Robert Morris University Illinois State Street Gallery Presents PAST FORWARD: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM THE EMIRATES, Today

The State Street Gallery at Robert Morris University Illinois, 401 S. State Street in Chicago, presents "Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates," the first major touring exhibition of Emirati art. It will be on display beginning January 11 through March 10, 2016.

The exhibition showcases paintings, photographs, sculptures, video installations, and other media that emphasize core elements of life in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Emirati artists are a multifaceted group of men and women who have maintained a sense of national identity while also promoting their vision and aspirations for the future. Early proponents of contemporary art began creating exciting work over forty years ago, making the discipline a key aspect of modern UAE culture.

"Past Forward" showcases works by several of these pioneers, who draw inspiration from the country's rich history, diverse society, and unique environment. Immersed in a fast-moving, transitional space, Emirati artists still remain deeply connected to their roots. "Past Forward" leads visitors on a visual journey from artistic beginnings in the United Arab Emirates to the country's evolution into a vibrant regional art center. It also provides an intimate view of life in the UAE that characterizes the nation's past, present, and future.

"Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates" is organized and circulated by Meridian International Center with support from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. Additional support for Past Forward is provided by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and Etihad Airways. The exhibition is co-curated by the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy and Ms. Noor Al Suwaidi.

As the selected site for the exhibit, Robert Morris University's State Street Gallery offers dramatic exposure to State Street and pedestrian traffic through broad expanses of windows. Shelley LaMantia, RMU's dean of Professional Arts and gallery director, added, "The gallery has hosted several exhibitions over the years that promote diversity and cultural awareness. The "Past Forward" exhibit is an extension of that mission."

Robert Morris University Illinois is a not-for-profit, baccalaureate and graduate degree granting institution, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.* The University serves over 4500 students interested in getting an education in business, graphic arts, nursing and health care, culinary and computer studies at its main campus in Chicago, as well as at locations in Arlington Heights, DuPage, Elgin, Orland Park, Bensenville, Springfield, Peoria, Schaumburg and Lake County. In all communications, please refer to the university by its full name, Robert Morris University Illinois. For more information, call 800-RMC-5960 or visit the web site at

*Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 30 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60602, 312-263-0456.

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