AlJaw N°102

This week's picture

“In this work, I am expressing how I feel with my own body. Always trapped, never free.”

Maha Alasaker is a Kuwaiti multidisciplinary artist whose working mediums include photography, performance, textiles and natural dyes.
She tries to gain a deeper understanding of herself while attempting to engage issues of culture and identity.

These two pictures are part of the series “The Body Is A Trap”. Throughout their lives, women are subjected to a process of physical and psychological conditioning. Socializing them for the role prepared for them. This role is serving as a biological function necessary for the reproduction of the tribe through marriage. One female identifier is her sexual function. From this function, she derives pieces her social character and behaviour.

maha alasuker

Marrakech International Film Festival

The 21st edition of the renowned Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM) is set to take place from November 29 to December 7, 2024. The event, a significant platform for cinema and culture in Morocco, looks forward to a year filled with new discoveries, international programming, and unforgettable encounters.

Celebrating its 20th edition in 2023, the festival witnessed the Moroccan documentary "The Mother of All Lies" by director Asmae El Moudir winning the Grand Prix (Golden Star). This award marked a historic first for a Moroccan film at this global cinematic event. The FIFM continues to provide an international stage for cinema and remains a key event for industry professionals in the region.


The Sahraouiya Raid Honored at the Moroccan Embassy in Paris

The Moroccan Embassy in Paris hosted a reception in honor of the French participants of the 10th edition of the "Sahraouiya" solidarity and female raid, scheduled for February 3-10. Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, this 100% female sports event takes place in the bay of Dakhla, gathering this year about fifty teams from various regions of the world, including 22 teams from France.

Samira Sitaïl, the Moroccan Ambassador to Paris, emphasized the significance of this competition, which was held even during the Covid-19 pandemic, for bringing together participants from various countries and cultures. She also discussed the importance of preserving cultural diversity.

Laila Ouachi, the president of the Lagon Dakhla Association and co-organizer of the Raid, highlighted the solidarity diplomacy message of the Sahraouiya Raid, which has attracted thousands of women from different backgrounds. The raid is a challenge open to all women, promoting self-improvement, solidarity, social commitment, and cultural diversity.

Participants compete in various events, including Boot camp, canoeing, run & bike, trail, orienteering, and mountain biking.

A charity gala is planned to conclude this edition, aiming to raise funds for opening an SOS Village house in Dakhla for orphans, including children affected by the El Haouz earthquake.


"On Marche" Festival in Marrakech

The 17th edition of the International Contemporary Dance Festival "On Marche" will take place from March 1 to 9 in Marrakech, under the theme "Spirituality in Contemporary Dance". The festival, initiated by choreographer Taoufiq Izeddiou, is supported by several institutions, including the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, the French Institute, and the Marrakech-Safi Regional Council.

"On Marche" is an important cultural event both nationally and internationally, attracting dance enthusiasts, art professionals, and an audience interested in new trends in contemporary dance. This edition invites reflection on spirituality in dance, considered as both an individual mystical quest and a collective celebration.

The festival will feature performances by renowned dance companies from Morocco, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Canada, and the Republic of Korea. Events will be held in various venues across Marrakech, including the Bahia Palace and the French Institute.

The program also includes workshops, conferences, and meetings with artists, as well as a forum on the role of dance in the Moroccan intellectual space. The "Taklîf" award, dedicated to new choreographers, will also be presented for the second consecutive year.

Taoufiq Izeddiou is a Moroccan choreographer renowned for his significant contribution to the art of contemporary dance, particularly in Morocco and the Arab world. Born in Marrakech, Izeddiou began his dance career exploring various styles before focusing on contemporary dance. He is best known for being the founder and artistic director of the Festival International de Danse Contemporaine "On Marche", an annual event held in Marrakech. The festival plays a key role in promoting contemporary dance in Morocco and provides a platform for local and international artists to showcase their work.


Strengthening Economic Ties: Saudi-Moroccan Economic Forum in Riyadh

Morocco's experience in transitioning towards a more sustainable agricultural policy was highlighted in Berlin by Mohammed Sadiki, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests.

Speaking at a ministerial roundtable organized by the World Bank, the United Kingdom, and the German Ministry of Agriculture as part of Berlin's Green Week, Sadiki presented the Moroccan agricultural strategy for 2020-2030, named "Generation Green". This forum served as a platform to discuss agricultural policies and showcased Morocco's approach to more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.

Saudi Arabia, Morocco

Boosting Economic Relations: The Saudi-Moroccan Forum in Riyadh

The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), in collaboration with the Saudi Chambers of Commerce, organized a visit to Riyadh for a delegation of over 100 Moroccan companies representing 15 economic sectors. The objective was to explore commercial partnership and investment opportunities between Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The event included the Saudi-Moroccan Economic Forum at the headquarters of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce, highlighting the investment environment and opportunities in both countries, as well as the role of funds and financial partners.

The agenda also featured a meeting of the Saudi-Moroccan Business Council, bilateral meetings between representatives of companies from both countries to discuss cooperation and partnerships, and visits to various corporate and governmental entities. This initiative aimed to explore investment opportunities in various sectors, including agriculture, industry, finance, renewable energies, real estate, construction, services, health, and technology.


Bakery: Morocco in the World Cup Final in Paris

Morocco distinguished itself by finishing in 6th place in the final of the Bakery World Cup, which was held on 21 and 22 January in Paris, during the "Europain" trade fair. The Moroccan team, led by Kamal Rahal Essoulami, presidency of the Fédération marocaine des arts culinaires and the Fédération de la pâtisserie boulangerie, included El Hassane Id-yahia for the viennoiserie, Driss Darek for the bread and Amine Boulmane for the artistic piece. This qualification follows their victory at the 2023 African Bakery Cup in El Jadida.

First place in this Bakery World Cup went to France (922.38 points). Korea (876.81 points) and Japan (862.04 points) completed the podium.


Forum on Study Abroad in Rabat attracts over 20,000 visitors

The second edition of the Study Abroad Forum, organised by the "Moroccan Student" group from 18 to 20 January, attracted more than 20,000 visitors to Rabat, before moving on to Casablanca. This annual event brought together several national and international universities and grandes écoles. It offered baccalaureate holders a unique opportunity to find out about the possibilities of studying abroad, as well as the necessary steps to take, such as applying for visas and scholarships.

Kaoutar Abdallaoui, head of sales for the "Moroccan Student Group", stressed the importance of this forum in presenting the range of courses available and helping baccalaureate holders make their study choices. A number of universities, including Italian ones taking part for the first time, presented high-quality courses in a range of disciplines.

Najate Es Sadeqy, head of the Uni-Italia Maroc association, mentioned the participation of 13 Italian universities through the association, founded in 2010 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Italian International Cooperation, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation and the Ministry of the Interior. The aim is to attract more Moroccan students to Italian universities.

The forum, which has brought together institutions from over 15 countries, will be held in several cities across the Kingdom, including Meknes, Laâyoune, Dakhla, Marrakech, Fès, Béni Mellal, Tangiers, Agadir and Oujda.


