FotoFest announces the names of the 48 leading contemporary Arab artists featured in the principal exhibitions of their 2014 biennial—VIEW FROM INSIDE. The fifteenth edition of the international biennial in Houston, Texas takes place March 15 to April 27, 2014. These presentations of contemporary photo and media-related art from the Middle East and North Africa will be the largest program of its kind in the United States in more than a decade.
VIEW FROM INSIDE features artists living and working in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. Some of the artists will be exhibiting their work in the United States for the first time. Seventeen of the artists are women.
FotoFest 2014 Biennial Arab artists (alphabetized by last name with countries of origin) Ebtisam AbdulAziz (UAE), Khalil Abdul Wahid (UAE), Ammar al Beik (Syria), Manal Al Dowayan(Saudi Arabia), Shadia Alem (Saudi Arabia), Reem al Faisal (Saudi Arabia), Sadik Alfraji (Iraq), Tarek Al-Ghossein (Palestine/Kuwait), Boushra Almutawakel (Yemen), Khalifa Al Obaidly (Qatar), Jowhara AlSaud (Saudi Arabia), Sama Alshaibi (Iraq), Karima Al Shomely (UAE), Sami al-Turki (Saudi Arabia),Tammam Azzam (Syria), Lara Baladi (Egypt), Hicham Benohoud (Morocco), Ayman Yossri Daydban(Saudi Arabia), Shady El-Noshokaty (Egypt), Ayman el Semary (Egypt), Lalla Essaydi (Morocco),Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), Lamya Gargash (UAE), Abdulnasser Gharem (Saudi Arabia), Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon), Khaled Hafez (Egypt), Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco), Rula Halawani (Palestine), Nermine Hammam (Egypt), Hazem Harb (Palestine), Hazem Taha Hussein(Egypt), George Fikry Ibrahim (Egypt), Noel Jabbour (Palestine), Ahmed Jadallah (Palestine),Mohamed Kanoo (Bahrain), Mohammed Kazem (UAE), Huda Lutfi (Egypt), Maha Malluh (Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia), Hassan Meer (Oman), Samer Mohdad (Lebanon), Youssef Nabil(Egypt), Ayman Ramadan (Egypt), Steve Sabella (Palestine), Faisal Samra (Saudi Arabia), Wael Shawky (Egypt), Camille Zakharia (Lebanon)
FotoFest has commissioned German curator Karin Adrian von Roques as the Biennial Lead Curator. Ms. von Roques is known for her work, over the past 20 years, bringing contemporary Arab art to international museums and galleries throughout the world. She is working with FotoFest Co-Founder and Senior Curator Wendy Watriss to organize the 2014 Arab exhibitions.
“The exhibitions are not about the curator’s voice,” says Ms. von Roques. “They are about the artists and what is important to them. These are themes that are not unfamiliar in the West or the rest of the world. What differentiates this work is the particular ways in which individual Arab artists are addressing the concerns and issues of their own cultures.”
The Arab artists in the FotoFest 2014 Biennial address issues ranging from the regionally specific to the global. The themes are multi-layered, addressing fundamental issues from an inside perspective; from Arab artists who live and work in the region. The issues addressed include identities and change in the region; relationships to land and homeland; diaspora; memory; questions of gender; religion; historical heritage; the legacy of colonialism; and political upheaval.
“Our focus on Arab art was not motivated by opportunism related to the Arab world’s current prominence in the media, but rather by a genuine conviction that the U.S. and Western audiences should have the opportunity to hear from more voices in the region and see the Arab world in more nuanced ways,” says Ms. Watriss.
Arab programs—FotoFest 2014 Biennial: FotoFest will sponsor a day-long conference on Arab Art, Saturday, March 29 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), with lectures and roundtables with leading curators, participating Arab artists, and scholars in the field. In early April, FotoFest will co-host an additional forum with Rice University, on the topic of “Arabophobia.”
Exhibiting Arab artists will be featured in FotoFest’s International Fine Print Auction and panels on collecting Arab art and the Middle East art market, as part of FotoFest’s 2014 VIP Collectors Programs accompanying the conference and auction.
Arab artists will participate in four artist-curator dialogues with U.S. curators and scholars, and in special book signings and exhibition tours. Two weekends of Arab films are being programmed with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The Biennial also includes Arab poetry and music events and a free school curriculum. A number of emerging Arab artists will receive scholarships to participate in FotoFest’sInternational Meeting Place Portfolio Review for Artists.
FotoFest 2014 Biennial: VIEW FROM INSIDE Contemporary Arab video, photography, and mixed-media art – March 15–April 27, 2014 March 15 – April 27, 2014, Houston, Texas U.S.A.