Revue culturelle N°93

The Journal

23 - 11 - 23
Issue for subscribers only.
This week's picture

"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

adam rouhana
Algérie, Liban, Maroc, Yémen, Iran

Rome: the Medfilm Festival

The 29th edition of the MedFilm Festival has come to an end in Rome. It was held from 10 to 19 November in various cultural venues across the city. As well as screenings, the festival is organising a number of conferences on the Mediterranean, including talks by the author Luca Peretti, Paola Scarnati, Antonella Mariani, Lucia Capuzzi and Viviana Daloiso. A selection of some films is hosted on the digital platform.

Among the films from the region in the official feature-length competition were :

  • "Behind the Mountains by Mohamed Ben Attia (Morocco)
  • "The Mother of all Lies" by Asmae El Moudir (Morocco)
  • "Endless Borders" by Abbas Amini (Iran)
  • "The Burdened" by Amr Gamal (Yemen)
  • "Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano" by Cyril Aris (Lebanon)

For the full programme, visit

Up to now, and even though the competition is continuing online, several winners have been chosen:

In the feature film category, the best film award was given to "Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano" by Cyril Aris (Lebanon); and the Special Jury Prize went to "The Burdened" by Amr Gamal (Yemen). The prize for artistic expression went to "The Mother of All Lies" by Moroccan director Asmae El Moudir. The prize for best short film went to "La voix des autres" by Fatima Kaci (Algeria).

The MedFilm Festival is the first festival in Italy dedicated to promoting Mediterranean and European cinema. Created in 1995 to mark the 100th anniversary of cinema and the Barcelona Declaration, it encourages relations, cooperation and the development of the film industry between neighbouring countries.

Digital Art

Culture, Environment, ... Morocco now focuses on digital development

An agreement to implement a programme to strengthen digital talent by 2027 was signed in Rabat, with a view in particular to consolidating and introducing new digital university training courses at all Moroccan public universities.

The agreement, which was launched by the Minister for Digital Transition and Administrative Reform, Ghita Mezzour, the Minister for the Budget, Fouzi Lekjaa, and the Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, Abdellatif Miraoui, emphasises the importance of developing digital skills and talent as the driving force behind the Kingdom's digital transformation.


Moroccan society, days before COP28

Scheduled to take place from 30 November to 23 December in Dubai, COP28 is fast approaching, which explains the current mobilisation of Moroccan environmental players on the eve of the event.

First of all, a meeting to prepare the COP28 was organised in Rabat, on the initiative of Moroccan environmental civil society, represented by the Moroccan Alliance for Climate and Sustainable Development (AMCDD). The aim of the two-day meeting, held under the theme "Climate turmoil: let's make COP28 an opportunity to avoid crossing the tipping point of no return", was to share and discuss recent developments in climate issues and the main concerns of COP28 for Morocco and Africa. The aim was to coordinate initiatives and bring together the various ideas of the participating activist organisations, namely the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the Climate Action Network Arab World (CAN Arab), the AMCDD and IMAL, among others.

A second event has also been organised along the same lines: the Casablanca Climate Leadership Forum 2023. The event takes place on 23 and 24 November on the ESCA campus. It brings together activists, intellectuals and professionals from across the African continent. It is an annual meeting organised by ESCA Ecole de Management in partnership with the Business Schools for Climate Leadership Africa network (BS4CL Africa).

Finally, an urban pilot project has just been launched in Marrakech on the initiative of the renewable energy research, testing and training platform, Green Energy Park, part of the Solar Energy and New Energies Research Institute. The project enables female students enrolled at universities far from Dar Attaliba to enjoy greater freedom of mobility and adapt to changing university timetables thanks to electric motorbikes. As well as being a sustainable mobility solution, this initiative helps to improve the safety of young girls and promote their education in marginalised areas.


Dakhla: Regional Book and Publishing Fair

This 13th edition will take place from 14 to 22 November, again on the initiative of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab Regional Department of Culture, and as part of the celebrations of the Green March and the 68th anniversary of Independence.

With around thirty exhibitors representing national publishing houses and local and national bookshops, the fair's programme includes seminars and workshops for young people.

