At Nostalgic Remembrance, we believe that art and creativity is sacred, and that the sacred is also creative and artistic. Sacredness and creativity are two realities that reflect upon one another in the mirror of the self.
Born out of the personal journey of our founder, Dr. Ali Hussain, Nostalgic Remembrance is an unfolding narrative that requires an intimate awareness of self and embracing our journey across the memories of the past to the moments of the present.
ِAs a migrant born in Iraq, Dr. Hussain experienced war and diaspora at the tender age of 6 years old. After the First Gulf War, he was forced to migrate with his family to neighboring Jordan, where he lived for the next 6 years. As soon as he arrived in Amman, the capital of Jordan, in 1992, a young Ali Hussain found solace in films like Edward Scissorhands and video games like Super Mario World as a virtual escape, for a migrant who sought a space wherein he could forge and control his own myth.
In 1997, Dr. Hussain migrated with his family to America, where he would spend the next 30 years of his life. From loving professional wrestling to acting out Shakespeare and listening to the Beatles, the founder of Nostalgic Remembrance found himself immersed in art and culture of all forms, all the while trying to negotiate his ethnic, religious and social identity.
While remembering the vibrant con-fusion between art and religion in the Middle East, Hussain found a cultural crisis facing the American Muslim community, one where art and creativity seam to have been marginalized from the mainstream social discourse. In turn, Dr. Hussain felt forced to pave his own spiritual path as an Arab, American, Muslim, and artist.
Art had presented itself early on in Ali's life. Born into a family of artists, he found himself amidst his mother's paintings and her work as an interior decorator in the Iraqi television, the galleries of his father's photography, his brother's architectural presentations and sister's pottery work. In America, amidst these cultural challenges, it was creative writing, music, video games, film and literature that continued to provide solace for Dr. Hussain, as they did in Jordan.
Towards the end of 2018, whilst completing his doctoral studies in Sufism, Dr. Hussain founded Nostalgic Remembrance as an institute focused on art, creativity and the sacred in contemporary culture. The spiritual foundation for this endeavor rests on the shoulders of two prominent Sufi saints: the medieval mystic Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi (d. 1240) and the contemporary saint, and Dr. Hussain's spiritual guide, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. Today, Nostalgic Remembrance operates under the guidance of Shaykh Hisham as it ventures into the sacred frontiers of art and creativity.