|Saudi-Palestinian artist Dana Awartani says she wants museum visitors to walk walk with a different impression of Arabs and Muslims. Courtesy Al Jazeera|
Home to some of the world's most famous art spaces, New York is known for its cultural diversity. Yet, the US city had not had a museum dedicated solely to Arab and Islamic art.
A new museum, the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, is seeking to change that by providing a platform for artists and scholars to exchange ideas and promote cultural dialogue between voices in the United States and Arab and Islamic countries.
The museum’s founder, Mohammed Rashid al-Thani, a Qatari art enthusiast, told Al Jazeera that he wants to help foster better understanding between the East and the West at a time of rising Islamophobia.
"Unfortunately until now we didn’t have one art institute or cultural centre that represents the Arab and Islamic regions and provides these artists the platform," he said.
"There's a stereotype of Muslims and Arabs and we can blame media all we want. But it is our responsibility to do something about it and to be active participants in the society we live."