The first American retrospective of Samia Halaby, regarded as one of the most important living Palestinian artists, was abruptly canceled by officials at Indiana University in recent weeks.
Dozens of her vibrant and abstract paintings were already at the school when Halaby, 87, said she received a call from the director of the university’s Eskenazi Museum of Art. The director informed her that employees had shared concern about her social media posts on the Israel-Gaza war, where she had expressed support for Palestinian causes and outrage at the violence in the Middle East, comparing the Israeli bombardment to a genocide.
Halaby later received a two-sentence note from the museum director, David Brenneman, officially canceling the show in Bloomington, Ind., without a clear explanation.
“I write to formally notify you that the Eskenazi Museum of Art will not host its planned exhibition of your work,” Brenneman wrote in the Dec. 20 letter, which was reviewed by The New York Times.
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