Performing artists and writers will come together on stage: a testament to a hoped-for future of peaceful collaboration between the three great faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The evening will gather Shirin Neshat on the written word in Islam, Alicia Jo Rabins who will perform poems set to music about women in the Torah, Salman Ahmad who will play traditional ghazals mixed with rock and roll, and Fabrice Hadjadj who will read on the book of Job, in a duet with Gregorian chant singer Damien Poisblaud.
Salman Ahmad is a Pakistani rock star whose band Junoon has sold over 25 million albums. A medical doctor by training, Salman currently travels the globe as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, spreading a message of harmony and reconciliation between the West and the Muslim world.
He currently teaches a course on Muslim music and poetry at the City University of New York. His latest book is Rock & Roll Jihad: A Muslim Rock Star's Revolution.
Reza Aslan is a writer and scholar of religions.
Born in Iran, Aslan is currently a research associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy. He was a visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Iowa and the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
A frequent commentator on television, radio, and in print, Aslan is a graduate of Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of Iowa. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War: Why We're Losing the War on Terror.
Fabrice Hadjadj is a French writer and philosopher, born in 1971 in Nanterre to Jewish parents of Tunisian heritage.
In his teens he was an atheist and anarchist, and he maintained a nihilistic attitude for most of his twenties until, in 1998, he converted to Catholicism. Hadjadj currently teaches philosophy and literature in Toulon.
Although Shirin Neshat lives and works in the United States, her artwork explores issues of her native Islamic society, especially the position of women. She uses the specifics of her background culture to create works that communicate universal ideas about loss, meaning, and memory. Neshat’s most recent work has consisted of films in the form of dual video projections. By projecting images on opposing walls, the viewer, who stands in the middle of this work, is engaged in a visual conversation, physically experiencing both screens, thus eliminating the passivity permitted by traditional cinema situations. Neshat’s new film, Soliloquy, which she directed and acted in and is being premiered at the Carnegie International, tells the story of a Muslim woman who is in constant negotiation between East and West, between tradition and present-day pressures.
Shirin Neshat’s photographs and videos have been included in many international exhibitions, including Jurassic Technologies Revenant, the 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996); 5th International Istanbul Biennale and Trade Routes: History and Geography. 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997); Unfinished History, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1998) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1999); and Exploding Cinema, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Heavenly Figure, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Zeitwenden, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, in cooperation with Kunstmuseum, Bonn, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire-1998, 2000, 1999, Académie de France, Villa Medici, Rome, and 48th Venice Biennale (1999). In 1996 Neshat's work was presented by Creative Time for Anchorage, Brooklyn Bridge, New York. Solo exhibitions of Neshat's work have been presented at Franklin Furnace, New York (1993); Centre d'art contemporain, Fribourg (1996); Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (1997); Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York, and Tate Gallery of Modern Art at St. Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside, London (1998); and The Art Institute of Chicago (1999). In 1996 Neshat was awarded a grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.
DAMIEN POISBLAUD came to Gregorian chant as early Damien Poisblaud came to Gregorian chant as early as 1980 and and has been singing in a choir on a regular basis for more than 15 years.
His passion for medieval art and thought, which he studied along with philosophy and theology, combined with his opening to different kinds of traditional music from over the world, gradually led him to a completely renewed approach of his traditional church repertoire. He created the Choeur Gregorien de Mediterranee
Alicia Jo Rabins
Alicia Jo Rabins is a poet, violinist, singer, and composer. Rabins tours internationally. living in Brooklyn, NY.
Her poems have been published in Ploughshares, The Boston Review, 6 x 6, Court Green, Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn, and Horse Poems. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and received a waiter scholarship at Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Rabins also studies and teaches ancient Jewish holy texts.