Revue culturelle N°101

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18 - 01 - 24
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This week's picture

“I want to reveal the usual things that go unnoticed and put my own twist on them”,

Anass Ouaziz, a Moroccan artist and photographer, hails from Beni Mellal. His artistic pursuit revolves around exploring the beauty within the ordinary. Before venturing into photography, Anass demonstrated a keen mastery of observation, unraveling untold narratives concealed within everyday moments. His artistic practice is centered on revealing the extraordinary elements latent in the commonplace. He is passionate about the Atlas Mountains and its inhabitants, and his photographs like to highlight his Amazigh heritage.

Review articles by label

Death of Lahcen Zinoun

Moroccan artist Lahcen Zinoun died in Casablanca at the age of 80.

Born in 1944, he was known for his interest in various artistic disciplines: cinema, sculpture and painting.

In 1991, he made his first short film, "Flagrant délire", followed by three others: "Silence" in 2001, "Piano" in 2002 and "Faux pas" in 2003. In 2021, Lahcen Zinoun shared his journey and his thoughts in his biography "Le rêve interdit", published by the Belgian-Moroccan publishing house "Maha Éditions".

He was famous for his commitment to preserving Morocco's cultural heritage, actively fighting to protect the country's traditional dances and launching a number of innovative initiatives.


London Arthouse Film: Hassan culture in the spotlight

The 5th edition of the London Arthouse Film Festival, scheduled for July, will focus on Hassan culture. The festival will focus on themes such as "environmental awareness, empowering women and celebrating Moroccan Hassan culture".

In this context, a partnership agreement was signed in Rabat between the Federation of Cinema and Audiovisual Professionals in the Sahara, represented by its president Said Zribiaa, and Kaoutar Tazrouti, coordinator of the London Arthouse Film Festival. The aim of the agreement is to promote Saharan Hassani cinema, in particular by organising film training sessions between London and Laâyoune. It will also raise the profile of Sahrawi Moroccan cinema on the world film scene.

The agreement also aims to establish a roadmap for accessing new international support funds, thereby strengthening the presence and recognition of Hassan culture in the world of cinema. This initiative represents an important step in the promotion and dissemination of Hassan culture, providing an international platform for its artistic and cinematographic expression.


Amazigh New Year celebrations in Agadir

The city of Agadir has organised a rich and varied programme to celebrate the Amazigh New Year 2974, from 8 to 14 January. This celebration takes on particular importance following the King's decision to make it a public holiday.

The festivities, organised in partnership with a number of regional and cultural institutions, took place at the Jardin Ibn Zaydoun, featuring products from local cooperatives and an exhibition of Amazigh photographs and works of art.

There was also a scientific component, with seminars on Amazigh culture at the Sahara cinema in Talborjt. The presentation and signing of the book 'Yennayer: Une introduction à l'étude du calendrier amazigh' (Yennayer: An introduction to the study of the Amazigh calendar) by Lahoucine Bouyaakoubi, and an international symposium on the theme of 'Yennayer and the shared cultural depth of North Africa' were also organised.

The Complexe culturel Mohamed Khair-Eddine hosted the Azaforum Forum on the theme of "Officialising the Amazigh Year in Morocco: meanings and challenges". Ahwach and Rawais art shows, performances by ancient and modern Amazigh music groups, and artistic evenings at various venues around the city enlivened the celebrations.

Screenings of Amazigh films at the Sahara cinema, in partnership with the Isni Nourg International Amazigh Film Festival Association, enriched the cultural programme, offering residents and visitors an immersive experience of Amazigh culture.

Egypt, Morocco

Luxor African Film Festival: a posthumous tribute to Noureddine Saïl

The 13th Luxor African Film Festival, named after director Mr Khairy Bishara and running from 9 to 15 February, will pay tribute to a number of key figures in the African film industry: Moroccan writer and critic Noureddine Saïl, Egyptian writer and screenwriter Raouf Tawfiq, Egyptian producer Jaby Khouri, actress Aye Kita Yara from Burkina Faso and Senegalese director Safi Faye.

Festival director Azza Al-Husseini announced that a panorama of Moroccan films would be presented in Luxor this year, as part of the twinning with the Khouribga International African Film Festival. With 44 films selected to take part in four official competitions, the festival continues to be a key event in the celebration of African cinema. It is supported by a number of institutions, including the Ministry of Culture, the Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities, Foreign Affairs, and Youth and Sports, in cooperation with the Governorate of Luxor and the Syndicat des métiers du cinéma.


"Double Je", the new show of Rhany Kabbadj

Comedian Rhany Kabbadj is back with his brand new show "Le Double Je", a fusion of musical comedy and stand-up. Innovative lighting effects and immersive staging are the promise of this new show in Darija. The artist is currently on tour, with a show scheduled for 20 January at the Moevenpick Palais des Congrès in Marrakech. According to the event's press release, the show mixes melodies and sketches, creating a unique atmosphere. With 'Le Double Je', Rhany Kabbadj redefines the contours of stand-up comedy in Morocco.


Remarkable growth in craft exports from Fès-Meknès in 2023

In 2023, the Fès-Meknès region recorded a notable performance in the crafts sector, with exports reaching 165.65 million dirhams. At national level, exports of craft products totalled 983.76 million dirhams from January to November 2023, with the city of Fez contributing 251 million dirhams, an increase of 15% on the previous year.

The craft sector in Fès-Meknès plays a crucial role in the local economy, contributing 12.8% of the regional gross domestic product and employing more than 120,000 craftsmen. The region is home to 528 craft businesses, representing 34.57% of the national total in this sector.

Fès-Meknès also boasts a large number of craft cooperatives and quality-label craftsmen. The city of Fès, in particular, with 22,472 production units and 264 craft businesses, plays a leading role in this sector at regional and national level.


Rabat: " Jassad " festival celebrates women in theatre

The second edition of the international festival of women directors "Jassad" (body in Arabic) will be held from 25 to 29 January in Rabat, organised by the Aquarium theatre. The festival will feature nine plays from nine different countries, highlighting women's theatrical creativity and their contribution to the performing arts.

The festival, chaired by Naïma Zitan, aims to promote and strengthen the presence of women in the arts and culture. It will bring together female directors from Morocco, Italy, Cameroon, Greece, France, Tunisia, Spain and Egypt/Germany, offering a remarkable artistic and cultural diversity.

The festival programme will include a series of events such as master classes, meetings and discussions, with a particular focus on women directors and set designers. A tribute will also be paid to a leading female figure in Moroccan theatre, underlining the festival's commitment to combating gender inequality in the arts.

The shows will take place in the capital's heritage venues: the Théâtre National Mohammed V and the Salle Bahnini, as well as the Théâtre Aquarium and the Salle Gérard Philippe at the Institut Français.


First edition of the National Festival of Amazigh Culture in Aït Ourir

The first edition of the National Festival of Amazigh Culture was held from 12 to 14 January in Aït Ourir, in the province of Al Haouz, under the theme "Amazigh culture: identity and civilisation". Organised by the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, in collaboration with the Prefecture of Al Haouz, the Provincial Council and the Communal Council of Aït Ourir, this event aims to preserve and promote the national artistic heritage, in particular the Amazigh culture.

The festival aims to lay the foundations for effective and productive cultural action, contributing to the preservation of the national heritage and exploring promising prospects for inclusive local development. Nineteen artistic troupes took part, representing various traditional Amazigh arts, and artistic evenings were hosted by stars of Amazigh song such as Aicha Tachinwit, Mustapha Oumguil, Rabah Mariwari and Hamid El Marrakchi.

A tribute was paid to the Amazigh artist Aicha Babaj, from Aït Ourir, in recognition of her contribution to the preservation of the Amazigh artistic heritage. The festival also included a conference-debate on the specific features of Amazigh culture and its potential for the sustainable development of Ait Ourir, with the participation of researchers and specialists. There were also exhibitions of plastic arts, traditional dress and Amazigh books.

The festival is part of Morocco's first national celebration of the Amazigh New Year.


80th anniversary of the Independence Manifesto: commemorative exhibition at the National Library

To mark the 80th anniversary of the presentation of the Independence Manifesto, an exhibition of historical photos has opened at the National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco. Organised by the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, the two-day exhibition highlights the epics of Moroccan history and the national struggle for independence.

The photographs on display illustrate the symbiosis and communion between the Alawite throne and the Moroccan people, capturing moments of elation and jubilation following independence. They also document the popular uprising after the exile of His Majesty Mohammed V and the actions of the National Liberation Army.

The Minister for Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, emphasised the importance of this anniversary and the exhibition's intention to retrace the key stages of national history and the struggle waged by the Royal Family and the Moroccan people for freedom and independence.

The aim of the exhibition is to revive the national memory and recall the role played by the Throne and the Moroccan people in the struggle for independence, offering an opportunity to delve into the pages of Moroccan history.


Morocco to the Presidency of the UN Human Rights Council

The election of the Kingdom of Morocco to the presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the year 2024 is a first in its history. According to the Arab Observatory for Human Rights, this election testifies to Morocco's success in the field of human rights, both locally and internationally.


