New York museum protests Trump’s travel ban through art

Sunday 29/01/2017
Art of protest

NEW YORK - A famed New York art museum has joined the throng of protests against President Donald Trump's travel ban by replacing Western art with pieces by Iranian, Iraqi and Sudanese-born artists.

The Museum of Modern Art said the seven works by Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi, the late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid and five Iranian-born artists replaced seven works by Picasso, Matisse and other Westerners.

The Republican president's explosive executive order came into effect last Friday, closing US borders to refugees for 120 days and to visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

Syrian refugees have been banned indefinitely.

The museum switched the artwork late Thursday in its fifth-floor galleries, which ordinarily are devoted to Western modernism before 1945. The changes were reported by The New York Times and confirmed by the museum.

The five Iranian-born artists are Marcos Grigorian, Los Angeles based video artist Tala Madani, photographer Shirana Shahbazi, sculptor Parviz Tanavoli and painter Charles Hossein Zenderoudi.

A large sculpture of aluminum and steel by Siah Armajani, an American artist born in Iran, was also placed in a glass-walled lobby courtyard.

The museum has similarly scheduled screenings of films from people subject to the ban, including Iraqi-born German director Kais al-Zubaidi and Oussama Mohammad, a Syrian filmmaker living in Paris.

New York, for centuries the gateway for immigrants into America, has staged multiple protests since the travel ban came into effect last Friday. Founded in 1929, the museum is one of the world's premier modern art museums.