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Due to security concerns, IU cancels the art exhibit by a Palestinian-American



Indianapolis, Indiana – A Palestinian-American art exhibition at Indiana University Bloomington was abruptly canceled. It was set to open in a Bloomington museum the following month.

“Academic leaders and campus officials canceled the exhibit due to concerns about guaranteeing the security of the exhibit for its duration,” a university spokesperson said.

Samia Halaby, an 87-year-old art professor, taught at Yale after earning her master’s degree from Indiana University. Her “Centers of Energy” show at the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art was scheduled to open on February 10 and run through June. She is credited with pioneering the field of abstract painting in the 20th century. She is also regarded as one of the most well-known artists in Palestine.

According to her grand-niece Madison Gordon, the university is reprimanding Halaby. “I feel that this is taking place because Samia has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian people for the past 50 years, and she believes in their freedom, dignity, and right to self-determination.”

The terrorist attack on Israel on October 7th by Hamas has reignited the debate over Palestinian independence.

According to Gordon, the exhibit’s organizers worked on it for three years. Halaby was informed of the exhibit’s cancellation on December 20. An appeal of the ruling was sent in writing to IU President Pamela Whitten, but no one responded.

“It was a very expensive endeavor. The paintings were already in Indiana. A catalog had already been published, and it’s available for sale now,” Gordon said.

Gordon says IU is afraid that by hosting Salaby’s exhibit, the school would be perceived as condoning antisemitism. “There’s too much of a conflation of criticism of Israel of what is purported to be antisemitism, but criticism of Israel is not antisemitic.”

Gordon launched a petition on Action Network requesting that the university president bring back the exhibition.