Arab World, Palestine

Riyadh: Arab-Islamic Summit

Bringing together the leaders of member countries of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia on 12 November, the summit concluded by calling for a "ceasefire in Gaza" and condemning "the Israeli aggression in the enclave" as well as "the barbaric and inhumane war crimes and massacres perpetrated by the occupation government". They all rejected the forced displacement of Palestinians from the enclave to Egypt or from the West Bank to Jordan, and called for an end to arms exports to the Jewish state. They called for a relaunch of the peace process to enable the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Digital ArtFestivals

Casablanca International Video Art Festival

The 29th edition of the festival ended in Casablanca with the announcement of the next guest of honour: Spain. The emphasis will be on digital artistic collaboration between Morocco and Spain, with a focus on Andalusian heritage.

In a MAP statement, Rachid El Hadari, President of the festival and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Ben M'Sik, highlighted the positive results of this year's event, pointing out that over a period of 5 days, the FIAV presented around 11 audiovisual performances, 5 virtual and augmented reality performances, 5 workshops, 4 visual presentations and a scientific conference with the participation of experts in the field.


Agadir: Issni N'Ourgh International Amazigh Film Festival

The festival runs from 7 to 11 December, and this year's edition is breaking new ground with the organisation of an Amazigh film competition and an international competition featuring the screening of some forty films.

The festival will also be the scene of professional and cultural meetings at the Sahara cinema, the Faculty of Languages, Arts and Humanities, and at the new cultural platforms in the Tiznit region, with the aim of raising the profile of various cultural venues and benefiting the economic development of local players.


Rehabilitation of the Essaouira medina

D’après la direction du programme de réhabilitation, ce dernier aurait été complété à plus de 80%. Ayant été lancé en 2019, il arrive à la phase terminale, et ce après avoir mobilisé 300 milions de dirhams autour de quatre axes principaux: la réhabilitation de l’espace urbain, la restauration et la mise en valeur du patrimoine historique, la promotion de l’accès aux services sociaux et le renforcement de l’attractivité touristique et économique de l’ancienne médina d’Essaouira.


Abdelkader Retnani died

The Casablanca-based publisher, who founded La Croisée des Chemins in 1980, died. He was also the founding chairman of the Moroccan Association of Book Professionals and vice-chairman of the CGEM Federation of Cultural and Creative Industries.


Ahmed Herzenni died

The ambassador-at-large and former chairman of the Advisory Council on Human Rights, Ahmed Herzenni, died.


Lifting of visa restrictions between Morocco and France

Since September 2021, France had decided to halve the number of visas granted to Moroccan and Algerian citizens, and to reduce those granted to Tunisians by 30%.

France's ambassador to Morocco, Christophe Lecourtier, recently declared that all restrictions on the issue of visas had been lifted, but stressed that it would still take "time to erase these humiliations".


"Treasures of traditional Moroccan arts"

The first edition of the "Treasures of Traditional Moroccan Arts" training programme was launched on 16 November in Rabat by the Ministry of Tourism, Crafts and the Social Solidarity Economy and UNESCO.

The aim of this five-year programme is to guarantee the transmission of know-how related to craft trades. The plan includes a training cycle in no fewer than 32 trades with a strong cultural component. This first edition of the programme will focus on 6 crafts: zellige from Tétouan, embroidered saddles, Oujdiya blouza, tent weaving, the manufacture of inlaid fabrics, and the production of a wide range of handicrafts.


"Andalusian routes in Rabat and Salé"

This project involves organising visits to the main historic monuments dating back to the Andalusian period, in the cities of Rabat and Salé, with the participation of heritage specialists, academics and research students, in order to promote Andalusian heritage.

These guided tours, which will begin in March, will provide an opportunity to discover the historical and cultural legacy that has united the two banks of the Bouregreg for centuries, and to highlight the great historical period that has so strongly marked the culture, traditions and way of life of the two cities.


The Abu Dhabi Centre's Sard Addahab Prize

Three Moroccans won the 2023 prize.

Abderrahim Salili won the prize in the short story category for unpublished narrative works, for his story "Tremblement de terre" (Earthquake), which recounts the Al-Haouz earthquake.

The writer Houda Achamachi also won the prize in the same category for her "Elégie du parfum et de la mer", which deals with the expulsion from the Andalusia of yesteryear and the secret migration to the Spain of today.

