the title for a book by Paulo Freire and Myles Horton on education and social change.

The idea for this exhibition began when curator, Dr. George Rivera, introduced Beth Krensky and Sama Alshaibi to each other five years ago. During conversations the artists had during the past five years, they have found much common ground both in their approach to art making and their life circumstances (a history of diaspora, the journeys of their forebears, the tradition of motherhood and peace activism, to name just a few shared characteristics). Since that time, they have exhibited together in the United States, Israel and Palestine. This exhibition marks the first major two-person exhibition of their combined work.