Nabil Mousa
Veiled Realities
High Low Gallery
May 31- July 21, 2024
Opening Reception May 31, 5 – 8pm

Walk-In Gallery Hours at High Low are every day, from 8am – 3pm. Private gallery visits can be made for all galleries by appointment. To make an appointment, and for questions or concerns, please contact  brandon@kranzbergarts.org or (314) 549-9990 ext. 123



The concept of the veil as concealing and revealing of a personal and global identity continues to interest me deeply. It is a charged item, both physically and metaphorically, as it brings about a constant source of fascination, fear, curiosity, judgment, and sometimes contempt. The veil plays a large role in identity politics around gender, religion, political leanings, and liberalism. It is an open signifier, culturally and religiously. In our current political climate, it is a divisive tool, depending on which American community one happens to be born or live in. It is used to scare, and alienate, but also to create In my artistic journey, I have sought to explore the profound interplay between the seen and the unseen, the tangible and the intangible. My work is a tapestry woven from the threads of identity, vulnerability, and resilience. Central to my practice is the exploration of the veil, a symbol that conceals and reveals, carrying layers of meaning both personal and universal.

The concept of the veil as a cultural, religious, and political signifier continues to captivate my imagination. It is a charged item, evoking emotions ranging from fascination to fear, curiosity to contempt. In a world marked by identity politics, the veil plays a pivotal role in discussions surrounding gender, religion, political affiliations, and notions of liberalism.

It is an open signifier, both culturally and religiously, capable of evoking deeply contrasting emotions within different American communities.

As a gay man of Arab descent, I have chosen to embrace the veil as a wellspring of inspiration and symbolism. Drawing from my cultural heritage, I employ elements of the veil to engage in political and social commentary on the state of our world and the United States.

The veil, for me, extends beyond the political and social realm; it touches upon my personal journey. Growing up as a closeted gay Arab male, I wore an invisible veil for much of my life, one laden with fear, shame, and guilt.

This exhibition invites viewers to explore the intricate layers of the veil and the myriad emotions it elicits. Through sculptures and paintings, we delve into the intersections of identity, the power of vulnerability, and the strength of resilience. My hope is that this body of work not only sparks dialogue but also fosters empathy and understanding. Together, we can explore the invisible veils that we all wear and find common threads in our human experiences.

In 2017-18, Mousa installed his solo exhibition, American Landscapes, at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. This series of paintings explored LGBTQ civil rights, including the struggle for gay marriage in the United States. Mousa’s position as a gay, Arab-American artist resulted in front page coverage of The New York Times Sunday art section.

– Nabil Mousa


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