ARTIST PROFILE: the map is not the territory – Mary Ann Peters

Beauty is a very natural entree into
topics, both benign and serious, and in the arts,
it's really a great tool to get somebody to look at
what you're talking about. So, my work, even though the
stories behind it has proven to be troublesome, the actual outcome is
usually quite beautiful. And I'm glad for that. My family is Lebanese,
and I had always been interested in less westernized cultures,
although Lebanon is a very westernized culture. When I was in college,
I was an exchange student in Pakastan, and I went back to that part of the world
after I graduated, newly married, and traveled overland from Turkey
through Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan and India and back. And it further cemented my interest in
trying to address various kinds of asthetics, and also various premisses for making work,
from those that are socially relevant to just the decorative arts. In this discussion of multiculturalism in the arts,
one facet that is constantly sort of swum around or not included are artists
who are from the Arab world or that have Arab ties. And I felt like if there was anybody that should be
tackling the cross-over of world events and the Arab world on US policy
and on US experience, it should be somebody who has that
association, and that happened to be me, But, I was very hesitant for a long time
to do that because I am a second-generation Arab American, and I find that all those alliances have their
responsibilities and their perspectives and you need to understand them and once I convinced myself that
having that perspective was valuable to the larger discussion,
then I started making a series of pieces called "Impossible Monuments" The Impossible Monuments, by my read,
are those incidents or events that are under the radar, but feed larger topics
and deserve reverence, but they will never be elevated
to the status of a monument. So, I started making these pieces
and I haven't stopped. I guess I will stop when I feel like
there's nothing to say, that I've exhausted that topic,
but I don't know. If my work does nothing right now
than make people look at a part of the world that they
would never put on their radar, then I did my job.
That's what I want.

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