56 20th Century Buildings in Casablanca Listed as Historic Monument

Casablanca has expanded its list of historic monuments by including 56 buildings from the 20th century, following a decision by the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication, published in the Official Bulletin on January 15, 2024. These applications, submitted by the General Director of the Urban Agency of Casablanca, were reviewed and approved in 2023.

Most of these historic buildings are privately owned. Notable among them are the Ernest Delasalle building, designed by architects Joseph and Elias Suraqui in 1928, the La Poste building constructed between 1918 and 1920 by Adrien Laforgue, and the Liberté building, erected between 1949 and 1951 by Léonard René Morandi. Three public buildings are also on the list: the Higher School of Fine Arts of Casablanca, the Zerktouni College and High School, and the Market building.

The ministry specifies that no modifications can be made to these historic buildings without informing the competent cultural sector services at least six months before the start of the work.

This measure aims to preserve the rich architectural heritage of Casablanca, reflecting its diverse historical and cultural influences.

Egypte, Syria

The Mir'a association and cultural hub

Created in December 2021, Mir'a - or mirror in Arabic - was launched with a concert in Paris by Egyptian artist Hamza Namira on 20 March 2022. The aim of the Paris-based association, led by four creative Egyptians - Nadine el-Guiddawy, Hussein Ghaly, Adham and Omar el-Charkawy - is to showcase new talent from the MENA region, while changing the narrative around the region in the West through the power of art.

Between exhibitions and concerts, the 2024 season promises to be rich in cultural events, starting with the concert by Syrian duo Skhoon at the Bataclan in Marseille and Paris on 9 and 10 February.

"The artists we 'bring back' to Europe act as ambassadors for their countries. Through them, audiences discover a culture that they are not necessarily familiar with." - Nadine el-Guiddawy.
Find her on Instagram: @miraintl

Presentation of Shkoon by Le Bataclan: "In 2016, German producer Thorben Tüdelkopf and Syrian refugee musician Ameen Khayr joined forces to create the duo Shkoon. Between the warmth of electronic rhythms and the depth of Arabic song, their collaboration has never ceased. Here they are, taking to the stage at Le Bataclan on 10 February, bursting with emotion, telling tales of exile and hope. It's magnificent, and not to be missed under any circumstances".

Algeria, Jordan

El Morabba3 : from Amman to Paname

"El Morabba" (or the square in Arabic) is a Jordanian rock band formed in 2009. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2012, followed by a second in 2015, 'Taraf Al Khait'. The band recently moved to Berlin and reformed around two figures: founder, singer, composer and bassist Mohammad Abdallah and music producer and sound artist Basel Naouri. They will be performing at the FGO in Paris. All profits will be donated to the NGO Palestine Children's Relief Fund to support the child victims of the genocide in Gaza.

The group also introduces the DJ duo Disco Makrout, formed by Ahlem and Nesrine, two Franco-Algerian artists. Having grown up in Algeria in the late 90s, they are inspired by Arab classical music, with icons such as Oum Kalthoum and Warda, as they are by Eastern and Western pop, with key figures such as Elissa and Beyoncé.


Davos Forum : Rudayna Abdo receives the Schwab Foundation Prize

Rudayna Abdo, visionary founder and director of Lebanese organisation Thaki, was awarded the Schwab Foundation Prize at the Davos Forum in recognition of the NGO's role in the education of children in the Middle East. Thaki, which is apolitical and non-sectarian, offers online education to marginalised children in the Middle East, with the aim of improving the level of education of refugees in Lebanon.

"As Palestinian and a refugee, I have suffered the injustices of violence and war. Today, Thaki has supported over 30,000 children and we are now looking at ways to support the children of Gaza. None of this would have been possible without my amazing team and the dozens of volunteers who have joined this mission since day one." - Rudayna Abdo.

Thaki's offline application, available in English and Arabic, allows children to use the programme on devices supplied to them by partner companies.

In Lebanon, according to a recent UNICEF survey, more than a quarter of families now have children who have dropped out of school, compared with 18% in April 2022.

Algeria, Palestine

Saint Levant at Coachella

An impressive rise for the multicultural artist - born in Jerusalem to a French-Algerian mother and a Serbian-Palestinian father - who grew up between Amman and Gaza and is now based in California. He will be taking to the stage at the not-to-be-missed American festival Coachella on 13 and 20 April, and fans can expect to see him perform his hits 'Maghreb', 'Very Few Friends' and 'Nails'.

As a musician, Saint Levant said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Palestinian-born American intellectual Edward Said to "dismantle the Orientalist fantasies that have dictated the geopolitics of our region over the last three centuries".


Death of Hussein Madi

Nicknamed the Lebanese Picasso, the painter recently passed away. He was best known for his paintings of voluptuous women, whose geometric shapes were instantly recognisable in the art world. Hussein Madi was also a sculptor, engraver, educator and press illustrator.


"Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs" continues its epic journey in Germany

Entitled "Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs", the touring exhibition opened at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences in 2021. It was then held in Paris from 7 April to 6 September 2023, and is currently on show in Sydney. This week's news: the Egyptian government has approved the continuation of the exhibition in Germany from 13 July 2024 to 6 January 2025.

In addition to the pharaoh's painted sarcophagus, the exhibition features 180 original pieces, some of which had never before left Egypt, such as the treasure of Tanis. The exhibition also offers visitors an immersive virtual reality experience featuring what are arguably Ramses II's most impressive monuments: the Abu Simbel temples and the tomb of Queen Nefertari.


« Raffi Talks »

After two attempts, businessman Raffi Boghosian has managed to launch his show, 'Raffi Talks' in Los Angeles. The weekly show, in Arabic, will cover a range of cultural themes, with a particular focus on film and television, with the aim of appealing above all to the Gen Z.

Digital Art
Saudi Arabia, Iraq

Between fiction and reality: Meshal Al-Obaidallah

Meshal Al-Obaidallah, a 32-year-old Saudi conceptual artist, is interested in the ways in which our history is archived, and in particular that of Saudi Arabia, whose openness to 'modernity' in recent years has deeply perplexed the young Washington-born man in his thirties. His passion for archives is always guided by his questioning of the oblivion of culture and its constant evolution. Also an exhibition curator, he has exhibited in Saudi Arabia, Italy, England, etc.

"I like to look at different ways of archiving and documenting stories."
For example, in his series entitled "Shimagh", Al-Obaidallah has revisited the traditional Khaleeji headdress in bright colours, highlighting Arab multiculturalism (see photo).


« Makanak » by Amr Diab

The Egyptian star's latest surprise album, 'Makanak', has topped the charts on the Anghami listening platform. With its twelve tracks, the album produced by Nay For Media collected no less than 25 million listens in the three days following its release.


« Ashtakou Li Wajhika » by Rima Yussef

The author, composer and performer has just released a new single, in modern Arabic standard, in collaboration with Lebanese producer Sleiman Damien. The title, with romantic lyrics mixing pop rhythms and classic melodies, features a clip generated by artificial intelligence, allowing, according to the artist, a dialogue between music and technology.


