Refugees Looking for Home


Sharif S. Elmusa, Poet


Susan Smith, Artist


  •  A light snack is served at 12:30 p.m. Talk begins promptly at 1:00 p.m.

Join us for a collaboration between Palestinian-American poet and environmental scholar Sharif Elmusa, and activist artist Susan Smith. This intersectional multimedia event will include readings of poetry of and about the refugee experience from different world-regions, an exhibition of recent artwork, and a video accompanying the performance.


Biography of Speakers

Sharif S. Elmusa is a scholar, poet, and translator. Apart from his academic work on the politics and culture of the environment, he is the author of the poetry collection Flawed Landscape, and co-editor with Greg Orfalea of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry. His poems and essays appeared in numerous publications including The Massachusetts Review; The Indian Quarterly (India); Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry; and the anthologies: Making Mirrors: Writing/ Righting by Refugees (Jehan Bseiso and Becky Thompson, editors), and HERE: Poems for the Planet (Elizabeth Coleman, editor). Elmusa, who received his Ph.D. from M.I.T., taught at the American University in Cairo for many years and as a visitor at Georgetown University in Qatar and at Yale; and is recipient of Fulbright and Coca-Cola (Yale) fellowships. Elmusa grew up in the refugee camp al-Nuway’mah, near the ancient town of Jericho, and lives in Nacotchank, now Washington, D.C.

Susan Smith is an activist artist working in socially engaged projects focused on issues of dispossession and displacement. She is the assistant director and member of the graduate faculty in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Maine, as well as coordinator for the campus Lord Hall Gallery. She holds an interdisciplinary doctoral degree researching social practice, activism, and critical theory, and an MFA in intermedia studio art. Smith is the founder of the #uprootedcollective, a group of artists focusing on issues of class, labor and gender inequities, and the power of collective voice, with initial performance events in Washington DC and Queens, NY, working with a mobile unit as a space for collaborative socially engaged art. Smith also works as an independent curator, coordinating group exhibitions across New England. The collective’s current work centers on the global refugee crisis, and includes site-based performance and exhibitions of art created from trips to the Texas/Mexico border and the children’s detention center in Homestead, FL. The artwork from this series, The Passage: El Paso, recently received an award from the International Surface Design Association (July 2019). Smith uses site-specific installation, textile and printmaking as a mode of not just representing social issues, but as catalyst for change. With a background in landscape design, Smith also practices guerilla gardening, and believes planting is a fundamentally revolutionary act.





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