The Marrakech 34th International Marathon

Scheduled for 28 January and organised by the Association Le Grand Atlas, this is set to be a major sporting event, with over 13,000 participants from more than 70 countries. Among them, more than 50 top runners will be taking part in this edition, which will also be a qualifier for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

This edition will pay tribute to Moroccan athlete Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi, the first Arab woman to win a medal in the women's marathon at the World Athletics Championships. The organisers are aiming to set new records, particularly for the men's marathon, surpassing the record set by Morocco's Hicham Laquahi at the 31st edition.

Renowned athletes such as Kenyan Sammy Kitwara, Ethiopian Hiribo Shano Share and Moroccan Rkia El Moukim will be present. The event coincides with a car-free day in Marrakech, an initiative to promote awareness of environmental issues and encourage sustainable transport.


Marrakech Festival of African Books

The second edition of the Marrakech African Book Festival (FLAM) will take place from 8 to 11 February 2024. This event, a pioneer of its kind in Morocco, will bring together some forty authors, including renowned figures and young talents, from more than twenty countries and three different continents.

The FLAM 2024 programme will focus on current themes in African literature and thought, celebrating the continent's cultural and human diversity. The festival's honorary president is Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who underlines the cultural and historical importance of Marrakech for Morocco and Africa.

The FLAM 2024 programme will focus on current themes in African literature and thought, celebrating the continent's cultural and human diversity. The festival's honorary president is Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who underlines the cultural and historical importance of Marrakech for Morocco and Africa.

An exhibition, master classes, writing workshops and literary breakfasts will be organised, mainly targeting young people and aimed at promoting reading and writing. A giant dictation, planned for the first time in Africa, will be held in Arabic, French and English, marking a unique global event.


Morocco to host the Futsal CAN-2024

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has designated Morocco as the host country for the next Futsal African Cup of Nations (CAN), scheduled for April 2024. The announcement was made by the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), which said that the event would qualify for the 2024 World Cup finals, to be held in Uzbekistan.

This is the second time that Morocco has hosted the Futsal CAN, the first having taken place in 2020 in Laâyoune.


"Un poète passe": Tribute to Abdellatif Laâbi at the Mohammed VI Museum

Abdellatif Laâbi's exhibition "Un poète passe" will be on show at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat from 10 January 2024. It highlights the work of Abdellatif Laâbi, a leading figure on the Moroccan cultural landscape, through a variety of literary publications, archive documents, paintings and videos.

Laâbi is celebrated in this exhibition as a spokesman for a generation in search of meaning. The first section of the exhibition is dedicated to the magazine Souffles, founded in 1966 by Laâbi along with other poets and artists, and pays tribute to Mohamed Melehi for his work on the magazine's layout.

The following section focuses on Laâbi's prolific literary output, from his first collections to his most recent works and essays, as well as his collaboration with contemporary painters and engravers. Interviews with the author, retracing the key moments in his career, are also included.

The final part of the exhibition reveals Laâbi's lesser-known facet as a painter, offering a glimpse into his artistic evolution. The exhibition highlights the rich and committed work of Laâbi, who used art as a means of denunciation and reflection, and became the spokesperson for a generation in search of meaning.


New water springs after the Al Haouz earthquake

The Minister for Infrastructure and Water, Nizar Baraka, has revealed that 69 new water sources have sprung up following the Al Haouz earthquake. During a presentation in Rabat, he informed the members of the House of Representatives' Infrastructure, Energy, Mines and Environment Committee about these hydrological changes. These water sources are divided between the provinces of Al Haouz (32), Taroudant (19), Ouarzazate (10) and Chichaoua (8).

A budget of 469 million dirhams (MDH) has been allocated to repair water infrastructure damaged by the earthquake. The emergency programme includes repairing the roads leading to the dams, repairing 43 hydrological stations, repairing the drinking water distribution networks in three centres, and building new boreholes and wells.


Celebrating North Africa and the Sahel in Fes

The 6th edition of the International Festival of North Africa and the Sahel countries got underway in Fez, with Mali as guest of honour. Organised from 11 to 13 January by the Aman Foundation for Sustainable Development, the festival celebrates Amazigh culture, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, and the Fez-Meknès Regional Council.

The event began with an exhibition on Amazigh culture, highlighting the gastronomy, crafts and costumes of this culture, whose new year is being celebrated for the first time this month in Morocco. This year's event focused on the theme "For a prosperous Africa", paying tribute to key figures for their contribution to promoting Amazigh culture.

The first day was marked by an artistic evening featuring stars of Amazigh and Moroccan song, a folk group from the Republic of Congo and the Ahidouss group from Khémisset. The programme also includes an international conference on the development of the Royal Initiative to facilitate access to the Atlantic Ocean for the countries of the Sahel.


Photography exhibition in Baku: A tribute to Morocco's architectural heritage

The Baku House of Photography has inaugurated a photographic exhibition dedicated to Morocco's rich architectural heritage. Organised by the Moroccan Embassy in Azerbaijan, this immersive exhibition traces Morocco's architectural history through six sequences, from Antiquity to the modern era.

The opening of the exhibition was attended by leading figures from the world of culture and diplomacy. Morocco's Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Adil Embarch, underlined the symbolic significance of this event, which coincides with the 80th anniversary of the presentation of the Moroccan Independence Manifesto.

The exhibition features 90 photographs covering various historical periods, including ancient cities such as Lixus, Volubilis and Tamuda. It also highlights the impact of the various Moroccan dynasties on architecture, the lasting legacy in the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, and the centrality of Moroccan architecture in regional history.


Amazigh New Year 2974 in Rabat

A major ceremony was organised in Rabat by the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication to celebrate the Amazigh New Year 2974. The ceremony, held at the Mohammed V Theatre, was attended by the Head of Government, Aziz Akhannouch, members of the government, political and media figures, and diplomatic representatives.

The public attended the screening of a film retracing the history and promotion of Amazigh as a key element of Moroccan national identity. The ceremony was also marked by artistic and musical performances by emblematic figures of Amazigh music, both classical and modern, such as Raissa Fatima Tihihit, Kawtar Barani, Mimoune Rifi, Ahmed Soltane, Houssa 46 and Aicha Maya, as well as traditional Amazigh songs and dances.

The event also included a presentation of Amazigh crafts and a posthumous tribute to Mohamed Rouicha, a legend of Amazigh song. The Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mahdi Bensaid, highlighted the efforts made to celebrate this important cultural event and reaffirmed the Ministry's commitment to promoting Amazigh culture and preserving the Amazigh cultural heritage.


FICAK and Tetouan Film Festival strengthen cinematographic collaboration

The Khouribga International African Film Festival (FICAK) and the Tetouan Mediterranean Film Festival recently signed a partnership agreement. The aim of this collaboration is to develop an advocacy programme to strengthen the financial and logistical support of these two major festivals.

The two organisations will collaborate on a number of aspects, including submitting suggestions for film programming and round table topics. They also plan to exchange data on films from African and Mediterranean countries and to set up regular communication mechanisms for effective coordination.

The aim is to address potential challenges and strengthen cultural and cinematographic exchanges, thereby helping to reinvigorate the national film scene. The initiative also includes promoting reciprocal visits between the two festivals and strengthening channels of cultural communication and exchange of experience.

Azeddine Gourirran, Director of the African Film Festival Foundation, said that the aim of the partnership was to promote the exchange of expertise and experience between the two festivals. He also mentioned that this represents an opportunity to reinforce a serious cinematographic culture with a view to closer future collaboration.

The 24th edition of the FICAK is scheduled to run from 11 to 18 May, and preparations include the approval of the moral and financial reports as well as the budget for this edition.


Casablanca: "Amazigh, an essential component of Moroccan identity".

A photographic exhibition entitled "Amazigh, an essential component of Moroccan identity" is being held from 15 to 20 January at the Heritage Interpretation Centre in Casablanca. Organised by the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, the exhibition celebrates the Amazigh New Year 2974, now recognised as a bank holiday and official public holiday in Morocco.

The exhibition retraces events, speeches and Royal decisions highlighting the important place of Amazigh in Moroccan identity. Mohamed Rehane, Regional Communications Director for Casablanca-Settat, emphasised the importance of this cultural event, which looks back at the various stages in the promotion of the Amazigh language since the historic Ajdir speech and the creation of the Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture (IRCAM).

The exhibition features 28 paintings divided into several sections, including the Amazighe language in the Moroccan Constitution and laws, its role in the Moroccan media and an overview of the history of Amazighe journalism. Hafida Khouyi, Regional Director of Culture for Casablanca-Settat, said that this exhibition aims to consolidate the official status of the Amazigh language, reflecting the Kingdom's cultural diversity.


HB launches new single "Four"

The young Moroccan singer HB, whose real name is Hane Baraka, recently launched her new single entitled "Four". The track symbolises her comeback on the music scene. The video for 'Four' was shot in her hometown of Tangiers under the direction of renowned director Hassan Elkourfti. HB is promising a major comeback with several forthcoming musical projects, including a variety of styles such as Afro-Darija and romantic Arabic lyrics. The artist was honoured at the Academy Music Awards in 2016, before calling a halt to her career for health reasons.


Museum of Islamic Art in Fez

Morocco's National Museums Foundation (FNM) has launched a consultation process for the scenography of the permanent exhibition at the future Museum of Islamic Art in Fez, with a budget of over 10 million dirhams. This project comes after a complete restoration of the building, covering a total surface area of 7,320 m², including the entrance building, the main palace building and the garden.

