Crossing Borders


Through this traveling exhibit to three US cities, six artists from the the Middle East and Latin America share their art and personal stories about their cultural heritage experience intertwined with their American experience, and the impact of immigration and the new American culture on their lives and art making. At each exhibit opening, the local Middle Eastern and Latino and other community members will experience “A Taste of the Middle East” presented by Middle East Supper Club Women immigrants. During openings, we will engage the unusual suspects from the attendants in a facilitated dialogue focusing on building cultural understanding, dispelling stereotypes and fostering awareness of immigrants from the Middle East, Latin America and beyond with their history in the U.S. This will be shared through videos, photos and text as it contributes to the American fabric. The exhibit entitled “CROSSING BORDERS: ARTISTS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST & LATIN AMERICA” an art exhibit with cultural events for “American Days of Middle Eastern and Latino Arts & Culture” with in-person and online Zoom with live streaming of lectures, performances, poetry, film screening, and culinary arts further enrich the events which makes this project accessible beyond physical space and the local community.

Meet the Collaborating Artists for Crossing Borders project

Tony Khawam in his Miami, FL studio
Ilan Averbuch in his Brooklyn, NY studio
José Bedia in his Miami, FL studio
Zeek Mathias with Haitian Children
Zahra Nazari in her Brooklyn, NY studio
Nizar Sabour in his Damascus, SY studio
Manhal Issa in his Paris, FR studio
Galen Cheney in her N Adams, MA studio

Tony Khawam immigrated to the U.S. in 1977. He is a graduate with BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and now lives and works in Miami. He is an artist and curator deeply rooted in his Middle Eastern heritage intertwined with the American culture. His work explores social and heritage structures that objectify marginalized communities and the bodies of vulnerable populations especially the immigrants, and examines the cross-cultural dynamic in our communities. Just as essential to his work is a social engagement practice through which he reframes objectifying societal structures by bringing contemporary arts and ideas into different multicultural communities through arts and cultural institutions. Work Samples

Ilan Averbuch immigrated to the U.S. in 1978. He is a graduate with MFA from Hunter College and BFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY, and now lives and works in New York City. His cultural heritage and experiences are well incorporated into his creative thinking through historical legends, ancient art from his birth place Israel and new life in America “The path to art, isolation and impatience as a creative force, how the landscape around you creates your artistic palette” Averbuch said. The process of his work is by doing a drawing of an idea, then building small or large sculptures by using old and new materials, such as stone, steel, concrete, wood, aluminum and proposes for commissioned monumental sculptures. Work Samples

José Bedia was born in La Havana, Cuba and graduated with honors from the ISA , Instituto Superior de Arte de la Habana, Cuba. He was a pioneer of the radical transformation of Cuban Art that inaugurated the Exhibition Volume 1, which Bedia was integral part of it. His passion for the primal Amerindians complemented his anthropological studies on Afro-Transatlantic cultures, studying in depth the faith, believes and religion of the “La Regla Kongo” (in which he was initiated in 1983), the “ Regla de Ocha”, and the Leopard Society of Abakuas, among many others. Work Samples

Isaie “Isaie” Mathias was born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti and raised in Miami where he continues to live and work. He is a photographer and multimedia artist with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in behavioral science. He produces work in light & shadow that explores the “intersection of the three themes: legacy, transmission and articulation” all of which are central to Haitian and African cultures. The evocative photography is a reverberation of his formative visual influences: marketing photography and folk paintings of the natural world. Work Samples

Zahra Nazari immigrated to the U.S. in 2010. She is a graduate with MFA from the State University of New York, New Paltz, NY, and BFA from the School of Art & Architecture, Islamic Azad University of Tabriz, Iran. She now lives and works in New York City. Her large-scale abstracted architectural paintings are formed by ideas about identity, immigration issues, and how globalization is changing our perceptions. Her imagery is based on traditional Middle Eastern architecture and Postmodernist western architecture. Work Samples


Nizar Sabour received his PhD in art philosophy from Strugunov Academy in Moscow and now lives and works in Damascus and Moscow. The influence of Syrian-Russian cultures are reflected in his work which splits between two themes, the first has religious undertones, focusing on the artist’s fascination with historical imagery and icons whether Christian, Islamic or non-Abrahamic traditions and the second theme is very poetic. His images tend to appear archaic, utilizing traditional elements silkscreened with paint, sand, and ash on canvas, with a flattened perspective and spots of colored shapes. He employs motifs reminiscent of the European Dada movement rather than the precision of historical iconography. The Icons, Maaloula and Palmyra have a correlation to the historical and religious places in Syria where the extremists entered towns and ransacked the culture. Work Samples

Manhal Issa immigrated to France in 2000. He is a graduate with MFA from from Paris Eight University and BFA from Damascus University and now lives and works in Paris. His work is influenced by semi-abstract expressionism by revisiting the myths and mysteries of his Syrian culture and adopted French lifestyle. His style became more gestural representation by using mixed media and runs with a tire tracks over his painting to emphasize the aggressive gestural human behavior in dealing with different cultures. Work Samples

Galen Cheney was born in Northridge, California, though has lived most of her life in New England where her ancestors first arrived from England in 1620. She is a graduate with MFA from Maryland Institute Collage of Arts and BA from Mount Holyoke College, MA, and now lives and works in North Adams, Massachusetts. She has been a committed abstract painter combining the intuitive methods of Abstract Expressionism with an eye toward contemporary collage, textile art, and graffiti, Cheney’s richly layered, constructed paintings are fresh and current. Work Samples

A full color 38 page art exhibition catalogue currently in production and will be available soon

This project has won Florida Division of Cultural Affairs “Individual Specific Cultural Project Award” (2021-2022); also, partially sponsored by Broward County Cultural Division; ArtServe and individuals like you. We need your support to do three exhibitions in three U.S. cities. Here’s how you can help with three tiers of sponsorship, Corporate, Small Business and Individual Sponsorship:
Collector $500 – Logo or individual’s name on exhibit flyer, website, social media and PR release.
Muse $250 – Logo or individual’s name on exhibit flyer, website, and social media.
Canvas $150 – Name on social media.
My goal is to raise at least $5,000 in sponsorships.

Fractured Atlas, a non profit 501 (c) (3) is one of America’s premier art organization that empower artist’s project becomes a reality through fiscal sponsorship on the artist’s fundraising page, all contributions are tax deductible. (Fundraising link will be here soon)

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