Dubaï : « Diary », Tammam Azzam's exhibition

The Syrian artist does an exhibition at the Ayyam gallery in Dubai until February 20. His exhibition allows a retrospective of his latest works, focusing in particular on the Syrian civil war, the displacement of the population and the effort of memory.

Tammam Azzam particularly caught the international attention after exhibiting works combining photographs of buildings destroyed by the war with famous European paintings, such as Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss".


Casa Vintage Festival

The 3rd edition of the Casa Vintage Festival, organized by the collective "Maroc Rétro", will be held from February 21 to 25, offering participants a journey through time. A “vintage market” will propose a wide range of vintage items, including antique furniture, vintage clothing and accessories, as well as vinyl and collectibles.

The festival will also feature exhibitions of artwork, antiques, and flea market treasures, as well as a unique collection of more than 30 classic cars. Interactive workshops are planned for an immersive vintage experience, including swing dance classes and a retro-gaming zone.

The event will welcome many Moroccan artists on stage, including Saad Tiouly, Jubantuja, and Retro Cassetta, as well as various jazz, rock and blues groups whose names will be announced soon.


Sara Chraïbi’s designs in Paris

Moroccan designer Sara Chraïbi recently showcased her latest creations at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Her new collection, named "The Earth," was unveiled in a show at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. This collection serves as a poignant homage to Morocco and its people, particularly following the earthquake that affected several regions of the kingdom last September.

As a regular at this prestigious event, Chraïbi chose to highlight her deep connection to her homeland through this collection. She presented creations that celebrate the resilience and beauty of Morocco, through warm colors and Atlas melodies. Her previous collections in Paris were more focused on celestial themes, but this time, she wished to showcase her Moroccan roots.


World African Culture Day in Rabat

The Mohammed VI Foundation for the Promotion of Social Works of Education-Training, in partnership with the Iklyle Rabat Cultural Center and the Africa Women's Forum, will celebrate World African Culture Day on January 24th in Rabat. The event will feature a series of conferences and artistic showcases, highlighting the diverse and rich African culture and addressing the increasing challenges it faces. Recognized by UNESCO and celebrated annually on January 24th, the day is dedicated to promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity worldwide, emphasizing the significance of African culture as a vital part of our shared global heritage. The celebration will also reaffirm the strong cultural ties between Morocco and other African countries, as well as Morocco's commitment to African unity.


Ahlam Lemseffer: A Universe of Colors and Shapes at the French Institute of Tangier

The exhibition entitled “Bleu” (blue) by visual artist Ahlam Lemseffer is held at the Galerie Delacroix of the French Institute of Tangier. After a notable solo intervention at the Artothèque gallery in Casablanca, Ahlam Lemseffer presents this exhibition which marks his return.

Ahlam Lemseffer is considered an influential artist of her generation. His work is done in various mediums, including painting, sculpture and installation. His artistic research explores shapes, spaces and colors, questioning the interdependence between flatness and spatiality. She has received several distinctions, including a decoration from the French Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters.

The exhibition is open from January 20 to March 20, 2024, with an opening taking place on Saturday January 20 at 7:30 p.m.


Essaouira - The City of the Wind

The photographic exhibition by the Spanish writer and journalist Iban Gorriti, titled "Essaouira - Haize Uria" (Essaouira - The City of the Wind), is open from January 16 to February 18. This event features two distinct parts. The first part showcases a series of twelve black and white portraits capturing individuals from the High Atlas, including the author's own children, establishing an emotional link between the author's Basque identity and the Amazigh culture. The second part reveals twenty photographs that trace Gorriti's twenty years of life in Morocco. These works, printed on special textured paper, aim to evoke memories and sensations related to his travels in Morocco, both past and present. Gorriti seeks to create a distinct universe through his photographs, characterized by a cohesive aesthetic and a sense of nostalgia. The images, mostly captured outdoors, are presented in large format and in black and white technique, enriched with color textures to evoke dreamlike emotions and memories. This retrospective is also a tribute to the city of Essaouira, the generosity of its inhabitants, and the union of cultures and languages. Gorriti emphasizes the deep connection that binds the inhabitants of the city, despite linguistic and cultural barriers, and celebrates the city for its unique ambiance, marked by trade winds, daily conversations by the port, and the constant presence of the Atlantic Ocean.


The Rise of Tunisian Cinema: ‘Forsaken’, the New Short Film by Aziz Shennawy Scheduled for 2024

"Forsaken", the upcoming short film by Aziz Shennawy, is set for release in 2024. Delving into themes of isolation and alienation within modern society, the film marks a significant contribution to the burgeoning Tunisian film industry. Shennawy, renowned for his distinctive approach and previous works, employs powerful visual storytelling and innovative cinematographic techniques to weave this poignant tale. The anticipation for "Forsaken" is high among cinema enthusiasts, both in Tunisia and globally, highlighting the evolution and growth of Tunisian cinema on the world stage.


Francophonie Summit 2024: A Festival Celebrating Diversity and Dialogue

In 2024, the Francophonie Summit will be held in Tunisia, marking a significant moment for the promotion of the French language and Francophone values. This summit, titled "Reinventing the World," will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss global challenges and strengthen their connections through cultural and linguistic sharing.

The Francophonie festival, accompanying the summit, will offer a platform for Francophone artists, writers, and thinkers. This cultural celebration will highlight the diversity and richness of the French language through various artistic and literary activities. Participants of the summit will be able to enjoy an immersive experience, enhancing their understanding of Francophone cultures and the global issues addressed.


"My First Doc" Embraces the Digital Era

The documentary festival "My First Doc" will transition to a digital format in 2024, adapting to the changing media consumption landscape. Dedicated to showcasing first-time documentary works, the festival aims to support young filmmakers and promote cultural diversity. This digital move will enable broader access and increased flexibility for global audiences. The film selection will highlight a variety of subjects, showcasing the unique perspectives and stories of young directors. The focus will be on quality and originality, providing a platform for new and diverse voices in documentary filmmaking.


Cinematic Symphony Evening with the Carthage Symphony Orchestra

On February 24, 2024, the Municipal Theater of Tunis will host a special evening organized by the Carthage Symphony Orchestra (CSO), entitled "Film Music Concert." This evening promises to captivate the audience with enchanting melodies that delve into the heart of cinema and symphonic music.

Music enthusiasts will have the opportunity to rediscover iconic film music titles, brilliantly performed by the musicians and choristers of the CSO. The repertoire will include works by John Williams, the famous American conductor and pianist, Hans Zimmer, the renowned German-American film music composer, and Ennio Morricone, the legendary Italian composer, among other great names. The concert will be conducted by Hafedh Makni and Mourad Gaâloul, respectively conductor and choir master.

This evening promises to be a tribute to the great compositions that have marked the history of cinema, offering an immersive experience where music and image meet to revive cinematic memories and emotions.