The exhibition aims to offer visitors a multi-sensory experience. It will feature objects, costumes and decorative elements bearing witness to Islamic history, as well as audiovisual and graphic elements to guide visitors through an instructive and immersive journey.


Artistic expansion of Morocco's first Land Art trail

Morocco is home to its first Land Art trail, named Dawya, in the northern mountains, more specifically in the Boujmil douar. This initiative, the first of its kind in the country, features works of nature art that can be viewed free of charge, enhancing the value of this mountainous region.

Organised by the Zanka90 association for culture, guided walks are available all year round, allowing visitors to discover these works of art in the heart of nature. The "Dawya Natures" concept developed by Jean Christophe Michaut, the association's presidency, offers tailor-made, eco-responsible experiences for all ages, with donkey rides and creative workshops introducing visitors to Land Art.

For 2024, the "Dawya Natures" project, supported by the Agence nationale des eaux et forêts, the M'diq-Fnideq prefecture and the municipality of Al Alyiyene, aims to generate income for local residents and promote rural and community-based tourism. The open-air art exhibition, which is enhanced each year by Moroccan and international artists, aims to boost creativity and cultural exchange.

The trail currently boasts 10 Land Art installations, recently inaugurated in the presence of a large number of visitors. Access is free for walkers and nature lovers. The Zanka90 association hopes to invite 10 more artists in 2024 for artist residencies, to further enrich the Dawya Trail with new Land Art installations. This project illustrates Morocco's commitment to artistic creativity and the preservation of the natural environment.


Mustaqbal Award Honours Three Moroccan Photographers

The third edition of the Mustaqbal Prize, initiated by the TGCC Foundation, has rewarded three Moroccan photographers, members of the Noorseen Collective. The "Intersection-Human 2.0" exhibition, which showcases the work of 18 shortlisted photographers, bears witness to the vitality of the Moroccan photography scene, which is moving away from street photography towards more daring experiments.

This year's winners are :

Yassine Sellame (Old Process category): Using film photography, Sellame focuses on young people in Marrakesh. His passion for photography stems from his skateboarding, which enabled him to discover the whole of the medina. He shares his passion through his collective 'Moroccan Dark Room', organising workshops for apprentice photographers.

Rida Tabit (Mobile category): Also from Marrakech, Tabit explores the alleyways of the medina through unusual portraits and self-portraits, playing with shadows. His work, supported by Hassan Hajjaj, will be exhibited at the next edition of 1-54 at Riad Yima and Jajjah Art Gallery.

Mehdi Ait El Mallali (Digital category): His introspective work focuses on the landscapes of the Atlas Mountains in a play of chiaroscuro. The author of a photobook entitled "Blur", he peers behind the windows of a bus, capturing the reflection of anonymous passers-by in a quest beyond appearances.

The "Intersection-Human 2.0" exhibition, presented at the Artorium art space of the TGCC Foundation in Casablanca, is open until 24 January 2024. It also includes works by other equally promising artists.

Photo : Mehdi Ait El Mallali.


Essaouira: "Là-haut le sta7" (Up the sta7)

Organised by the Institut français du Maroc, this group exhibition in Essaouira showcases the rooftops of Moroccan cities as an artistic space. It brings together works by young artists such as Karim Chater, Hind Moumou, Amine Houari and Ismail Zaidy, and is open until 30 January.

Extract from the press release: "sta7 is first and foremost a hybrid place where you are at home and at the same time outside. Better still, it's a place where you are both observer and observed. In a way, you get the impression that a parallel society might exist in the heights of the city. The linen that inhabits it offers a new way of slicing up space and, by the same token, new scenarios for living. It's a space where you can dream, relax and have fun. This deceptively innocuous space becomes a prime playground for photographers, who transform it into a photography studio, inspired by fashion images."


4th Annaba Mediterranean Film Festival: A Celebration of Cinema from 24 to 30 April

The 4th Annaba Mediterranean Film Festival will take place from 24 to 30 April. The event will take place at the Théâtre régional Azzedine-Medjoubi and other cultural venues in Annaba. Originally scheduled for November 2023, the festival was postponed in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Under the patronage of the Minister for Culture and the Arts, Soraya Mouloudji, the festival will feature new film productions made in 2024. There will be some changes to the film programme.

More than 70 films, including features, shorts and documentaries, will be screened in the festival's various categories. The programme will also include Masterclasses, training courses for amateurs and professionals, and the "Annaba Film Days" competition.

Algeria, Palestine

"Village of Crafts": Exhibition of Traditional Arts and Crafts to celebrate Yennayer in Algiers

The "Village of Crafts" exhibition, devoted to traditional arts and crafts, opened in Algiers to celebrate the feast of Yennayer. The event, held on 12 and 13 January at the Villa Dar Abdelatif, brought together around 70 exhibitors from various regions of Algeria, with Palestine as guest of honour.

The exhibition offered visitors a glimpse of Palestinian historical and cultural heritage, featuring traditional objects, jewellery and accessories. It also showcases the diversity and cultural richness of Algeria, with a variety of items including jewellery, outfits, cakes and traditional Amazigh dishes, as well as works of art, leather goods, embroidery and culinary arts.


Ait Menguellet at the Coupole for the Amazigh New Year

Lounis Ait Menguellet, lyricist and performer of Algerian Kabyle songs, captivated his audience in Algiers at a special concert to mark the Amazigh New Year Yennayer. The concert took place at the dome of the Mohamed-Boudiaf Olympic Complex and attracted a large audience.

For three hours, 73-year-old Ait Menguellet treated his audience to a selection of songs from his rich musical repertoire, which includes over 200 titles. The concert was conducted by his son Djaffar, also a musician and performer.

The audience, made up mainly of older fans, was transported back to the 70s and 80s by such hits as "Arrac Arrac", "Sver ay uliw", "Telt ayam", "Ettes Ettes", "Ruh ad qqime?" and "Ad ughalen". Ait Menguellet has also performed songs from his more recent albums, such as "Serh iwaman", "Amedyaz" and "Agefur" from the album "Isefra" released in 2014.


The President of the Republic's Prize for Amazigh Literature and Language

The 4th edition of the Prize of the President of the Republic for Amazigh Literature and Language, which took place in Algiers, highlighted the importance of this prize in promoting creativity in Tamazight. The ceremony, presided over by Prime Minister Nadir Larbaoui, rewarded several prize-winners for their significant contributions in various fields relating to the Amazigh language and culture.

Among the winners:

Alaeddine Tafssast (Batna) won first prize in the "Amazigh literature translated into Tamazight" category. His prize-winning novel deals with attachment to values and principles in the face of life's challenges.

Aicha Hadrani (Batna), winner of the second prize in "Linguistics" for her "Petit dictionnaire Tachawit-Tachawit (local language of Tkukt)", expressed her delight and her desire to continue her research into Amazigh intangible cultural heritage and literature.

Fadia Tidjet (Béjaïa) was awarded first prize in "Research into Amazigh intangible cultural heritage" for her study of bee-keeping and honey-making in Kabylia.

Hamida Chouchane (Batna), winner of the second prize in the same category for her study of popular games in the Aurès, expressed her motivation to continue her research in order to preserve popular memory.

Tarek Iftène (Tizi Ouzou) won third prize in the "Scientific, technological and digital research" category for the development of a digital audio book application in Tamazight.

The prize, which is part of the celebrations for the Amazigh New Year, is an important recognition for researchers and creators in the field of Amazigh literature and language. It aims to preserve and consolidate the components of national identity and promote research in these fields.


Playwright and film-maker Belfadel Sidi Mohamed dies in Oran

The playwright and film-maker Belfadel Sidi Mohamed died on 9 January 2024, at the age of 60, following a heart attack. Born in 1964, he was a leading figure on the Oranese cultural scene and the presidency of the Oranese Union of Playwrights and Filmmakers. He was also one of the founding members of the 'Amel' cultural association.

Considered one of the pillars of the theatre movement in Oran, he was behind a number of important initiatives to promote theatre, including the organisation of 8 editions of the Théâtre scientifique et touristique d'Oran and the initiation of the first edition of satirical theatre. He was also a fervent defender of the socio-professional conditions of his colleagues.

Belfadel Sidi Mohamed encouraged the emergence of numerous theatre troupes led by young talent, thereby contributing to the local and national artistic scene. His notable theatrical works include "El Fougâa" (The Mushrooms), "Oued El Khir", "El Moudja" and "Djennet El Medjnoune". He has also directed a series of short films and taken part in various cinematographic works.


Opening of the 15th "Abdelmalek Bouguermouh" Amateur Theatre Festival in Béjaïa

The 15th edition of the "Abdelmalek Bouguermouh" amateur theatre festival in Amizour, Béjaïa, opened with the play "Targit" (the dream) by the "Talwith" theatre company. Directed by Belkacem Kaouane and Boualem Zeblah, and based on a text by Mouloud Tikoubaini, the show won acclaim for its dreamlike story, inspired by ancient Kabyle tales.

