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Shifting Sands: Mideast exhibit at UTEP's Rubin Center shows art films from a very different desert


The following ran in the Sept. 9, 2012, edition of the El Paso Times. Art professor Noah Simblist provided expertise for this story.

September 18, 2012

By Doug Pullen

UTEP's Rubin Center for the Visual Arts' cutting-edge exhibits often have used various media to ponder life on the border and in the Chihuahuan Desert.

But "Shifting Sands: Recent Videos from the Middle East," which opens a three-month run Thursday, marks a couple of firsts for the contemporary art gallery.

It's the first exhibit there to focus on the turbulent desert landscape halfway around the world.

And it's the first to showcase video and film art exclusively.

"Shifting Sands" will fill two galleries with eight film installations by five artists -- Afghanistan's Lida Abdul, Israel's Yael Bartana, Palestinian Emily Jacir, Spain's Isabel Rocamora and Lebanon's Akram Zataari....

"Whether it be the PLO, the Southern Lebanese Army, Hezbollah, or the next group to take their place, Zataari alludes to the craft of resistance as a tradition," Noah Simblist, a Southern Methodist University associate art professor who advised the curators, wrote in the catalog....