Tribute to Lassaâd Mehouachi at the Carthage Puppet Arts Days 2024

The fifth edition of the Carthage Puppet Arts Days (JAMC), scheduled for February 3-10, 2024, will pay tribute to Lassaâd Mehouachi, a Tunisian puppet artist who passed away on September 8, 2023. Mehouachi, known for his significant contribution to puppetry in Tunisia and the Arab world, joined the National Centre for Puppet Art in 1993. He directed several major theatrical works for children and created a vast collection of puppets. His notable plays include "I am Cinderella", "The Costume", and "The Dinosaurs". His creations have been awarded at various national and international festivals, notably in Malaysia and Egypt. His last work, "Blackout", an adult play, was produced by the National Centre for Puppet Art and directed by Mounir Argui.

Preparations for the fifth anniversary of this unique festival in Tunisia were discussed in a working session chaired by the Minister of Cultural Affairs Hayet Guettat Guermazi. The festival will see the participation of 17 Arab and European countries and over 100 puppeteers from around the world. As part of these preparations, the National Centre for Puppet Art hosted the Portuguese company S.A.Marionetas for a 15-day artistic residency. The aim of this residency was to create giant puppets inspired by historical characters from the Portuguese company's shows, under the direction of master puppeteer José Manuel Valbom Gil. This collaboration offered a unique fusion of expertise and creativity, resulting in the creation of giant puppets manipulable by several participants.


Taekwondo Throne Cup 2022/2023

The Casablanca-Settat (men) and Rabat-Salé-Kénitra (women) leagues were crowned champions of the Taekwondo Throne Cup, the final competitions of which took place in Laâyoune between January 19 and 21.


Death of Abbès Jirari

The funeral of the former King's Advisor, Abbes Jirari, took place on Sunday in Rabat. He has held several academic and scientific positions. He was notably a member of the Academy of the Kingdom, professor at the Faculties of Letters in Fez, Meknes and Rabat, professor at the Royal College, and Dean of the Faculty of Letters at the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech. He had also held the positions Chargé de Mission in the Royal Cabinet, Secretary of Foreign Affairs at the Moroccan Embassy in Cairo in 1962, President of the Ulema Council of Rabat-Salé (1994) and Khatib of the Lalla Soukaina mosque in Rabat in 1989.


Women's football: The U20 national team qualified for the 2024 World Cup

The Moroccan U20 women's football team has qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup (Colombia-2024), despite its defeat (0-1) against its Ethiopian counterpart. This is the first qualification of the U20 women's national team for a World Cup.


Moroccan Flavors Captivate at Berlin Green Week

The 88th edition of the International Green Week in Berlin, which was held from January 19 to 28, 2024, was marked by a notable presence of the Moroccan pavilion. Organized by the Autonomous Establishment for Export Control and Coordination (Morocco FoodEx) under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, this participation attracted a large number of visitors , particularly Germans, seduced by the richness and diversity of Moroccan local products.

The pavilion, with an area of ​​623m², exhibited various local products such as olive oil, argan oil, saffron, spices, dates, couscous, etc. The visitors and professionals present had expressed their admiration for the authenticity of Moroccan products. Moroccan culinary art, highlighted from the first days of the event, allowed us to discover its multiple flavors.

The objective of this participation was to promote Moroccan agri-food products, and to strengthen exports in the international circuit. The Berlin International Green Week, established in 1926, is one of the world's largest gatherings dedicated to food, agriculture and horticulture, bringing together consumers, decision-makers, distributors and researchers in agricultural innovation. This year's edition saw the presence of more than 1,400 exhibitors from sixty countries over an area of ​​118,000 m², with an estimate of more than 300,000 visitors.

Appel à candidatures

Ali Maâchi President's Award Opens for Young Algerian Creators

The Algerian Ministry of Culture and Arts has announced the opening of applications for the "Prix du Président de la République pour les jeunes créateurs Ali Maâchi."

This prestigious award, named after the renowned Algerian composer Ali Maâchi, aims to recognize and encourage young Algerian creators in various artistic fields. The submission period for this year's award is now open and will conclude on April 16, 2024. The competition is open to Algerian creators aged between 18 to 35 years, offering them an opportunity to showcase their talent in categories including writing, music, theater, visual arts, and cinema.

This initiative not only honors the legacy of Ali Maâchi but also promotes the development of contemporary Algerian art and culture.

Detailed information on the conditions of participation and the files to be submitted are available on the ministry's website (

Algeria, Palestine

A Musical Tribute by 150 Algerian Artists for Palestine

A grand concert of solidarity with Palestine was held at the Ibn Zeydoun hall in Riadh El Feth, Algiers, on January 20. This significant event, titled "Al Qods (Jerusalem) in the heart and in the song," featured the participation of more than 150 Algerian artists, showcasing their unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.

The concert was marked by the presence of eminent figures from the Algerian cultural scene, including the renowned singer Noureddine Bechtarzi, the famous interpreter of Chaabi music Kamel Bourdib, the young talent Kenza Morsli, and the celebrated group El Dey. Their performances were a blend of various musical styles, resonating with the theme of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people.

This event, organized by the Office Riadh El Feth (Oref) in collaboration with the Algerian Ministry of Culture, was a vibrant demonstration of cultural unity and political solidarity. The Algerian artists, through their art, expressed a strong message of support and fraternity towards the Palestinian people, echoing the sentiments of the entire Algerian nation.


Festival of Tunisian Music

The 22nd edition of the Tunisian Song Festival will be held from March 20 to 23, 2024 in Tunis, announced the National Establishment for the Promotion of Festivals and Cultural Events.

Organized in partnership with the Théâtre de l'Opéra, the Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music-Ennejma Ezzahra and the Directorate of Music and Dance, under the supervision of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, this edition of the Festival will pay tribute to the resistance Palestinian.


Reopening of the old cathedral of Carthage

Closed for three years, the former Saint-Louis de Carthage cathedral should open on a partial and temporary basis at the end of January 2024. It is the Ministry of Cultural Affairs which took the initiative for this reopening which does not concern only part of the cathedral since the apse area will be inaccessible to the public.

Restoration work on the cathedral continues at present while the Carthage museum is also undergoing renovation and an inventory of its collections.


"Who Do I Belong To" in Competition at Berlinale 2024

The Tunisian film "Who Do I Belong To" ("Mé el Aïn"), directed by Meryam Joobeur, has been selected for the official competition of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), taking place from February 15 to 25, 2024, in Germany. This 120-minute drama, written and directed by the Tunisia-born Canadian resident Meryam Joobeur, is a co-production between Tunisia, Canada, France, and Qatar. The film narrates the story of Aicha, a Tunisian mother with prophetic dreams, living in a rural farm with her husband Brahim and their three sons. Their life is upended after their two eldest sons leave for war. The cast includes Salha Nasraoui, Mohamed Hassine Grayaa, Malek Mechergui, Adam Bessa, and Dea Liane. Meryam Joobeur is known for her short films like "Gods, Weeds and Revolutions" (2012), "Born in the Maelstrom" (2017), and "Brotherhood" (2018), the latter being nominated for the 2020 Oscars and winning 75 international awards. This year's Berlinale will feature 20 films in competition for the Golden and Silver Bears, including two feature debuts and two documentaries, with productions from 30 countries. Lupita Nyong'o, the Oscar-winning Kenyan actress, is the president of the international jury.