The play tells the story of a young man in social distress who dreams of becoming a prince during a nap on a building site. When he wakes up, he is confronted with the reality of his modest life, far removed from the splendour of royalty.

Seven troupes from Algiers, Sétif, Boumerdès, Bouira, M'sila, Béjaïa and Tizi-ouzou are taking part. The event, which runs until 13 April, is also part of the celebrations for the Berber New Year, scheduled for 12 January. It is an important platform for the discovery and promotion of amateur theatrical talent in Algeria.


Djelfa, the next cultural centre?

A major cultural event, the "Algerian Arab Novel Forum", will shortly be held in Djelfa, according to announcements by the Minister of Culture and the Arts, Soraya Mouloudji. The aim of this regional event is to raise the profile of the wilaya of Djelfa, renowned for its elite writers who have won national, Arab and international prizes.

At the same time, it was announced that the local cultural festival of Nailis music, song, dance and costumes would be promoted to the status of a national festival under the title "National Cultural Festival of the Culture and Heritage of the Ouled Nail". Steps are also being taken to institutionalise the Okadhiate National Cultural Festival of Popular Poetry, with the first edition due to be held in Djelfa in 2024.

The Minister highlighted other cultural projects in Djelfa, including the rehabilitation of the Ibn Rochd House of Culture, restoration work on three old mosques, and the creation of new Fine Arts and music teaching annexes. The Djelfa theatre has been selected to represent Algeria at the International Spring Theatre Festival in Malekhovo (Russia), and a national meeting on workshop theatre is scheduled for February.

The inauguration of an annex to the National Centre for Prehistoric, Anthropological and Historical Research was also mentioned, underlining its crucial role in the study and preservation of local heritage.

This forum and these diversified cultural initiatives aim to strengthen the cultural and artistic heritage of Djelfa and to highlight local traditions and know-how.


Exhibition of Photographs by Christian Sorand and Pierre Gassin at Dar Mestiri and the Institut National du Patrimoine

As part of the Journées culturelles amazighes tunisiennes, the photographic exhibition "Le Rocher Amazigh, entre mer et désert" by French artist-photographer Pierre Gassin, based on Christian Sorand's book "Sud tunisien berbère-Terra incognita anthropologique", is being held at Dar Mestiri in Tunis and then at the Institut National du Patrimoine from 17 to 31 January 2024.

The exhibition features 18 preparatory photographs for Sorand's book, highlighting the cultural and natural heritage of southern Tunisia. Gassin, who has lived in Sfax and Djerba, is known for his commitment to promoting Tunisia's intangible heritage. His works explore the relationship between people, their habitat and the landscapes of the Mediterranean and the Sahara.

Sorand, for his part, offers a perspective on the ancestral history of the Amazigh people, highlighting their pride in their identity and traditions. A lecture entitled "Du signe au décor géométrique Amazigh" by Sorand will accompany the exhibition, enriching the public's understanding of Amazigh symbols and motifs.

Appel à candidatures
Maghreb, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia

Call for applications from the North Africa Cultural Programme (NACP) for Independent Artistic and Cultural Entities

The North Africa Cultural Programme (NACP) has launched a call for applications for independent artistic and cultural entities in North Africa. This programme, implemented by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is entering its second four-year cycle (2024-2027).

The aim of the PCAN is to strengthen these cultural entities, foster regional collaboration, and support the distribution, circulation and dissemination of artistic works in various fields. The programme focuses on two funds:

The National Fund for Cultural Opportunities (FNOC): targeting artistic and cultural institutions and spaces in the five North African countries covered by the programme, including Tunisia. It provides institutional and programmatic support.

The Regional Competitive Creativity Fund (RCCF): This fund supports collaborative projects established within the framework of partnerships between at least one entity based in North Africa and other entities present in Africa and/or the Arab region. It aims to strengthen existing collaborations and encourage new collaborations.

The deadline for applications is 5 March 2024. During its first cycle (2019-2023), PCAN offered 40 grants, supporting 28 organisations at institutional and programmatic level, as well as 12 collaborative projects in North Africa. The programme promotes the diversity of cultural expressions and has provided professional and technical support, meeting spaces, and a digital platform for monitoring the entities and projects supported. Translated with (free version)


New edition of the Encyclopaedia of Tunisian Women at Beït al-Hikma

A meeting-debate was held on 9 January 2024 at Beït al-Hikma, the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts, in Carthage, to discuss the new edition of the Encyclopaedia of Tunisian Women. Organised by the Department of Letters of the Beït al-Hikma Academy in collaboration with the Centre de Recherches, d'Études, de Documentation et d'Information sur la Femme (CREDIF), the meeting was chaired by Mabrouk Mannai, member of the Academy and Director of the project, and Thouraya Belkehia, Director General of CREDIF.

The first edition of this encyclopaedia was published by CREDIF in August 2021, coinciding with the National Day of Tunisian Women. The new edition, recently published, has been expanded to include one hundred and twenty-two exceptional stories of Tunisian women who have marked their times and the history of Tunisia, compared with one hundred and one in the original edition.

The encyclopaedia, compiled by some sixty university professors from a variety of disciplines, covers five main areas: Letters, Arts, Civilisation and History, experimental and medical sciences, as well as social and legal sciences.

Through this initiative, CREDIF aims to recognise and preserve the memory of the contributions of Tunisian women in various fields, by creating a scientific repository for researchers and young people. This repository lists the names of pioneering women in the scientific, cultural and artistic fields, as well as activists for just causes and those who have been forgotten.


“Show’Ashin and LIBER”: A Unique Collaboration for Theater Improvisation

The theatrical improvisation collective “Show’ashin” invited the Berlin theatrical improvisation league, LIBER (Berlin Improv League), for a unique theatrical improvisation match. The event brought together ten professional artists, actors and actresses from both sides of the Mediterranean, for a unique meeting on stage.

The performance, which took place free of charge on Sunday January 14, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. at cultural space B7L9 in Tunis, offered the public the opportunity to discover the spirit of theatrical improvisation. This artistic form is considered a key stage in the process of theatrical creation, where imagination, the meeting between languages and cultures, and the sharing of the pleasure of collective play are essential.

In this improvisation competition, the public played the role of the referee, voting for the performances using voting cards. This collaboration aims to promote theatrical improvisation as an artistic form that abolishes the distance between the room and the stage, encouraging authentic and spontaneous expression.

The Show’Ashin collective was born during the 22nd Carthage Theater Days (JTC 2021). It focuses on interaction with the spectator and the liberation of theatrical work for authentic creativity. This event marks an important step in the evolution of theatrical improvisation in Tunisia.


Carthage Puppetry Arts Days

The fifth edition of the Carthage Puppet Arts Days (JAMC) will take place from February 3 to 10, 2024. The first festival in Tunisia dedicated to the art of puppetry, this event was launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs . It has become an unmissable event for puppet enthusiasts in Tunisia, Africa, and the Arab world.

The JAMC, organized by the National Center for Puppetry Art (located at the Cité de la culture Chedly Klibi), have made it possible over the years to rehabilitate the art of puppetry and transform it into a field embracing multiple artistic aspects. These days helped to establish puppetry as an invaluable intangible heritage and a leading artistic and theatrical value.

United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Tunisia

Sharjah Poetry Festival

Tunisian poet and critic Moncef Ouhaïbi was honored at the 20th edition of the Sharjah Poetry Festival in the United Arab Emirates, winning the first “Sharjah Prize for Poetic Criticism” (Al Qawafi Award). He was rewarded for his presentation entitled “The structure of poetic discourse in contemporary Arabic poetry between metaphor and metonymy” (بنية الخطاب الشعري في الشعرية العربية المعاصرة بين ا لاستعاري والكنائي).

The second and third prizes were awarded to Moroccans Anwar Ben Yaïch and Houcine Benbada for their respective work on contemporary Arabic poetry. This festival, which began on January 8, saw the participation of 70 Arab poets and critics.

The 20th edition of the festival, which closed on January 14, included meetings and poetic evenings as well as a conference on the development of the language of Arabic poetry. The festival presented the play “Al Heera Majlis”, written by the Ruler of Sharjah and produced by the Sharjah National Theatre.


Tunis: “Artistic Confluences” Exhibition

From January 17 to February 10, 2024, Galerie Alexandre Roubtzoff hosts “Confluences Artistiques”, an exhibition bringing together four Tunisian artists with diverse and unique styles. The artists exhibited:

Imed Jemaiel: Scholarly artist, Imed Jemaiel creates a visual dialogue between writing and drawing, mixing calligraphy and artistic composition. Recognized internationally, particularly in Abu Dhabi, he pushes the boundaries of traditional representation.

Slimen Elkamel: Using pointillism to tell memories, Slimen Elkamel transcends generations with his works. His talent, recognized at the Institut du Monde Arabe, uses this technique to create a universal language of memories.

Najet Dhahbi: Writer and painter, Najet Dhahbi explores the female body through varied representations. Holder of a doctorate in heritage sciences, she offers a unique perspective on the erotic image in Muslim miniature art.

Mehdi Bouanani: Known as DaBro, he is distinguished by his artistic deconstruction, going beyond conventional frameworks. Based in Paris, his “Unframe” paintings reimagine classic works with contemporary elements.


