Egypt-based collaborators and UFI Fellows Alaa Khaled, a poet and essayist, and Salwa Rashad, a visual artist, presented images and ideas culled from their research drawing upon conversations and experiences the two had with immigrants from numerous Arabic-speaking communities in Los Angeles and Orange County. Of especial interest were the personal journeys of Arab immigrants as they traversed between their original country and Southern California. Khaled and Rashad wished to understand the equivalent journey that immigrants have taken in order to ground themselves in the new place. In particular, the two were curious whether there is conflict, struggle, or collision between the two memories and the two identities immigrants always carry throughout their journey – being the memory of their place of origin versus the new memory they have acquired in their lives in Los Angeles.
The MAK Urban Future Initiative (UFI) ran from 2008-10 at the Fitzpatrick-Leland House and was dedicated to creating meaningful cross-cultural exchange about the challenges confronting cities worldwide.