35 Roman Archaeological Pieces Join the Abdelmadjid Meziane Museum in Chlef

On January 22, 2024, the Directorate of Culture and Arts of Médéa handed over 35 Roman-era archaeological pieces to the "Abdelmadjid Meziane" National Public Museum in Chlef. This transfer, authorized by the supervising ministry, aligns with the law on cultural heritage protection. The artifacts, found at the Saneg site in Medea, include mills, a large "Dolia" jar for cereal storage, terracotta objects, and epitaphs.

Mahmoud Hasnaoui, the Director of Culture in Chlef, emphasized that these items were preserved and stored following existing standards and will be studied and reported on before joining the museum's exhibition collections. Faiza Benallal, the Director of the Chlef Museum, appreciated this operation, showcasing the coordination between the country's museum institutions for archaeological discoveries' protection.

The "Abdelmadjid Meziane" Museum houses various archaeological collections, including clay objects, pottery, coins, and pieces from prehistoric times, the Roman era, Islamic civilization, Ottoman period, and colonial Algeria. Rehabilitation efforts are underway to enhance the museum's appeal and expand its offerings.

Jordanie, Maroc, Oman, Syrie

The Third Edition of the Pan-Arab University Beach Games

The Kingdom of Morocco has been chosen to host the third edition of the Pan-Arab University Beach Games, scheduled for next April. This decision was taken during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Arab University Sports Union in Abu Dhabi.

The event reflects the committee’s ongoing commitment to providing high-level sporting opportunities for students, thus contributing to the enrichment of the academic component.

Furthermore, Jordan will organize the university taekwondo championship in September, while Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates will respectively host the university basketball championship in November and the 3rd Zayed indoor football championship in December.

For the year 2025, the approved program includes several championships, including beach volleyball in Oman in February and table tennis in Syria in September. These initiatives mark a qualitative change in the way the Union works, with the adoption of the annual organization of competitions in different countries, thus strengthening the bonds of cooperation, fraternity and the values ​​of fair competition.

Plastic ArtsObituaries

Death of Arezki El Arbi

The Algerian artist, set designer, and filmmaker Arezki El Arbi passed away on Saturday at the age of 69. Born in 1955 in Bouira, Arezki El Arbi was renowned for his diverse artistic creations. He began his career in the 1980s as a plastic artist and later branched into theater and cinema, amassing over 40 years of experience in the field.

In 1982, he graduated from the Algiers School of Fine Arts and participated in various individual and collective exhibitions in Algeria and abroad. In the 1990s, he went to France for advanced training in plastic arts before returning to Algeria, where he worked with the press as a cartoonist.

Starting in 1995, Arezki El Arbi moved into scenography, contributing to several theatrical works. He also took part in designing sets and costumes for multiple feature films. Arezki El Arbi's death marks a significant loss to the Algerian artistic community.

Plastic ArtsObituaries

"Batata" by Nora Kevorkian

Noura Kevorkian's documentary "Batata" delicately and poetically addresses the complex issue of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The film follows the life of Maria, a charismatic woman living in a refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley. Dreaming of returning to Syria, Maria continues to work in the fields and care for her family amidst uncertain times. The film portrays the challenges and hopes of Syrian agricultural workers, providing a human perspective on a complex political subject.

The film, transcending politics, is a feminist work that celebrates Maria's unique personality, strength, and independence. "Batata" has been acclaimed for its cinematography and has won several awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award, Amnesty Award, Human Rights Award, Best Film at Fipadoc, and accolades at the Carthage and Malmö festivals. It was even considered for the 2024 Oscars.

Kevorkian, with her Lebanese Armenian and Syrian heritage, is passionate about sharing human stories and the impact of wars on individuals. Her work is marked by a sensitivity to the human condition and a respectful approach to the subjects she covers.


Beirut: « We3itéh ? »

In Beirut, the play "We3itéh?" (Did You Wake Up?) is being showcased at District 7 from January 19th to February 11th. Written, directed, and performed by Ziad Najjar, the play offers a multifaceted narrative mirroring its characters, spanning over fifty minutes. It delves into Lebanon’s civil war, the ongoing economic crisis, and the Beirut port explosion.

Ziad Najjar, born in 1982, pursued film studies at ALBA and began his career under the tutelage of his father, Marwan Najjar, a renowned Lebanese scriptwriter, director, and creator of plays and sitcoms. Starting as a stage manager and theatre producer, he ventured into directing TV films, including noteworthy works like "Sabet We Nabet" on Al-Jadeed channel, "3ayléh mat3oub A3laya" on MTV, and "Wassiyat Ab" on Al-Manar channel. After a stint behind the camera in Saudi Arabia, Najjar collaborated with several producers before venturing into theatre and cinema.


Controversy: Genuine mosaics or imitations?

Lebanese antiquities collector Georges Lotfi has an arrest warrant issued by Interpol for June 2023. Lotfi is accused of illegally transporting 24 antique pieces from Syria and Lebanon to the United States, including mosaics attributed to Lebanon. Experts such as archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis and lecturer Djamila Fellague have stated that some of the mosaics seized are simple forgeries, easily identifiable as such even by non-experts.

These mosaics were due to be returned to Lebanon by the United States, but their authenticity is in doubt as they appear to be copies of famous works, identifiable thanks to photos available online. Djamila Fellague conducted comparative iconographic research and identified originals in Italy, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey.

The New York district attorney accused Lotfi of illegally transporting these pieces in 1988. However, the American investigators base their case on five main arguments, omitting the evidence provided by the study of the mosaics themselves.

The Guardiane newspaper reported that art experts have validated the authenticity of the pieces, but the Lebanese authorities are waiting to examine them themselves before judging their authenticity. The return of the pieces is under way, and they will be the subject of an in-depth scientific study when they arrive.


Thirtieth al-Bustan Festival

"Against all odds" is the motto of this thirtieth - and yes, already - edition, taking place from 21 February to 17 March. The festival is directed by Myrna Boustani and her vice-president, Laura Lahoud. The programme includes fifteen concerts and a tribute to Puccini to commemorate the centenary of his death.

For full details of the programme, visit


"Arrabat Beirut" - The Alluring World of 1960s Beirut

"Arrabat Beirut" or "The Godmother of Beirut," a new series from Shahid, takes viewers back to the 1960s Beirut, often referred to as the city's golden era, whether mythical or real. The series revolves around the captivating world of Old Beirut, a cabaret brimming with glamour, sex, and alcohol, frequented by the city's elite. The cabaret's manager, Madame Juliette, not only oversees the establishment but also guards the secrets of its patrons. However, beneath the glitter and seductive charm of her showgirls lies a personal secret that threatens to topple her entire empire.

The 10-episode series, produced by Eagle Films, is penned by Mazen Taha and Nour Chichakli and directed by Philippe Asmar.


"Creative and Cultural Industries: A Focus on Cinema and Culture Financing in Casablanca"

In Casablanca, the Federation of Cultural and Creative Industries, in partnership with the Wallonia-Brussels General Delegation in Morocco, organized two days of study on January 24th and 25th. These sessions were dedicated to "Cinema and Audiovisual Co-production: Ambitions and Opportunities" and "Financing of Culture: Challenges, Methods, and Perspectives."