« Un après-midi sous la neige » : Samer Nouh’s first work wins the Roman Gay Award in the Discovery category, organized by Editions Du Frigo

The novel “Un Après-Midi sous la Neige” ("An afternoon under the snow”) by Samer Nouh, published by Tropismes éditions, offers a fascinating insight into childhood in the mountains in 2005, where traditions, stories and local legends are transmitted and evolve. The protagonist, Émile, a 14-year-old boy, explores these stories and discovers the complexity of life through intriguing interactions with local characters, notably Saba, a hermit perceived as a prophet or a demon.

Émile's story takes place in a traditional village, where local customs and rituals play an essential role. The immolation of Judas, a tradition still alive, is a key element of the plot. The novel also addresses the theme of homosexuality as an internal and intimate struggle, faithful to the context of the village.

Samer Nouh, born in 1991 in Hadchite, a village in northern Lebanon, is also a director. His experience in audiovisual influences his writing, bringing a cinematic dimension to the narration. The novel, which evokes childhood memories mixed with the author's imagination, offers a unique perspective on memory and history.

“Un Après-Midi sous la Neige” is a remarkable work which illustrates the nuances of memory and the complexity of small stories in the face of major historical events. This captivating novel explores themes of identity, memory and coming of age, while providing a vivid portrait of a village and its inhabitants.

Photo: cover by Joseph Kai.


Tamino, Rising Star of the Arab Pop-Rock Scene

Tamino Amir, a 26-year-old Belgian-Egyptian artist, has become one of the most attractive European and Arab artists of his generation thanks to his albums “Amir” (2018) and “Sahar” (2022). His unique style, combining a dreamlike aesthetic with varied musical influences, has won over the public and the press, as well as the most renowned music festivals.

Born into an artistic family, Tamino discovered music through his mother's collection and his father's oud. It was on the instrument of his grandfather, the actor and Egyptian music star Muharram Fouad, that he composed his first melody at the age of 14. After some time at the Amsterdam music conservatory, he launched his first single, “Habibi” (2017), which enjoyed immediate success.

His first album, “Amir”, is imbued with the emotions of his adolescence and integrates his heritage by mixing electric guitars with an orchestra of Arab musicians. “Sahar”, his second album, further explores oriental influences, mixing acoustic guitars and oud. The album, tinged with melancholy and light, navigates between folk, 1990s rock, and ethereal pop.

Tamino, known for his muffled but intense voice, is distinguished by his personal artistic approach, mixing influences and freely expressing his imagination and his fantastic world through his music.

Israel, Palestine

Debate over Israel's participation in Eurovision 2024 in support of Gaza

The 68th edition of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, scheduled to take place in Malmö on 7, 9 and 11 May, is facing controversy over Israel's participation. A group of 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals have signed a petition demanding that Israel be excluded from the contest. Finnish public broadcaster Yle could withdraw Finland if Israel is not excluded. The petition follows similar criticism and calls for a boycott last December.

Protesters point to the situation in Israel and Gaza, and compare it to Russia's exclusion in 2022 after its invasion of Ukraine. A number of European countries, including the UK and Iceland, as well as international artists, have expressed their support for the Palestinian cause. Israel's participation in the contest has sparked a lively debate on political and ethical issues within Eurovision. For the time being, the organisers are maintaining Israel's participation, considering Eurovision to be a contest for broadcasters and not for governments.


Death of Waddah Faris

Waddah Faris, a versatile artist, gallery owner, graphic designer and charismatic cultural figure, died earlier this year. Born in Aleppo in 1940, he moved to Beirut with his parents at the age of 7. After studying in England, he returned to Lebanon in 1963 to work as an illustrator and graphic designer, notably for the daily an-Nahar. His exceptional talent led him to collaborate with many artists and intellectuals of the time. Passionate about painting, theatre, music and photography, he founded Contact with César Nammour and Mireille Tabet, one of the first art galleries in Beirut, and played a decisive role in the exhibition of Arab artists in Europe, notably through his gallery in Paris.


The Return of Design at the Beirut Art Center

The Beirut Art Center is once again staging design exhibitions to part-finance its public contemporary art programme. Despite Lebanon's profound crises, the BAC continues to operate and promote art and culture. The designers who previously exhibited their creations between 2010 and 2014 at BAC Design are back. Among them are such eminent names as Nada Debs, Karen Chekerdjian, Karim Chayaa, Nathalie Khayat, Rania Sarakbi, and Milia Maroun.

These artists, who have benefited from an individual or collective platform offered by the BAC, have contributed to the growing interest in design in the region. The current exhibition features pieces such as Chekerdjian's 'Monolith' vase and Massoud's 'Elephant' table, testifying to the vitality and creativity of Lebanese design.


"Karkha, a Village from Lebanon": A Docu-Drama on the History of a Lebanese Village

Director Nassif al-Rayess' documentary drama "Karkha: a village from Lebanon", which won the Best Arab Film Award at the Cannes World Film Festival in August 2023, explores the richness and authenticity of a typical Lebanese village. Located in the caza of Jezzine, Karkha embodies the archetypal Lebanese village, rich in culture, heritage and authenticity.

This documentary sheds light on the lives of the inhabitants of Karkha, torn between emigration and the desire to return to their homeland. Through this film, Nassif al-Rayess offers an intimate and profound vision of Lebanese village life, highlighting the themes of identity, tradition and collective memory.

Nassif al-Rayess's work captures the conviviality and cultural richness of the village through authentic depictions of daily life, shared meals and the personal stories of the villagers. "Karkha, a village in Lebanon' is a poignant tribute to the resilience and strength of the Lebanese community, despite the challenges it faces.

Digital Art
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria

TikTok Creators Awards

The ceremony, chaired by Egyptian actress Enjy Kiwan in Dubai, also featured musical performances by singer Youssef Ismail and Guy Manoukian and Bayou. The stars of the "Dubai Bling" show, Safa Siddiqui and Zeina Khoury, also took part in the awards ceremony.

Saudi Arabian Mohammed Shamsi (@iimeeto) won Designer of the Year and Egyptian Amina Hussein (@aminahussein5_) won Designer of the Year.

Here are the winners by category:

Culinary Designer of the Year
Gold: Abir El Saghir (Lebanon)

Video Game Designer of the Year
Gold: Abdulrahman Mohammed Abdulaziz Alam Abdulrahman Mohammed Abdulaziz Alamro (Saudi Arabia)

Sports Content Creator of the Year
Gold: Mohammed Al-Durafi

Music Content Creator of the Year
Gold: Youssef Ismail (Egypt)

Education Content Creator of the Year
Gold: Sherif El Dahshoury (UAE)

Fashion and Beauty Content Creator of the Year
Gold: Safa Srour (Syria)

Entertainment Content Creator of the Year
Gold: Amina Hussein (Iraq)

Best use of long-form content: Zeina Al Itani
Best use of photo mode: Taghreed Eid
Best use of POI (Points of Interest) : Alaa Ghozy
Capcut Content Creator of the Year: Tariq Hussein
TikTok Shop Content Creator of the Year: Raghad Abdullah Bin Talha


Farrah El-Dibany returns to Paris

Mezzo-soprano Farrah El-Dibany will return to AlUla to present a special evening of lyrical music on behalf of the prestigious Opéra National de Paris on 17 January.

"This is an important show because it is the first collaboration between the Paris Opera and Saudi Arabia. I was very happy and honoured that the Paris Opera chose me to represent it. The fact that I am Arab also played a role. It brings me closer to the audience here. All in all, it's a nice bridge between these two countries and these two cultures."

Digital Art

DiGen Art, the new gallery dedicated to digital art

Alex Rayes and Camille Hajjar have founded a new gallery dedicated to digital art in Beirut. "DiGen Art" stands for "Digitally Generated Art". The gallery believes in the democratisation of digital art - from AI-generated images to virtual reality - and its impact on the art market.

"Through curated exhibitions featuring live coding performances, workshops and talks, we strive to stimulate conversations, encourage exploration and highlight the intersections of art, technology and cultural heritage." - Alex Rayes.

Arab World

"The exile recipe book"

"I long for my mother's bread, my mother's coffee, my mother's touch". - Mahmoud Darwish. The link between homeland and food is the raison d'être of this new book entitled "The recipe book of exile: medieval gastronomic treasures from Al-Andalus and North Africa". This is a collection of recipes and cooking manuscripts written in the 13th century by Ibn Razin Al-Tujibi. This collection of texts has been organised and contains 480 recipes, including breads, stews, porridges, truffles, eggs, poultry and meat, vegetables, sweets and even a recipe for making soap.

Newman claims that the Arabs introduced a range of foods and spices into European cuisine in the Middle Ages, including sugar, carrots, aubergines and cauliflower. Even contemporary Italian foods such as pasta and cannoli filled with cream (listed among Al-Tujibi's recipes) are said to be of Arabic origin.


Waël Arakji named Asia's Player of the Year for 2023

The 29-year-old Lebanese basketball star has had a solid fan base since the 2023 World Cup in Indonesia. There, he scored 18 points and made 6 assists in crucial games, helping Lebanon to wins over Ivoiry Coast and Iran.

Arakji won the title of Asia's Player of the Year 2023 thanks to fan votes, which were divided into three rounds: the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final.