In the narrator category, the prize was awarded to Najima Tay Ghozali, who, in her narration of inherited tales, preserves the language of the original tale and presents it in a style that builds on suspense compatible with the atmosphere of the tale, thus showing through her way of presenting and choosing tales her concern to preserve this heritage and present it in a new and modern way that responds to the contemporary audience.


Oujda: International Theatre Festival

From 14 to 19 November, the Mohammed VI Theatre in Oujda will be hosting the 14th edition of its international theatre festival, the theme of which is "Theatre brings us together". The event will also see the participation of troupes from Spain, Belgium, France and Switzerland, which is the guest of honour at the 2023 edition.


Brussels International Film Festival

The festival's Grand Prize was won by "Les Meutes" by Kamel Lazrag (Morocco). The prize for best short film went to Kahina Ben Amar for "Sur la Touche" (Algeria). Finally, the Best Actress prize went to Lydia Larini for her role in "La vie d'après" by Anis Djaad (Algeria), and the Best Actor prize went to Mohammed Khouti for his performance in "Sahara Slem Wesaa" by Moulay Taieb Bouhanana (Morocco).


Tangier: the National Museums Foundation inaugurates two exhibitions

The exhibitions are hosted by the Kasbah and Dar Niaba museums, and the inauguration of the two events was attended by FNM president Mehdi Qotbi, as well as Jack Lang, president of the Arab World Institute in Paris, Christophe Lecourtier, the French ambassador to Morocco, and Abdelaziz El Idrissi, director of the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The first exhibition is entitled "Arab Modernities". Enriched by the recent major donation from Claude & France Lemand, this remarkable selection of works from the IMA museum is being presented for the first time at another institution. It presents a rich panorama of the avant-garde and plural modernities of the countries of the Arab world from 1945 to the present day, with a majority of paintings but also sculptures, photographs and graphic works.

Sixteen Arab countries are represented in the exhibition: Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen.

The event is divided into four parts:

"An Arab world in the mirror: the sources of inspiring traditions": this first part looks at the reappropriation by Arab artists of their heritage, free from all Western influences. Artists from the Mashreq and then the Maghreb are reinvesting their pre-Islamic heritage: rock art in Algeria, Mesopotamian art in Iraq, Pharaonic art in Egypt, Nabataean art in Jordan and Roman art in Lebanon. Ancient civilisations and archaeological remains are inspiring artists, some of them experts themselves (Adam Henein and Dia Al Azzawi).

"Plural territories of abstraction: national and international statements": this second part focuses on abstract art in the Arab world from the 1960s onwards, which draws on popular forms (tattoos, talismans, graffiti, etc.).

"Between bruises and hopes, the weight of History": this third part tackles art and the Arab world facing the rise of nationalism and socialism in a context of Cold War and decolonization. Lebanese, Sudanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian artists bear witness to totalitarianism, civil wars, terrorism and exile.

"And tomorrow? A human condition on the move": the exhibition concludes with the reappropriation of the body through plastic arts in an Arab world which integrates nudes in its art. The human condition, introspection and existential questioning are recurring themes for many artists: Lebanese Paul Guiragossian, Syrian Marwan and Moroccan Mahi Binebine.

The second exhibition at Dar Niaba showcases the collection donated by Didier Sentis de Montoussy, which includes Orientalist paintings and Islamic art.

Photo: "Composition", Dia Azzawi, 1986. Copyrights IMA Museum.

Arab World

Abu Dhabi: World Media Congress

The second edition of the World Media Congress has begun in the United Arab Emirates, and 172 countries take part in it. It aims to highlight the role of the media in the fields of sustainability, innovation and education, with a particular focus on young people, notably through the participation of students from around a hundred universities. The conference closes on 16 November.


Agadir: International Festival of Cinema and Migration

This is the 19th edition of the festival organised by the association "L'initiative culturelle", which closes on 18 November. The guest country is Belgium, and the festival is offering two cycles of screenings: one dedicated to Driss Roukhe, a Moroccan actor who has also had an international career, and the second to Mohamed Miftah, a Moroccan film and theatre actor.

Masterclasses, round tables, conferences, book signings - the full programme is available at

The Belgian feature film "Rebel" by Belgian and Moroccan directors Adil El Arabi and Bilall Falah won the Grand Prize. The Best Actress prize went to actress Noufissa Benchehida for her role in the film "Come Back" by Brahim Chkiri (Morocco), while the Best Actor prize went to actor Kamal Kadimi for his role in the film "La marchandise" by Mohamed Nesrat (Morocco).


