Art Gallery

Exhibiting outstanding work by established and emerging artists and offering San Diego's only hands-on program in Museum Studies and Gallery Management.

Upcoming Exhibition:

Encoded Histories:

Qais Al-Sindy and Doris Bittar

October 13 – November 6, 2014

Reception: Thursday, October 16, 5 - 7 pm, Art Gallery D101

Artists Lecture following reception at 7 pm, G101

Gallery Conversation with artists: Friday, October 24, 1 pm

Artist Websites: and

Artist Qais Al-Sindy immigrated to San Diego as a result of the Iraq war. In his installations, paintings and sculptures, he presents the human and social costs of this decade long war. Doris Bittar explores geo-historical shifts and the relationship between “East” and “West.” Her paintings incorporate decorative elements, Arabic calligraphy and intricate patterns merging into a kind of cultural DNA.

Al-Sindy’s artworks represent the effects of this decade long conflict on the Iraqi civilian population. A ready-made placed on a pedestal: two suitcases stand as testament to the great loss incurred by Iraqi refugees—this was the only luggage that they could bring out of the country as specified by the International Organization of Migration. Two bags no more than 50 pounds and no larger than 31 x 23 x 7.9 inches, compressing a lifetime of memories and belongings into a forced journey to a new life. 

Three delicate glass cylinders hold one kilogram of ashes of burnt books which Al-Sindy gathered from the remains of the library of the College of Fine Arts in Baghdad. This kilogram of ashes serves as a painful sampling of the tons books that were destroyed. These are the remains of the treasures of knowledge; the victims are the people that have lost access to this rich information.

As stated by Al-Sindy: History should not be a fable that we have agreed upon. It is certainty produced where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of factual documentation. As artists, we have the insight and ability to carve history itself, but each of us can only impact a small portion.  The totality of all these acts will reflect the history of this generation.  I try to add to this narrative with my artwork.

In paintings like Camo Flag 2, Doris Bittar combines her interest in history with universal notions about decoration. She also relates these to the word “decorum,” suggesting modes of behavior and templates for action. She uses decoration and pattern primarily as entry points - not merely as fill and backdrop. They embody historical residues, identifying markers with which to examine the history and relationships of US and the Middle East, as well as other types of differences. Her paintings reach across real or perceived cultural and political divides.

Bittar is also interested in art that is “inserted into living social contexts.” She does not begin with a political agenda. Her art takes its cues from the decorative traditions of various regions of the world. Some of the pieces, like the accordion artwork with a double image, offer varied perspectives depending on where one is situated along the viewing plane and in the world.

Doris Bittar teaches Fine Art at Cal State San Marcos. Her artwork was recently featured at the San Diego Museum of Art, La Jolla Atheneaum and Oceanside Museum of Art. She has also exhibited her work internationally in Paris, Germany, Italy and in the Alexandria Biennale in Egypt. She has received grants from the Puffin Foundation and the California Arts Council. 

Her paintings are in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; San Diego Museum of Art; Russell Sage Foundation in NY among others.

Qais Al-Sindy studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad University. In 2009, he had a solo exhibition at the United Headquarters in NYC titled "Endless Peace". He has exhibited paintings and other works in San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington DC. Across the world, he has recently had solo exhibitions in Jordan, Kuwait, Dubai and Switzerland. Through his works he strives to establish a dialogue about peace.

Welcome to the gallery:

Welcome to the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery. The gallery exhibits outstanding work by contemporary artists and showcases artwork created by San Diego Mesa College students. The gallery is located in room D101.

For up to the minute info and events check out our FB page:

Mesa College Art Gallery

GALLERY HOURS: MTW 11 am - 4 pm, Thursday, 11 am - 8 pm
Closed Fridays, weekends and school holidays.

Visitors may schedule an appointment to view exhibit when the gallery is closed. We need a week advance notice to schedule special visits. To schedule email

The galley is closed during summer. Also closed for Thanksgiving, Spring Break and Winter Break when the college is not in session.

PARKING IS FREE ON RECEPTION NIGHT. Park in the upper faculty parking areas adjacent and across from the flagpole. During regular gallery hours: From the Marlesta entrance purchase a permit from the machine at the information booth to be used only in the student lots. Or use the visitors' 45 minute spaces in the upper parking area across from the flagpole. (Find additional parking info at

To receive email press releases and gallery announcements, or to be placed on our mailing list, please email Alessandra Moctezuma, Gallery Director, at

Gallery Mission:

The Mesa College Art Gallery is an educational forum to present the work of professional artists in a range of media and dealing with diverse issues. The gallery also showcases outstanding artwork created by students in the Art Department.

It is our mission to enrich and engage our student community through art. The gallery exhibits are complemented with artist lectures, workshops, and guided tours.

The works on display reflect a variety of topics in order to engage students from other disciplines and departments. We have created exhibits in collaboration with Chicano Studies, Women Studies and the Black Studies department.

The gallery serves as a laboratory for the Art Department's Museum Studies Program. The college is the only San Diego institution to offer an AA and a Certificate of Performance in Museum Studies/Gallery Exhibition Skills.

During the academic year four exhibits features art by emerging and established contemporary artists.

A student exhibition is held at the end of every semester. Besides exhibits in our main space, D101, the Art Gallery program and the Museum Studies classes also curate exhibits in locations around San Diego. Past exhibits have been curated as Space4Art, San Diego Art Department, Mission Valley Library, Claire de Lune, Voz Alta and San Diego Contemporary Art Fair 2013 and 2014. Check out our Museum Studies page on FB: San Diego Mesa College Museum Studies.


Alessandra Moctezuma,Gallery Director,Museum Studies
Call Pat Vine, Art Gallery Assistant
Ph.(619) 388-2829

7250 Mesa College Drive -D101 San Diego, CA 92111-4998

Artist Submissions:

Download Artist Guidelines: Artist Submissions Guidelines