Razane Jammal, ambassador for Dior Beauty

Lebanese-British actress Razane Jammal has been appointed ambassador for Dior Beauty, the cosmetics line from French luxury brand Dior. She is best known for her roles in the Netflix series "Sandmann" by Neil Gaiman and Allan Heinberg and "Paranormal" by Amr Salama, and has previously collaborated with the luxury brand for Ramadan 2023.

United Arab Emirates

Architectural Transformation and Sustainability in the United Arab Emirates

From December 14, 2023, to February 20, 2024, the United Arab Emirates showcased an impressive evolution in the field of architecture and design. Iconic structures like the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, the Museum of the Future in Dubai, and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi epitomize this transformation.

Under the visionary leadership, the country aims for widespread development across all sectors, with a focus on sustainability and innovation. Local architects and designers favor unique styles that incorporate sustainability and environmental impact.

The pandemic has spurred the use of local materials, emphasizing the importance of economic, cultural, and social sustainability.

The government's sustainability goals, such as reducing energy and water consumption in construction and recycling construction waste, are central to the country's architectural evolution while maintaining a balance between productivity, design, and aesthetics.

United Arab Emirates

Al Marmoom Film Festival

Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert festival, opening on Friday at Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, stands out for its unique venue, celebration of Emirati heritage, and lineup of independent cinema. Now in its third year and organized by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the 10-day festival runs until January 21.

The event, inaugurated with a performance by the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra, received a special visit from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. The festival is a platform celebrating Emirati culture and the desert, blending modernity and tradition, with crafts, traditional food, children's areas, workshops, and talks on various aspects of filmmaking. Over 70 regional and international titles are screened, many competing in animation, documentary, and live-action categories.

Emirati director Nahla Al Fahad, a member of the documentary judging panel, highlights the festival's role in establishing Dubai as a cultural production hub.

The festival is a crucial platform for emerging creatives, offering workshops and events to sharpen skills, as highlighted by Saeed Al Janahi of Dubai Film and TV Commission. Unique for its open-air venue in the desert, the festival is designed for families and aspiring creatives.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt

"Hajjan": A Thrilling Camel-Racing Sports Drama

From January 18, 2024, to January 21, 2024, the movie "Hajjan," directed by Palme d'Or-nominated Egyptian director Abu Bakr Shawky, is being screened in Saudi cinemas. The film narrates the story of Matar (Omar Alatawi) and his sacred bond with his camel Hofira. Set in the captivating world of camel racing, the film begins with Hofira's difficult birth, saved by Matar. Years later, Matar enters a race against the rival team led by Jasser (Abdulmohsen Al Nemer), after his brother, a camel jockey, tragically dies.

The film skillfully blends coming-of-age drama and sports suspense, featuring thrilling races and well-developed characters. Shawky, along with co-writers Omar Shama and Saudi Mufarrij Almajfel, has created a moving tale that also illustrates local culture. The performances, especially by Omar Alatawi, are noteworthy, capturing a range of emotions authentically.

Saudi Arabia

New Stadium in Riyadh

The new Prince Mohammed ben Salmane Stadium, announced by Qiddiya Investment Company, is being constructed 40 minutes from Riyadh, in Qiddiya, at an elevation of 200 meters in the Tuwaiq mountains. Named after the Saudi Crown Prince, the stadium is designed to host a variety of sports, cultural, and entertainment events with its advanced technologies.

This announcement follows the Crown Prince's launch of Qiddiya's urban development plan, aimed at positioning Riyadh among the world's top ten urban economies and boosting regional tourism. The stadium might host matches for the 2034 Football World Cup and other sports such as rugby, boxing, mixed martial arts, and video gaming.

Unique features of the stadium include foldable and retractable floors, ceiling, and top walls, offering stunning views of the city. Display screens totaling 1.5 km in length will cover the exterior frame, some interior walls, and the roof, creating an immersive experience for visitors.

The stadium will also have an advanced air conditioning system, operating year-round without excessive energy consumption. An ecological lake beneath the stadium will collect rainwater to power an ice wall, ecologically cooling the indoor air.

Saudi Arabia, Lebanon

Elie Saab and Riyadh Season Festival

Renowned Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab, in collaboration with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, will bring an immersive fashion experience to the 2024 Riyadh Season festival.

Signed in London by Faisal Bafarat, CEO of the Authority, and Elie Saab Jr., CEO of Elie Saab, the agreement aims to enrich the festival's entertainment options. Elie Saab's fashion house will launch a Fall 2025 collection inspired by the festival's spirit, reflecting Riyadh's commitment to creativity and cultural diversity.

Turki al-Cheikh, president of the General Entertainment Authority, highlights the importance of such partnerships in providing diverse experiences for visitors. Elie Saab expresses his excitement to participate in this significant event. Since its inception in 2019, the Riyadh Season festival has welcomed millions of visitors, offering a variety of experiences in entertainment, music, and sports.

Saudi Arabia

Ritaj al-Hazmi, Writing Prodigy and New Guinness Record Holder

The young Saudi Ritaj al-Hazmi, at just 15 years old, has recently achieved a second Guinness World Record as the world's youngest columnist. Previously recognized at age 12 as the youngest woman to publish a series of books, she continues to impress with her early literary talent. Al-Hazmi has written 10 articles for Arab News, covering various projects in Saudi Arabia, including The Line and NEOM, as part of the kingdom's Vision 2030.

She tackles a range of topics, including Saudi Arabia's space program, cultural preservation, sustainable development, and local initiatives. Al-Hazmi, who started writing stories at the age of six, has already published several novels in English, including "Treasure of the Lost Sea" and "Portal of the Hidden World".

She advises aspiring writers to pursue their passion despite difficulties, highlighting the importance of writing as a means to share one's thoughts and opinions with the world.

"Writing is a way of sharing your thoughts and opinions with the world. It's a creative process, a kind of art that takes many different forms. You have to find your style!" - Ritaj al-Hazmi for Arab News.


Cancellation of Samia Halaby's Exhibition

The planned exhibition of Palestinian artist Samia Halaby at Indiana University was canceled, despite the artist's intense struggle. At 87, Halaby speaks from New York, mentioning that over 14,000 signatures were collected to reinstate the show. The reason for the cancellation, according to Halaby, might be related to her pro-Palestinian content on Instagram.

The exhibition, prepared for three years with curator Elliot Reichert, was supposed to open on February 10. However, museum director David Brenneman informed Halaby of the abrupt cancellation, citing fears for the safety of the artworks.

Halaby, who has lived in the US since 1951 after fleeing Palestine, expressed surprise at the growing support of young Americans for Palestine. Her work, rooted in both American Abstract Expressionism and politically engaged, deals with relationships between people, states, and power in society.

The reaction to the exhibition's cancellation has been strong, with many supportive calls and emails, particularly from students. Despite this, the exhibition "Samia Halaby: Eye Witness" is scheduled at MSU Broad Art Museum and is expected to open on June 29. This exhibition and the accompanying catalogue will represent a major contribution to the study of Halaby's work.

Samia Halaby is a renowned Palestinian artist, recognized for her role in the Abstract Expressionism movement. Born in Jerusalem in 1936, Halaby was displaced with her family in 1948 during the Nakba, eventually settling in the United States. Her work is known for its vibrant, abstract compositions, often inspired by her Palestinian heritage and experiences. She incorporates elements of geometric abstraction and color field painting, exploring the interplay of color, shape, and space. Beyond her artistic achievements, Halaby is also a vocal advocate for Palestinian rights and cultural heritage. Her artworks are featured in various international collections, including in the Arab world, where she has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. During the Covid lockdown, there was a renewed interest in her digital abstractions, a previously lesser-known aspect of her work. This has contributed to a broader understanding of her artistic range.


Contemporary art in Oman

From January 14, 2024, to January 16, 2024, Oman's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth inaugurated the '111' visual arts exhibition and launched the book "Contemporary Omani Artistic Achievement" by author and artist Hussein Obaid, at Sablat Ruznah hall in Muscat. The exhibition is a continuation of past shows, reinforcing its role in establishing the foundations of Oman's contemporary artistic movement.

The event started with a visual presentation on the history of Oman under the reign of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said. The exhibition features 90 artworks by 25 Omani artists who are pioneers of the country's artistic movement, representing various schools and artistic tendencies.

Said bin Sultan Al Busaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth for Culture, emphasized that the exhibition coincides with Oman's celebrations and honors the founding artists who laid the groundwork for contemporary Omani art.

Hussein Obaid's book, "Contemporary Omani Artistic Achievement," enriches the local and international art scene by documenting the evolution of Omani contemporary art. It includes 600 pages divided into two volumes and seven chapters, covering the history and development of Omani art, from its traditional and Islamic influences to its contemporary expressions.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions
Jordan, Palestine

Palestinian Artistic Expression at the 'Solidarity with Palestine' Exhibition

The "Solidarity with Palestine" exhibition, running until March 28 at Darat al Funun/Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amman, provides a powerful platform for Palestinian artistic expression. It highlights the devastating impact of conflicts and wars on humans and celebrates the spirit of resistance in its human dimension, advocating for justice and peace.