The event primarily focused on the cinematic and audiovisual relationships between Morocco and Belgium. It also addressed the current challenges facing the seventh art, exploring the dynamics of co-production and the various aspects of cultural financing. These discussions aimed at enhancing collaboration and identifying opportunities and methods for supporting and developing the creative industries.


Agadir Ida-Outanane crafts fair

More than 60 exhibitors are taking part in the Agadir Ida-Outanane prefecture's crafts fair, which is being held until 25 January at the initiative of the Souss-Massa Regional Chamber of Crafts.

Several regions are taking part, including Fès-Meknès, Guelmim-Oued Noun, Béni Mellal-Khénifra, Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra and Rabat-Salé-Kénitra.

The exhibition is organised as part of the implementation of the partnership agreement between the Wilaya of Souss-Massa, the Souss-Massa region, the Souss-Massa Regional Chamber of Crafts and the Regional Department of Crafts and the Social and Solidarity Economy.


Oud Bila Houdoud in Beit Tabaris

The Oud bila houdoud (Oud without borders) trio is giving a concert in Beit Tabaris at the start of the new year, on Thursday 25 January at the Saint Maron church in Gemayzé. Most of the music is composed by Samir Nasr Eddine, combining Eastern and Western inspirations.

Oud Bila Houdoud is made up of three musicians: Samir Nasr Eddine (oud), Jack Stephan (double bass) and Bahaa Daou (percussion).


Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania, 46, makes history

Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania, 46, makes history as the first Arab woman to receive two Oscar nominations in a decade. Her latest work, "Four Daughters", a docu-fiction hybrid, has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film at the 2024 Academy Awards. The film chronicles the journey of Olfa Hamrouni and her daughters Rahma and Ghofrane who join an extremist group in Libya, with Tunisian actress Hend Sabry portraying Hamrouni in re-enactment scenes. Ben Hania's previous nomination came in 2021 for "The Man Who Sold His Skin".

The film, which follows the story of Olfa Hamrouni and her two daughters who join the Islamic State in Libya, has won a string of awards, including "L'Oeil d'or" at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

Other Arab women directors nominated for Oscars include Palestinian filmmaker Farah Al Nabulsi for "The Present" in 2021 in the Best Short Film category, and Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, nominated for Best International Feature Film in 2019 for "Capharnaum".

Maghreb, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia

Next Christie's sale focuses on North Africa

Christie's new sales exhibition in Paris, entitled "Spectres Visibles", features works by artists from the Maghreb and its diaspora, exploring themes such as belonging, migration and cultural decolonisation.

From 27 January to 11 February, the exhibition highlights the rich artistic continuum of North African art. The 40 works by 23 artists include modern figures such as Mohamed Melehi, Ahmed Cherkaoui and Hatem El Mekki, as well as contemporary artists such as Nadia Ayari, Malika Agueznay and Rachid Koraichi.

The exhibition, organised in collaboration with several galleries, aims to celebrate and visually decolonise North African artistic language, showing its global influences and resonances.

A round table discussion on the trajectory and influence of North African art will be held at 9 Avenue Matignon, Paris 8e, on 1 February, with artists Bouchichi, Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Masinissa Selmani.

United Arab Emirates

Establishment of the Abu Dhabi Heritage Authority

President Sheikh Mohamed, in his capacity as Sovereign of Abu Dhabi, has promulgated a law creating the Abu Dhabi Heritage Authority, which will have the following tasks:

  • developing strategies to preserve Emirati heritage and traditions;
  • promoting traditional and national identity values; documenting heritage practices;
  • conducting studies and research into literature and traditions
  • documentation of Emirati initiatives in the Nabati language and classical Arabic poetry, historical studies and publications focusing on the Emirate's oral history
  • organising festivals, exhibitions and heritage programmes inside and outside the Emirate.

The Abu Dhabi Heritage Authority replaces two institutions: the Emirates Heritage Club and the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee.

United Arab Emirates, Palestine

Artists for Peace – Shadow Ban This!

In response to the international paralysis and inaction surrounding the tragedy unfolding in Gaza, many artists are taking action. "Artists for Peace - Shadow Ban This" is part of this movement, with a first initiative last November in Dubai, on Alserkal Avenue at the Fridge, and a second on 21 January. Around twenty artists performed to raise funds for various NGOs helping victims in Gaza, Sudan, Congo and Armenia. Mural paintings, concerts, dances... all artistic forms were welcome. The festival featured film-maker Rahmeh Alhyari ("Voices from Gaza"), as well as musicians Abri, Noon and Amjad Shakir. Nima Elnour, Enas Suleiman and Yusra Yussif read poetry with an Armenian music group.

Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Palestine

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature: the must-sees

Now in its 16th year, the festival will run from 31 January to 6 February at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City. A special tribute will be paid to the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwich.

These include Egyptian novelist Miral Al Tahawy, whose novel 'Tales from the City of the Rising Sun' has been shortlisted for the 2023 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and whose autobiographical novel "Brooklyn Heights" won the 2010 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature. Award-winning Egyptian poet and Prince of Poets TV finalist Ahmed Bakheet will also take to the stage, while the first figure skater from the UAE and the region to compete at world level, Zahra Lari, is set to launch her children's book "Not Yet: The Story of an Unstoppable Skater".

Arab authors returning to the festival include Kuwaiti novelist Saud Alsanoussi, winner of the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his novel 'The Bamboo Stem', and Emirati author and poet Ali Abu Al Reesh, best known for his novel 'The Confession'.

Now that the programme has been unveiled, here are a few sessions you won't want to miss!

2 February: Mai Al-Nakib, a Kuwaiti author who recently published "An Unfast Home" and "Now You See Us". Both novels deal with the marginalisation of women, including the subject of "kafala" in "Now You See Us".

On 3 February: a tribute to Mahmoud Darwich, with Palestinian poet Dana Dajani, accompanied by musician Ammar Ashkar and actor Jad Hakawati.

On 4 February: a meeting with Egyptian novelists and graphic designers Malaka Gharib, winner of the Arab American Book Award in 2020 and author of "It Won't Always Be Like This", and Deena Mohamed, author of the award-winning graphic novel "Shibeik Lubeik".

More info at


Death of Hussein Madi

The Mark Hachem Gallery in Beirut, which has represented the artist for over 10 years, has announced the death of the celebrated multidisciplinary artist. Madi was an important cultural figure in Lebanon and the region, working in several media, including sculpture, painting and printmaking. A master of Islamic art, he was also inspired by European figures such as Picasso and Matisse. Madi's art has been exhibited worldwide, throughout the Arab region and in France , Italy and Japan , as well as in institutions and festivals such as the British Museum and the Venice Biennale .


Beirut: exhibition by Fadi Yazigi

The exhibition is entitled "No Title". The event by Syrian painter and sculptor Fadi Yazigi at the Tanit gallery, open from 10 January to 16 February, gives visitors no clue or direction, leaving their imagination free to run wild.

