A mudhif is a large reed structure that is owned by the sheikh of a Marsh Arab village. It serves as a cultural center, court, site for religious ceremonies, and place for welcoming visitors. Archaeology Now and the Arab American Educational Foundation are harvesting a reed called phragmitis australis in the Gulf Coast area of Texas AND the Marshes of Iraq to create a mudhif that will serve as a cultural center during the Fall of 2023.
Donate to support the creation of educational kits for students of all ages, hands-on activity sets for families, and construction of the Marsh Arab mudhif structure. Donations of all amounts are appreciated.
Join us in September and over the Fall for a one-of-a-kind experience as we partner with Archaeology Now Houston to bring the traditional Iraqi mudhif to life! Look forward to talks on Iraqi marsh culture and ecology, a documentary screening on life in the Iraqi marshes, and the construction of an authentic Iraqi mudhif constructed by Iraqi artists on the Rice University campus!
This project has come to life through the AAEF's partnership with Archaeology Now and a variety of other organizations passionate about the discussion and preservation of Marsh Arab culture, including Rice University, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston's Iraqi American Community, and ecology communities on the Gulf Coast. Showing support to this program and its associated events will help raise awareness of marginalized communities in Iraq and their incredible cultural practices.
THE SENAN SHAIBANI MARSH ARABS PROJECT IN MEDIA:
Our Marsh Arabs Mudhif project, now named the Senan Shaibani Mudhif Project, done in partnership with Archaeology Now and Nature Iraq, has been featured in Texas Monthly with a beautifully written report done by Arman Badrei! The article details the history and cultural value of the mudhif structure, as well as the current plight of the Marsh Arabs in Iraq and the work being done here in Houston to raise awareness. Read the article below to hear from the incredible leaders, community members, and volunteers who have made this unprecedented project happen.
The Texas Monthly article: https://www.texasmonthly.com/style/mudhif-houston-rice-university-iraqi-marsh-arabs/
The volunteer reed collecting event done in preparation for the construction of the Marsh Arabs Mudhif was covered in Houston Landing. Read about the history and preparation of the project in the article below!
The Houston Landing article: https://www.houstonlanding.org/houston-project-transplant-reeds-iraqi-marsh-culture-rice-university/
Saturday, September 9, 2023
10 am – 1 pm
Festival | Grand Opening of Mudhif
Rice University, at the corner of University Blvd and Stockton
Music and dance performances, poetry readings, storytelling, cultural events, and activities for children will take place. Join us in the mudhif!
Through the Fall: Tours at the mudhif location.
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Volunteer Event | Gathering Reeds in Houston
10131 Cullen Blvd, Houston, TX 77051
Volunteers will be guided in the collection reeds for the construction of a traditional mudhif, a communal gathering space of marsh-dwelling Arabs in Iraq. All are welcome to participate in the volunteer event, and no prior experience is necessary.
Thursay, May 4, 2023
Lecture | The Marsh Arab Story: Ancient Cultures, Modern Lives
Dr. Zaid Al Rawi, Landscape Archaeologist Southern Mesopotamia Projects Manager, University of Pennsylvania
Museum of Fine Arts Houston Brown Auditorium
FREE Admission with reserved tickets at:
Friday, May 5, 2023
7- 9 pm
Film and discussion with Azzam Alwash, Founder of Nature Iraq and star of “Miracle in the Marshes”
Lynn Wyatt Theater, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
It's the largest and most ambitious habitat re-creation project ever known: to bring back to life one of the world's greatest marshlands. In the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained the gigantic wetlands of Iraq and turned them into a desert, destroying a home to thousands of people and millions of birds. The BBC follows the work of Azzam Alwash, the visionary Iraqi engineer and CEO of Nature Iraq who will be present to introduce the film and give an update on current efforts of marsh preservation.
FREE ADMISSION with reserved tickets at:
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