The displayed works, created by various Palestinian artists, employ a variety of artistic media, ranging from drawing and photography to calligraphy and poetry. The techniques used by artists like Samira Badran, Jumana Emil Abboud, and Rula Halawani are diverse, including acrylic painting, collage, ink drawing, pencil, and manual interventions on photos.

Samira Badran uses her works to denounce the violent practices of the occupation in Palestine. Her techniques vary between acrylic drawing, collage, and ink drawing.

Jumana Emil Abboud explores themes such as memory, loss, adaptation, and anxiety through her works, which include drawing, video, and text.

Rula Halawani documents the Israeli separation wall, highlighting its impact on Palestinian life.

Mona Hatoum's works stand out for their ability to captivate the viewer's attention, using ordinary materials to represent the situation under occupation. One of her works, "Lamp," contains hollow shapes of soldiers, creating an encircling effect on the walls.

Khaled Hourani delves into the details of everyday life and political events shaping reality, often with a touch of black sarcasm, to underscore the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people.

Amal Jasser presents works executed in various media, addressing themes of transformation, resistance, and documentation, and highlighting marginalized historical stories.

The exhibition provides an essential platform to showcase the struggling Palestinian cultural scene and artistic expression as a means of resistance and identity preservation.


Oman Through Time Museum's Success with Over 350,000 Visitors in 2023

The 'Oman Through Time' Museum, located in Wilayat of Manah in the Al Dakhiliyah region, welcomed over 350,000 visitors in 2023, with 95% being Omani nationals. This impressive attendance highlights the community's interest in this cultural landmark.

The Museum presents a chronological narrative of Oman's history, with halls dedicated to different eras, ranging from geological periods to Oman's modern and future vision. Exhibitions include artifacts from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, and more recent periods. In addition to these exhibits, the museum houses Sultanate collections, thus attracting a broad range of visitors.

The Museum plans to unveil new collections. In February, the museum will also host the "Museum Building Conference," a global event focusing on heritage and tourism. Equipped with an advanced restoration laboratory, the museum actively works on restoring and preserving historical artifacts. Additionally, it organizes various educational and cultural activities, including programs for students.


Mariam Al Wahibi's 'Faces Tell Stories' Exhibition

The solo exhibition "Faces Tell Stories" by Omani artist Mariam Al Wahibi, hosted throughout January at Beit Al Zubair in Muscat, provides a unique insight into artistic expression. Unlike her first exhibition where faces were more enigmatic and less clear, this current exhibition features more readable faces, capturing the observer's spirit in varied and personal ways.

Al Wahibi incorporates verses by Omani poetess Aisha Al Saifi alongside her artworks, thus enhancing the artistic experience and offering viewers additional perspectives on the meanings of the works. She explains that the faces she draws are gateways into the persons they represent, allowing viewers to find faces that resemble them or express their emotions. Some of these faces are creations of her memory or imagination.


Abdel Wahab and Laila Murad at the Cairo Opera House

The National Ensemble of Arab Music, directed by maestro Mostafa Helmy, will be presenting an evening of songs dedicated to the musician Mohamed Abdel Wahab and the singer Laila Murad, on the stage of the Grand Theatre of the Cairo Opera House on 19 January. The performers will be : Enas Ezz El-Din, Sarah Zaki, Manar Samir and Ahmed Effat.


The diary of Palestinian writer and Minister of Culture Atef Abu Saif

Since 7 October, Palestinian Minister for Culture, Atef Abu Saif, has been keeping a diary in the Gaza Strip.

Comma Press will publish all these chronicles, entitled "Don't Look Left: A Diary of Genocide", due out around 8 February.

Many of Abu Saif's diary entries were sent in the form of WhatsApp messages and voice memos to his editor. The book follows Abu Saif as he is "reduced to running the streets in search of shelter, like so many other Gazans, after the hotel where he was staying was bombed", said Comma Press.

Abu Saif has written six novels and previously published a war diary, The Drone Eats With Me, about the 2014 Gaza war, which lasted 50 days and resulted in the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians.

All profits from the sale of the book will be donated to four Palestinian charities: Medical Aid for Palestinians, Middle East Children's Alliance, Afaq Shadida/New Horizons Children's Center (Nuseirat Refugee Camp) and Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Khan Younis Emergency Relief).


Monday, December 20
When I left my office in Ramallah on the afternoon of 5 October for a short work trip to Gaza, I never thought I'd be stuck there for nearly three months, in the middle of the longest and most devastating war of my life.

In the weeks that followed, I lost family members, good friends, my most precious memories and my family home. I didn't know that I was going to lose my neighbourhood and my beloved camp, Jabaliya. I never thought I would have to repeat my grandmother Aisha's journey and finally understand every word she said about her painful exodus from Jaffa to Gaza in 1948 (...)

When I think back over the last 70 days, I wonder how I survived. I could have been at my sister-in-law Huda's house when the bombing killed her, her husband and their two boys, and mutilated her daughter. I could have been with Bilal, as we had planned to travel together, and been murdered with him. I could have been in a hundred places that were attacked. I remember that at the end of the 2014 war (which I also chronicled), when peace was declared, a journalist asked me: "Who won? I replied at the time: "I won". I survived, didn't I? I'm not sure my answer would be the same at the end of this war.

Looking back on this diary - even though it's not finished yet and I'm still living in a tent in Rafah - I find myself not wanting to remember anything. I just want to remember what life was like before the war. I don't want to remember that so many people close to me have been wiped out. I want to keep them with me, pretend they're still there.


« The Elephant in the Room »

This play was written and directed by Ibrahim Khalil Foad. It deals with the daily challenges of Alzheimer's disease, with a duo of actors playing son and mother. A timeless play with dialogue that oscillates between fiction and reality.


Beirut: "I love you so much, I imprison you"

La galerie Tabet de Beyrouth propose de découvrir jusqu’au 8 février l’exposition personnelle du jeune artiste Mathieu Makhlouf Si sa dernière exposition, « Cache Cache », s’intéressait avant tout aux mouvements de l’enfance et à la liberté de cet âge, celle-ci porte aujourd’hui sur la violence de l’amour dans nos sociétés contemporaines. On retrouve toujours les formes géométriques, les couleurs et les traits de crayons caractéristiques de l’artiste, également diplômé en architecture.


"Camera Obscura" by Gwenaëlle Lenoir

In her novel "Camera Obscura," Gwenaëlle Lenoir pays a poignant tribute to Cesar, a Syrian photographer who documented the massacres by Bashar al-Assad's regime. Inspired by the Syrian revolution of 2011, Lenoir tells the story of an ordinary man who becomes a daring witness to the atrocities committed. Cesar, a military photographer, took photos of tortured bodies in the morgue where he worked, confronting moral dilemmas and his fears.

The book explores life under al-Assad's regime, where inhabitants are forced into expressions of forced loyalty and live in constant fear of the intelligence services. Lenoir describes, with short and impactful sentences, the life of a muzzled and desperate society. Cesar, despite his fear, chooses to document the horrors, thus becoming a symbol of courage and resistance.

Lenoir, who followed the Syrian revolution with enthusiasm and horror, incorporates her own fears into the novel and pays homage to the courage and tenacity of those fighting for freedom. "Camera Obscura" is a powerful narrative that highlights the brutality of the Syrian regime and the resilience of the human spirit.


"Carnival" at La Scala Paris: The Virtuosity of Pianist Nour Ayadi

La Scala Paris is hosting a remarkable piano recital named "Carnival," featuring the talented pianist Nour Ayadi,
on January 28.

In this program, Ayadi presents a recording for Scala Music, creating an experience where the madness of the carnival invites dancing and escapism. The program includes Schumann's "Carnaval," Poulenc's "Soirées de Nazelles," and "Novelettes" by both composers, a daring and original combination of Schumann and Poulenc.

Besides Ayadi's recital, the event will feature a performance by students from the Conservatoire de Drancy and the Conservatoire Hector-Berlioz of Paris's 10th district. They will perform Camille Saint-Saëns' "Bacchanale" as an opening to the evening.

The complete program will also encompass pieces by Jean-Philippe Rameau and Robert Schumann, promising an evening where celebration meets virtuosity and passion for classical music.

Nour Ayadi is a gifted pianist born in Casablanca. She has successfully combined a career in classical music while pursuing studies at Sciences Po. Ayadi has excelled in several international piano competitions, showcasing her virtuosity and musical sensitivity. Her ability to perform complex works with emotion and finesse quickly established her as a renowned pianist on the international scene.


Tigrane Kazazian Band

On January 17, 2024, New Morning in Paris features the Tigrane Kazazian Trio, showcasing their new album "Still Love". Led by Tigrane Kazazian, a Franco-Armenian oud player born in 1987, the trio presents a unique musical experience blending jazz, Oriental, and Western music.

Kazazian, who grew up in Egypt and lived in France, Canada, Armenia, and trained at the national conservatory of Yerevan, brings a rich cultural fusion to his music. His approach to the oud, a traditional instrument, is akin to an expert singer in acrobatic vocalizations, taking the listener on a spiritual trance around haunting Oriental melodies.

"Still Love" is described as a magical and deeply melodic album, where each instrument appears to sing. Kazazian's music is a harmonious synthesis between Arab and Western musical traditions, respecting tradition while exploring new meditative soundscapes.

