Newswise — New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies is hosting “The Great Gig in the Sky: Imagining the Soundtrack to Utopia,” a multi-media exhibition by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila that envisions fictitious historical moments, through Jan. 27, 2018 (255 Sullivan Street [at Washington Square South]). 

Exhibition hours: Wed.-Sat., 11a.m.-7p.m. (and by appointment). For more information, visit, call 212.998.8877, or email [email protected]. “The Great Gig in the Sky” will be closed during NYU’s Winter Recess, Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.

This fall, Mashrou’ Leila, an acclaimed indie band from Beirut, led an NYU graduate workshop exploring music as a tool for social and political change at the Hagop Kevorkian Center. The band worked with NYU graduate students to curate narratives and a series of related artifacts around fictional musical events that would, in theory, prompt political change.

The exhibition features short videos, digital and other design, graffiti, mock interviews, fashion samples, and other mixed media creations; it invites audiences to envision these fictitious historical moments, past, present, and future.  

Mashrou’ Leila has been touted for its rousing, sensual electro-pop anthems about political freedoms, race, religion, LGBT rights, and modern Arabic identity, which observers say has challenged the status quo of the Middle-Eastern pop industry. The band’s most recent album, “Ibn El Leil” (2015), reimagines the vibrant sound of contemporary Beirut with guitars, drum machines, samples, and violin. For more information about the band, see

Images may be downloaded here: Photo credit for all images is as follows: “Courtesy of NYU’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies.”

Editor’s Note:

The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University was created in 1966 to foster the interdisciplinary study of the modern and contemporary Middle East and to enhance public understanding of the region. The Kevorkian Center's activities focus on the histories, politics, economies, religions, cultures and languages of the area stretching from North Africa to Central Asia, and on the historical processes that have shaped the present. 

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