The artist's style is often described as a mixture of semi-figurative, expressionist and cubist, with bright colours - reds, greens, blues, etc. - standing out against neutral or coloured backgrounds thanks to the use of black, which the artist always used to detach his silhouettes from the canvas. The paintings show dismembered bodies and haggard, distraught faces. The violence of these works is set against the backdrop of war, suffering and disarray in the Arab world.


Beirut: Abd Kasha's exhibition

Hosted by the Kalim Art Space gallery from 25 to 27 January, the solo exhibition by Syrian painter Abd Kasha is entitled "Safar barlek", presenting characters as if emerging from the earth, gigantic. The idea is to depict characters who, despite their daily decisions and tribulations, remain deeply attached to their land, their homeland, their country.

Abd Kasha was born in Syria in 1997. He grew up in a family of artists. He graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Latakia in 2020. His first solo exhibition took place in Damascus in 2022, and his second was held in Beirut at the Kalim Art Space gallery in 2023. His work is included in group exhibitions in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.


Doha : « Introspection as Resistance »

Mehdi Moutashar's first exhibition, Introspection as Resistence, is on show at the Mathaf until 4 May. It presents a constellation of new and existing works by the artist, in a wide variety of media, demonstrating how his conceptual practice links contemporary art with the heritage of the Arab-Muslim world.

A Franco-Iraqi artist, Mehdi Moutashar (born in 1943) plays with the concept of the square and its grammar. He situates his work between "the arts of Islam and the geometric arts of the West". He lives and works in Arles, and taught at the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris from 1974 to 2008.

Arab World, Egypt

2024 Cairo International Book Fair

The 55th Cairo International Book Fair is scheduled from January 26th to February 6th, 2024 at the Egypt International Exhibition Center in New Cairo. As the largest and oldest book fair in the MENA region, established in 1969, it serves as a hub for Arab authors, publishers, and storytellers. This year's fair features 550 events, 5,250 exhibitors, with Norway as the guest country.

Visitors will find a diverse range of Arabic, English, and international books, including a significant collection of Islamic books and educational materials for children. The entry ticket costs EGP 5 (about USD 0.16), granting access to the fair and all public events. The fair plays a pivotal role in promoting Arabic literature globally, contributing to the field of translation and cultural exchange. It hosts seminars, lectures, art exhibitions, and fosters global dialogue among writers and scholars, promoting cross-cultural understanding​​​​​​.


Cultural Club of Oman Launches Literary Translation Award

The Cultural Club of Oman, located in Qurum, launched the Literary Translation Award on the evening of January 22nd. The event was attended by Dr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Balushi, the club's board chairman, along with board members and translation enthusiasts. The award aims to encourage Omani translators to actively contribute to translation in the Arab world, highlight the creative skills of Omani translators, and enrich the Arab library with globally translated works. Entry criteria stipulate that translations should be into Arabic, published in book form within the past five years, and not have previously won a translation award. The Cultural Club set May 31st as the deadline for submissions.

A discussion session on translation in Oman was held alongside the award launch, featuring Dr. Khaled Al Balushi, Dr. Nasser Al Badri, and Azhar Al Harthiya, and moderated by journalist Hilal Al Badi. The session covered various topics related to translation and its development in the Sultanate of Oman.

Oman, Palestine

The Joubran Trio at the Sultanate Opera House in Muscat: A Celebration of Palestinian Identity

The Sultanate Opera House in Muscat is set to host the Joubran Trio, a prominent Palestinian group celebrated for their efforts in affirming Palestinian identity through music. The Joubran brothers, Samir (born 1973), Wissam (born 1983), and Adnan (born 1985), natives of Nazareth, inherited their artistic inclination from their father, a renowned oud maker. Despite their extended stay in Paris, they carried their artistic message globally, highlighting the Palestinian issue.

The Joubran Trio will perform at the Sultanate Opera House on the 2nd and 3rd of February. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to support the Palestinian people in coordination with the Omani Charitable Organization, in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.


Study on the Works of Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri

Researcher Dr. Ghazlan Hashimi delves into the works of Egyptian thinker Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri (1938-2008) in her study "Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri: From Dismantling Centralities to Establishing Islamic Modernity.. A Reading of Boundaries and Achievements". Released by Dar Ilyaa for Publishing and Distribution in Algeria, the book investigates the idea of bias in Masiri's works, reflecting the ideological view of the other and their desire for dominance.

The research aims to scrutinize Masiri's intellectual project, his contributions, intellectual and critical references. Hashimi points out that Masiri effectively used deconstructive data in approaching intellectual texts, yet he couldn't liberate himself from Western reference, employing Western methodological tools in his various readings of the Western and Zionist mind. The book is structured into four chapters with titles such as "The Issue of Bias from Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri's Perspective", "Human Constants in Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri's Critical and Literary Reading", "Identity Discourse in Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri's Writings", and "Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri: Methodology, Analytical Tools, and Intellectual Transformations".

Dr. Ghazlan Hashimi, the book's author, is a critic and lecturer in the Arabic Language and Literature Department at the University Mohammed Cherif Messaadia in Souk Ahras, Algeria, and heads the Department of Literary and Intellectual Studies at the GIL Scientific Research Center, as well as the editor-in-chief of the international journal "GIL of Literary and Intellectual Studies".

Arab World, Turkey

The Islamic Research Center in Istanbul

The Islamic Research Center in Istanbul, affiliated with religious foundations, plays a pivotal role in spreading Islamic culture. This center attracts top scholars and experts for studies and research on various contemporary issues. Its library, one of the most extensive, has a digital database of all theses and dissertations from Sharia faculties in Turkish universities and Ottoman-era documents. The center also maintains a database on the Ottoman State's "Salnamats," annual summaries of significant administrative and military events.

Fatih Aydin Alp, the center's media officer, highlights that the center offers various services to academics, postgraduate students, and foreign researchers. The center's most significant project is the "Islamic Encyclopedia," consisting of 44 volumes, rich in documents and insights on Islamic sciences, philosophy, literature, languages of Islamic peoples, and other aspects related to Islamic culture and civilization. This encyclopedia is a crucial reference for researchers.

Iraq, Palestine

Support for the Palestinian Cause: An Art Exhibition in Iraq

The art exhibition organized by the Department of Public Arts at the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities, in collaboration with the Women's Empowerment Departments and the Iraqi Media Network, showcased the support of Iraqi women for their counterparts in Gaza. Coinciding with Baghdad being named the Arab Women's Capital in 2023, the exhibition was held with the presence of Ali Owaid Al-Abadi, Director General of the Department of Public Arts, and Fadhel Al-Badrani, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture.

Over sixty artists demonstrated their human conscience toward Palestine through their artworks. The exhibition highlighted the severe violations and sufferings endured by Palestinian women and people, including killings, displacements, and exterminations. Ali Owaid Al-Abadi emphasized the Ministry's moral and humanitarian duty to support the Palestinian people. Contributions from Nada Al-Jubouri, former MP and director of the Iraqi Women and Future Organization, and artists Sarab Ibrahim and Ali Kadhim, added depth to the exhibition's message.