The Tigrane Kazazian Ban also includes Lucy Khanyan on keyboards and Thomas Ostrowiecki on percussion, with a special appearance by singer BlauBird. Their performance promises to be a fascinating journey through various cultures and musical styles.

Recent Journals

28 - 12 - 23

"عيب" by Sarah Bahbah Sarah Bahbah is a Palestinian Jordanian artist and director born and raised in Australia. Raised by Immigrant parents, her culturally conservative upbringing led to a great rebellion of Art. Over the past decade Bahbah has become renowned for her signature style, giving birth to visually striking, culture-shifting stories that combine her most intimate psyche appearing as subtitles placed over cinematic stills. Bahbah’s art explores the power of vulnerability by way of giving voice to the vast spectrum of chaos and desire in imperfect relationships. She believes in embracing emotional vulnerability to break taboos and celebrate the liberation of guilt and shame. In 2020 Bahbah released her most impactful series yet titled “3ieb!” in Arabic / “Shame On Me!” in English; a series where she provocatively posed in front of the camera for the first time, expressing her desire for sexual liberation from her cultural restrictions. The subtitles appeared in both English and Arabic calligraphy which caused an uproar within the MENA community, while simultaenously giving voice to many women who held the same desire. Bahbah’s work has been featured in countless publications including New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, The Cut, Vogue US, Hollywood Reporter, Vice and many more. In 2023 Bahbah released her first ever luxury fine art book, "Dear Love".

21 - 12 - 23

"I'm 33 and I've never been on a plane" It took five years for Abdel Rahman Zagout, a Gazan photographer, to complete a project on the Egyptian border with Gaza, which won the 2018 Red Cross photography competition. This photograph is part of the project, portraying a young Palestinian at the border, his hands open in front of a closed window. Abdel Rahman Zagout graduated in media at Al-Aqsa University and graduated in 2008. He worked for ten years as a freelance photojournalist and photography consultant. His project recounts the hopes and dreams of Palestinians, shattered by poverty and fences. Most of the photos were taken at the Rafah crossing, which links Gaza to Egypt. It is considered to be the main exit from Gaza, and is only opened sporadically.

14 - 12 - 23

@dyaladesigns "As cliché as it may sound, I've always been creative. Somehow I always knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I've never been that passionate about anything other than art and design, so why would I spend my life doing something I didn't really love? It's my passion and I intend to use my creativity to make a difference in this world." "As a Palestinian artist, I definitely feel a responsibility to use my platform to highlight the ongoing conflicts and express my emotions about them in a beautiful way. Art is my passion, and my country is my passion, so combining these two aspects of my life is something that excites and motivates me. My work is a reflection of who I am, and I think it's important to represent people who feel that their voices aren't always heard. I want people to look at my work and see the beauty and relevance of who they are and where they come from. I feel it's our global duty to show our support and unite in times of need. I feel that my work highlights the importance of acceptance and inclusion. Given the world we live in today, where people are bombarded by an unrealistic digital society, my art plays a role in breaking down those boundaries and redefining those expectations." Dyala Moshtaha

07 - 12 - 23

"I will continue to draw until Palestine is free. I will continue to draw the Palestinian flag everywhere in the streets of Egypt." - Mohamed Moataz Mohamed Moataz a décoré l'un des plus anciens quartiers du Caire, Al-Khalifa, qui est par ailleurs inscrit sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO depuis 1979. Il s'agit de quatre peintures murales qui dénoncent l'horreur du génocide de Gaza. Mohamed Moataz a décoré l'un des plus anciens quartiers du Caire, Al-Khalifa, qui est par ailleurs inscrit sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO depuis 1979. Il s'agit de quatre peintures murales qui dénoncent l'horreur du génocide de Gaza. Mohamed Moataz's career as a street artist began on the streets of the Egyptian capital with works celebrating Arab heritage, featuring iconic figures such as football star Mohamed Salah and the Star of the Orient, Umm Kulthum. However, current events soon caught up with him, and in recent months he has focused exclusively on the genocide perpetrated by the State of Israel in Gaza.

30 - 11 - 23

Gaza, Humanitarian truce, 28 November 2023. Mohammed Salem is a Palestinian photojournalist based in the Gaza Strip. He holds a degree in media studies from Al-Azhar University in Gaza. Mohammed has worked with Reuters since 2003, mainly covering the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. He received the Dubai Press Club Media Award, won the International Press Photo Competition in China in 2004 and was awarded second prize in Spot News at the World Press Photo Competition in 2010. His latest photos of the Gaza Strip in October 2023 have been selected by Reuters as one of the "best press photographs of 2023". "A picture should not be taken just with the eye; it should have a meaning in the heart" - Mohammed Salem.

23 - 11 - 23

"A boy eating watermelon", Adam Rouhana “There are a number of things that come to mind when I look at this image and, honestly, it’s about the boy… It’s sort of like he’s making love to the watermelon, right? That is what it looks like. So, it’s this idea, I guess, of a passion for the land and his own relationship with the land. You can see he’s in this kind of olive grove and the earth is around him." N.B. The watermelon is a symbol of Palestine. Adam Rouhana is a young Palestinian photographer who graduated from Oxford. He grew up in Boston. Each year, he returns to his homeland with his camera, and focuses on Palestinian youth, which represents half the population. A soldier, a fence, a football pitch, but also laughter, somersaults on the beach and back to school moments. The young photographer, who plans his first exhibition with curators Zainab Hasoon and Sara bin Safwan at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, captures these everyday infrastructures, characters and emotions of Palestine. He claims the "permission to narrate" developed by Edward Saïd - in other words, the commitment to sharing an individual rather than a collective story, not dictated by an oppressive regime or locked into a given prism such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Adam Rouhana therefore offers new perspectives and new narratives of Palestine. ‘Instead of reproducing the representations of occupied Palestine that are so ubiquitous and so obvious, I was able to capture the quieter moments and try to work to create new representations of Palestine’ – Adam Rouhana

09 - 11 - 23

"Climbing walls", Khaled Hourani Born in Hebron, he is an artist, writer, commentator, curator, and a critical voice in Palestine. Operating within a socially and politically constrained system, Hourani conveys his awareness of the nuances and vagaries that permeate different aspects of social encounters in Palestine. In his pivotal 2011 project ‘Picasso in Palestine’, Hourani borrowed Picasso’s ‘Buste de Femme’ from the Van Abbemuseum in The Netherlands, to display it in Ramallah. The symbol was powerful knowing the piece was painted during WW2. What was already an unusual lending process turned into a political quagmire considering that Palestine was not - and still isn’t - internationally recognised as a state, therefore making it impossible to insure the piece. The painting had to be militarily guarded: no insurance company took the risk. Picasso’s painting was exhibited in a specific room, always with two guards. This photograph was taken at the time, and has since been exhibited multiple times, also under surveillance. A mise en abyme revealing the complexity and constant struggle of a life under occupation.

30 - 11 - 23

"Kiss of Freedom", Rami Kanso Rami Kanso is a Lebanese-Slovak graphic designer, motion designer and visual artist based in Doha. He currently works for Alaraby TV. Rami combines his work in broadcasting with his passion for creative animation. He was head of visuals for the West End music production "Umm Kulthum: The Golden Era", which premiered at the London Palladium in March 2020. He also co-produced and co-directed a series of award-winning poetry videos with his wife, Dana Dajani. In October 2019, Rami's drawing for the Lebanese revolution became a viral icon of the resistance movement. His art blends calligraphy, collage, texture work, typography and symbolism to express contemporary Arab identity.

26 - 10 - 23

"Women sleeping" by Malak Mattar "Being a feminist is not about hating men; it's about believing that men and women don't have to compete with each other, but that they complement each other. This harmony can exist between two genders when there is equality and recognition of each other's roles and abilities, without degrading anyone's status." Malak Matar was born in 1999 in the Gaza Strip. She started painting in 2014 to escape the aggression and violence she and her family experienced daily while living in the Gaza Strip. Her first solo exhibition, which she organised a year later at the age of fifteen, enabled her to forge links with international journalists and gain recognition for her work on social networks. After winning the distinction of best high school student in the Gaza Strip (and second best in the whole of Palestine), Malak Matar left Gaza in 2017 to study political science in Turkey. She is publishing a bilingual Arabic-English children's book, "Grandma's Bird", about the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, with writings and drawings that describe her own experience.

19 - 10 - 23

"Palest*n*ans: a story of displacement and pain. For decades, the world has been a silent witness to their displacement, the bombing of their refuge and the loss of loved ones. Today, with no access to food, water or medicine, they are faced with the agonising decision to leave the land they hold dear, with the uncertainty of their return, or quite simply, to die. Their story is part of the wider story of refugees around the world. The location of this work has not been added to avoid the shadowbanning I have faced in recent days." - statement by Egyptian visual artist and graphic designer Hassan Ragab, about the tragedy that Gaza goes through today, in front of everyone's eyes. The word 'Palestinians' has had several letters removed to avoid the censorship currently rampant on social networks. Hassan Ragab was trained as an architect and now lives in Southern California. Between design, furniture renovation, installations and graphic design, he participates in the development of digital art and in particular the use of Artificial Intelligence in this field.