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Naomi Spector
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Annual Middle Eastern festival showcasing culture and artistic traditions to be Feb. 7-10

Jan. 25, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The annual Middle Eastern festival at Indiana University Bloomington will feature Middle Eastern films, food tastings, exhibits of Islamic art and instruments, presentations of Arabic folktales and poetry, and lectures on Jewish culture among its many offerings Feb. 7-10.

Most activities will take place at the Leo R. Dowling International Center, located at 111 S. Jordan Ave., and they are free and open to the public. "The Arts of the Middle East Festival" is the result of a collaboration by several IU faculty who focus on the region, community members and the IU Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

From noon to 4 p.m. each day on Feb. 7-9, a new lecture or presentation will be given each half hour at the International Center by professors, students and community members. They will include readings of classical Hebraic and Arabic poetry and a recitation of the Torah, a display of a private collection of Egyptian art and the code of hijab or modest dress in Middle Eastern life. Food donated by local businesses will be available there for tasting, as well as items to purchase.

Several organizations in Bloomington also will host their own events.

  • The Monroe County History Center, 202 E. Sixth St., will be hosting a lecture by Shahyar Daneshgar, IU lecturer in Central Eurasian Studies, at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 about the musical traditions of Silk Road Peoples. A private collection of classical and musical instruments will be on display there from Feb. 7-8.
  • The Monroe County Library, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave., on Feb. 9 will host a children's program, "A Middle Eastern Musical Journey with the Band Salaam," from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the library auditorium. The program has been designed specifically for young people in the second to fifth grades, but teens and adults also are welcome. For more information, call 812-349-3100.
  • The Cinemat Theatre, 123 S. Walnut St., will host a free Middle Eastern Arts Film Festival from 4 to 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 7-9. Films will include Children of Heaven, Buran, Taste of Cherry, Divine Intervention and The Nouba of the Women of Mount Chenoua. A film schedule will be posted at
  • The Lilly Library, 1200 E. Seventh St, on Feb. 6-28 will display art book, manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts, printed works and miniature books in its exhibit, "The Art of the Book in the Near East." Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To celebrate the close of the festival, there will be a free concert from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 10 at the IU Art Museum, 1133 E. Seventh St., where Salaam will perform classical music of the Middle East. The band will be joined by a classical Moroccan orchestra and by poetry and song recitations. The museum will keep its Asian exhibit space open for those in attendance.

Another related event taking place on March 24 at 8 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., is the production of "Tel Aviv to Ramalah: A Beatbox Journey," a one-man show from Chicago, written and performed by Yuri Lane. It follows a day in the life of a DJ in Tel Aviv and an Internet café owner in Ramalah, examining where their two worlds intersect. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Sunrise Box Office at the theater. Call 812-323-3020 for more information.

A complete schedule and more information is available on the Web at or by calling 812-855-5993.