Sifi Ifni: International Festival of Cinema and the Sea

The tenth edition of the festival will be held from 23 to 26 November, under the theme "Ten years of creativity". The aim of the festival is to raise awareness among Moroccans of the need to protect the environment, while at the same time showcasing cinematographic productions dedicated to the sea and environmental issues.

The festival is organised by the Association du Festival International du Film et de la Mer, in partnership with the Moroccan Film Centre and the Mirleft local council, with the support of the province of Sidi Ifni, the provincial council and the council of the Guelmim-Oued Noun region.


Azilal: Omar Ait Chitachen wins the M'goun Geopark international half-marathon

The athlete Omar Ait Chitachen won the second edition of the Geopark M'goun International Half Marathon in Azilal, which took place on Sunday, with over 700 Moroccan and international athletes taking part.


Mohamed Bendaddouch died

Mohamed Bendaddouch, a journalist and one of the leading figures on Moroccan national radio, has died aged 94. He was director of the national radio station between 1974 and 1986.

Plastic ArtsFestivals

Rabat: International Contemporary Art Fair

This fifth edition of the fair, entitled "IN RABAT" and taking place from 9 to 11 December at the exhibition hall of the Mohammed V National Theatre, brings together artists from the United States, Spain, Portugal, Côte d'Ivoire, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Tunisia, Congo, Italy, Lebanon and Panama. A variety of shows are planned, ranging from circus art to live painting and contemporary dance, in addition to exhibitions specially designed for children. There will also be five artistic training workshops covering art therapy, artistic costumes, calligraphy and photography, as well as a painting workshop on the beach. Finally, there will be an international seminar on "art and cultural tourism", to be led by professors and art historians, visual artists, critics and journalists.

Detailed programme to follow.


The Moroccan National Tourist Office on Netflix

The ONMT has teamed up with Netflix to continue its tourism campaign in a different way, online. To do this, the ONMT has used golf! This action is part of the Office's strategic partnership with the Royal Moroccan Golf Federation to make Morocco a genuine tourist destination for golf enthusiasts.

This strategic partnership comprises several actions, including an initial collaboration through the integration of the Morocco brand into the prestigious Netflix Cup, which took place on 14 and 15 November.


Oran: Amel Berrahma wins the "Oum Sihem" literary competition

Amel Berrahma won first prize in the 3rd edition of the national "Oum Sihem" short story competition, for her work entitled "Biotica". 102 writers took part in the competition, the theme of which was "Writing is a commitment and a responsibility".


Artists' work now recognised

The Algerian government has adopted a presidential decree (number 23-376) guaranteeing artists social and legal protection in addition to recognition of their work.

Souraya Mouloudji, Algeria's Minister of Culture and the Arts, emphasised that the status of artist "strengthens creation and cultural activities while enhancing the work of all those involved in the arts".


Kirkuk: Street theatre festival

Taking place from 19 to 21 November, the Kirkuk Street Theatre Festival will feature artists from Italy, Iran, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and various Iraqi provinces, including Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Kirkuk, Basra, Diwaniya and Karbala.


Algiers: "The Bay of Algiers, El Bahdja" exhibition

The exhibition, held at the Benyaa gallery in the capital, invites visitors to rediscover the city through the ages and its architecture.

"Drawn in Indian ink, Farid Benyaa's works, combining art and architecture, present never-before-seen views of the capital, represented through its bay, one of the most beautiful in the world, its main boulevards and historic monuments and memorials" - press release.

On view until 18 December.

Algeria, Palestine

The Okadhia national poetry days in solidarity with the Palestinian people

The fifth edition of the "Okadhia" national poetry days began at the Guelma Maison de la Culture, under the banner of solidarity with the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and more broadly with the Palestinian people.

In addition to poetry readings, the event will also feature lectures on revolutionary poetry, culture and resistance, and the Algerian revolution, with the participation of academics from Annaba, Constantine, Skikda, Batna and Guelma.


UNESCO: Algeria to join the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Minister of National Education, Abdelhakim Belaabed, said that this decision was part of "Algeria's pursuit of its vital role in promoting cultural and human heritage", and called on UNESCO to support Algeria's application.