Lebanon, Palestine

An emotional concert by soprano Ghada Ghanem

Accompanied by Samah Abi El Mona on accordion, Makram Abou El Hassan on double bass, Joelle Dibbs on oud, and Liban Aoun on percussion, Ghanem paid tribute to Gaza from wounded Beirut. The event, held at the City Theater in collaboration with the Nabu Museum, directed its proceeds to the Ghassan Abou Sitta Fund for Children. Ghanem, acting as a heritage scholar and anthropologist, performed songs that conveyed the pain, anger, and despair in Gaza, also highlighting truths often overshadowed by biased media.

The event also featured a performance by French soprano Julie Fuchs and other international artists, despite some security concerns. The evening emphasized solidarity with Palestine and served as a message of hope and peace. I took place on January, 21st.

Egypt, Lebanon

"Darb 17 18" in Cairo was demolished

The contemporary art center "Darb 17 18" in Cairo was demolished on January 6, deeply saddening Egyptian culture enthusiasts.

This act is part of a road expansion project, representing another phase in the ongoing destruction of the city's heritage sites. The center's founder, artist Moataz Nasr El Din, expressed his shock and dismay, highlighting that the center had been a sanctuary for artists and craftsmen for over a decade. The demolition occurred without prior notice or compensation, despite earlier government promises. Darb 17 18 was more than just an artistic space; it was a site for preserving the nation's cultural heritage. Critics point out the government's disregard for heritage and history, while Nasr El Din laments the loss of many valuable foreign art pieces.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions
Palestine, Tunisia

A Palestinian Focus in a Collective Exhibition in Tunis

"The Flood and the Tree", featuring seven Palestinian artists, commenced on January 24th at the B7L9 Center in Tunis. The event, set to continue until March 24th, weaves a complex narrative intertwining everyday life with the concept of community, extending beyond the conventional scope of exhibitions. The artworks reflect the varied experiences of Palestinian artists from both the diaspora and occupied territories, delving into critical themes like memory, place, imagination, and daily life perception, spanning across artistic installations, painting, video, photography, and music.

This exhibition depicts the Palestinian people's resilience against hardships, fostering hope for the future. The title, inspired by Palestinian poet Fadwa Touqan's poem, represents endurance amidst adversity. The exhibit raises vital questions about life post-storm: how to remember, mourn, and persist.

Featured artists include Firas Shahadeh, Walid Al-Wawi, Niryian Kyuwan, Dina Nazmi Khourshid, Sara Rashq, Shadi Habib Allah, and "Bint Mubarak".


"Arab Influence in African Culture: A Study by Mohamed Amin Abdel Samad"

Egyptian researcher Mohamed Amin Abdel Samad explores the Arab influence in African culture in his latest book, "Know Your People - Anthropological Studies in African Cultures." The book primarily focuses on the Sultanate of Oman's impact on the East African coast, particularly on Zanzibar Island. The inhabitants of Zanzibar are historically traced back to three primary groups: Arabs, Shirazis, and Bantus, with a minor Indian presence. Notably, the Omani Arabs have been a significant part of the population through various migrations over the centuries for political, tribal, or economic reasons.

The book highlights cultural influences, such as the adoption of the Omani dagger, a symbol of elegance and personality in Oman, now ingrained in Zanzibar's culture. Abdel Samad then shifts his focus to Arab African literature, which uses Arabic to express the concerns of non-Arabic speaking African countries. He probes into the neglect of this literature compared to the profound interest in Arab literature from Al-Andalus, despite similar conditions of production.

Arabic poetry in Senegal, linked to Islamic kingdoms and their schools, emerged as the earliest form of literary expression. Students and poets mirrored ancient Arab poets, leading to a cultural and literary movement in major cities where Arabic was the core language. The poetry primarily focused on traditional themes like praise, pride, satire, and love. The book cites prominent poets in this field, such as Haj Omar Tall al-Futi, Judge Majekhty Kalt, and Haj Malik Sy Ahmad, who contributed significantly to the lyrical emotional poetry in Senegal.


The Spring Culture Festival

The 2024 edition of the Bahrain Spring Culture Festival is set to host a unique musical show, "Oum Kalthoum and the Golden Age," directly from London. Orchestrated by producer and writer Mona Khashoggi, the show had its successful run at London's Palladium.

Scheduled for January 25 and 26, 2024, at the Bahrain National Theater, the show pays tribute to artistic legends like Mohamed El Qasabgi, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Tahiya Karioka, and Oum Kalthoum. Syrian opera singer Lubna Al Quntar will perform Oum Kalthoum's iconic songs, portraying her journey from humble beginnings to becoming the Middle East's star.

The festival, supported by various Bahraini cultural institutions and strategic sponsors like the Bahrain Economic Development Council, will feature Jordanian artist Hani Dehshan, portraying multiple characters including Mohamed El Qasabgi and Mohamed Abdel Wahab.

Algeria, Morocco

Youssef Benhadi breaks the Metropolitaines 10km record

On the selective Saint-Grégoire circuit, Moroccan athelete Youssef Benhadi covered the 10km in 28 minutes 34 seconds. On the women's side, it was Algerian Nawal Yahi who dominated the race, finishing first with a time of 32:54.

Arab World

MENA Film Festival kicks off in Vancouver!

The festival returns to the VIFF Center for the third year running. Celebrate the last five years of the MENA Film Festival from January 27 to February 1 for another week of shorts, features, panels and workshops in support of the arts and the MENA/SWANA experience!

In-person film screenings at VIFF Centre's Vancity and Studio cinemas from 27 January to 1 February 2024.

Some virtual screenings are available across Canada between January 27 and February 11, 2024. Special workshops and screenings are in partnership with the SFU School of Contemporary Art and UBC Middle East Studies.

The full programme can be found on the following link


Angoulème: "L'Arabe du futur, œuvre-monde" exhibition

The exhibition, entitled 'L'Arabe du futur, œuvre-monde' (The Arab of the future, a work of the world), is presented in Angoulême and focuses on the six-volume series 'L'Arabe du futur' (The Arab of the future) by Riad Sattouf, to coincide with the comics festival. This autobiographical series recounts Sattouf's childhood in Syria and Brittany, offering a glimpse into the complex relationship between the East and the West.

Journalist Caroline Broué's conception of the exhibition is based on a multidisciplinary approach, with contributions from a variety of specialists and artists, such as novelist Leïla Slimani and actor Vincent Lacoste, providing diverse perspectives on Sattouf's work. The exhibition itself is an immersion into the spirit of the times and the world of Sattouf, with a reconstruction of his teenage bedroom, personal documents, photos and works that influenced him.

Lebanon, Palestine

Berlin's Berghain cancels Arabian Panther concert due to DJ's pro-Palestinian views

German club Berghain, renowned on the global techno scene, has cancelled a performance by Franco-Lebanese DJ Arabian Panther, due to his pro-Palestinian views. Due to make his Berghain debut, Arabian Panther was informed of the cancellation just before the event. The official reason given was 'renovation work', but the DJ expressed his frustration on Instagram, suspecting political motivations due to his stance on Palestine. Despite attempts at discussion, the club avoided any direct discussion.

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.

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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.

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"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

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"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.

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"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.

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"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.

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"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.