Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery Presents The Night and the Desert Know Me

By Editorial Team on February 9, 2016

Fri, 15 January 2016 - Sat, 05 March 2016

Photo courtesy of Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery.
Photo courtesy of Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery.


Opening Reception: Friday, January 15 from 7pm to 9pm
Artist and Curator Talk: Saturday, February 13 from 3:30pm to 5:30pm


  • Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here 2016 Curators Talk: Tuesday, February 9, 6:30-8pm
  • The Night and the Desert Know Me Curator and Artist Talk: Saturday, February 13, 3:30-5:30pm
  • A Picture of the World With You Inside – An Evening of Poetry with Dunya Mikhail: Friday March 4, 6-8pm
  • Translation Workshop with Kareem James Abu-Zeid: Saturday, March 5, 1-4pm

Talk Information:
Join Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery for an afternoon of dialogue and discussion with the artists and curators of Night and the Desert Know Me. Listen to the artists discuss the poems they chose and how it is connected to their works. Refreshments and white wine will be served.

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery presents: The Night and the Desert Know Me, an exhibition in partnership with Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016, a unique cultural festival standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq and celebrating freedom of expression. Coming to DC January–March 2016. The Night and the Desert Know Me promises to be a lush and thoughtful display of artworks created by Iraqi and Western artists, inspired by selected past and present Iraqi poetry. National and regional artists participating in this important exhibition include: Shakir Al-Alousi, Najwa Al Amin, Qais Al Sindy, Ahmed Alkarkhi, Mawada Allak, Joan Belmar, Wafaa Bilal, Spencer Dormitzer, Michael Platt, Phyllis Plattner, Vian Sora and Nasir Thamir.

What is Al-Mutanabbi Street?
The project takes its name from and examines al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, a winding street about one thousand feet long, noted for its many bookstores and outdoor bookstalls where people gathered as a great humanitarian center. Named after the famous classical Arab poet Abu at-Tayyib al-Mutanabbi (915–965 CE), it has been a thriving center of Baghdad’s bookselling and publishing for many years.

On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street—the historic center of Baghdad bookselling—booksellers, book buyers, and devotees of reading and of books—and the Shabandar Café where intellectuals met, was gutted and destroyed.

This exhibition, along with the citywide cultural festival Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016, is in proud partnership with: George Mason University’s School of Art and Fenwick Library, Split This Rock, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, McLean Project for the Arts, Corcoran School of Arts and Design at George Washington University, Busboys and Poets, Georgetown University, Cultural DC, Smithsonian Libraries, Brentwood Arts Exchange, George Mason University Student Media,  and  Fourth Estate Newspaper. Made possible in part by grants from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.


The Joan Hisaoka Gallery is located at 1632 U Street NW. For more information visit