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Pop-up: Alia Malek

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 from 10:45 am - 11:00 am PST
1219 SW Park Ave Portland, OR 97205

Alia Malek pops-up in the Portland Art Museum galleries with her memoir The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria.

Malek is paired with Funerary Portrait by an unknown Palmyrene artist; found in the European Art, floor 2, gallery 204. Please reference the Portland Art Museum Map to find this location.


At the Arab Spring’s hopeful start, Alia Malek returned to Damascus to reclaim her grandmother’s apartment, which had been lost to her family since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970. Its loss was central to her parent’s decision to make their lives in America. In chronicling the people who lived in the Tahaan building, past and present, Alia portrays the Syrians-the Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, and Kurds-who worked, loved, and suffered in close quarters, mirroring the political shifts in their country. Restoring her family’s home as the country comes apart, she learns how to speak the coded language of oppression that exists in a dictatorship, while privately confronting her own fears about Syria’s future.

The Home That Was Our Country is a deeply researched, personal journey that shines a delicate but piercing light on Syrian history, society, and politics. Teeming with insights, the narrative weaves acute political analysis with a century of intimate family history, ultimately delivering an unforgettable portrait of the Syria that is being erased.

Alia Malek

Alia Malek is an award-winning journalist and civil rights lawyer. She is the author of A Country Called Amreeka and editor of Patriot Acts and EUROPA. Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Nation, Christian Science Monitor, and others. Her latest work is The Home That Was Our Country.
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