Artist Aissa Deebi recently wrote to us to introduce himself and his work, and we thought we’d share it with our readers. He sent the PDF of a catalog from a 2005 project commissioned by the Queens Museum of Art and Mizna, a forum for Arab-Americans. It was a photo essay about a coffee shop in Queens frequented by ex-pats from Arab nations.
Here is a short paragraph from the exhibition catalogue by Lana Salah Barkawl, Associate Editor of Minza:
Deebi found himself newly arrived in New York and needing something familiar when he came across the coffeehouse…What we see reflected in these photographs is the search for community and the desire to create a familiar space. Then men depicted in this exhibit are attempting to re-create the sense of community they have left behind. The images profoundly point to this community that is clearly out of place, haunted by distance, separation, and displacement.
The catalogue has some insightful essays on Deebi’s work and the Astoria cafe culture. You can access it from Deebi’s website – just click on the Killing Time PDF.
Images courtsey of Aissa Deebi. Both works from the series “Killing Time”, 2005.