Algeria, Tunisia

Riadh Ben Abderrazak re-elected President of the Union of Tunisian Publishers

This new mandate will run until 2026. The director's office is made up of seven members elected by the Union's General Assembly:

  • Riadh Ben Abderrazak (president),
  • Mohamed Ali Shili (vice président),
  • Amel Jegham (General Secretary),
  • Hichem Soussi (deputy general secretary),
  • Bayram Marzouk (Treasurer),
  • Habib Argoubi (member in charge of public relations),
  • Mohamed Salah Maalej (member).

Abdelwaheb Ben Ayed Prize for Literature 2023

The Abdelwaheb Ben Ayed Foundation organised the literature prize ceremony on Sunday 19 November 2023 at the Cité de la Culture. The aim of this annual literary competition is to promote Tunisian books, particularly among young people, and to encourage authors, publishers and book distributors.

Chaired by Mohamed Khenissi, the jury rewarded several writers in four categories:

  • Prize for a novel or collection of short stories in Arabic: Abir Gasmi and Kamel Zakour for "Point Zéro",
  • Prize for a novel or collection of short stories in French: Zinelabidine Benaïssa for "Sherlock à Tunis",
  • Prize for essay in Arabic or French: Fethi Lissir for "Covid 19",
  • Youth Comics Prize: Kathoum Ayachia for "Naira".

Summary of the novel "Point Zéro" by Abir Gasmi and Jamel Zakour:

"A mysterious and solitary explorer criss-crosses the Sahara in search of the black locusts that have turned his life upside down and which he believes will bring about a cataclysm. Haunted by the quest for their origin, fascinated by an obscure and overwhelming force, he can only go deeper into the desert, convinced that he can face the end of the world alone... At night, Imashek, the spirit of the desert, comes to keep him company and tries to convince him of the absurdity of his plan. "Everything has an end", he keeps telling him. But it takes the explorer a while to understand that an end can give rise to a new beginning, and that the end of his world does not necessarily mean the end of the world. An intimate tale, an existential question and a reflection on today's world, Point Zéro blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Tales from the desert, memories and hallucinations blend together in a skilful alternation of black and white and colour, clear line and charcoal".


The Sheikh Zayed Book Prize

The first selection has been unveiled in the various categories.

Novels category

  • "Utla fi Hay al-Noor" (Holidays in the district of Al Noor) by Elhabib ElSelmi from Tunisia, published by Dar Al Adab Publishing and Distribution in 2023.
  • "Nasheej al-Duduk" (The Groaning of Duduk) by Jalal Barjas from Jordan, published by the Arab Research and Publishing Institute in 2023
  • "Fursat al-Gharam al-Akheer" (A chance for a last love) by Hassan Dawood from Lebanon, published by Hachette Antoine/Nofal in 2022
  • "Laylat Hadiqat al-Shitaa" (Night of the Winter Garden) by Hassouna ElMosbahi from Tunisia, published by Éditions Arabesques in 2023
  • Al Halwani: Thulathiyat al-Fatimiyeen" (Al Halwani: The Fatimid Trilogy) by Reem Bassiouney from Egypt, published by Nahdet Misr Publishing, Printing and Distribution in 2022
  • "Mualaqat Gharnata" (Ode of Granada) by Ziyad Abdulaziz Al Shaikh from Saudi Arabia, published by Dar Athar for publishing and distribution in 2021
  • "Hadatha fi Sabya" (It happened in Sabya) by Suaad Aloraimi from the United Arab Emirates, published by Dar Al Saqi in 2022
  • "Al Majee" (The Arrival) by Saad Al-Yasiry from Iraq and Sweden, published by Takween Publishing in 2021
  • "Al-Tahi Yaqtul al-Katib Yantahir" (The leader kills, the writer commits suicide) by Ezzat Elkamhawy from Egypt, published by Dar Al-Masriah Al-Lubnaniah in 2023
  • "Ka inat al-Teeh (Creatures of the Labyrinth) by Magbaul Al Alawi from Saudi Arabia, published by Dar Al Saqi in 2022
  • "Al-Ghurfa wa-Dawahiha" (The Chamber and its Suburbs) by Maysaloon Hadi from Iraq, published by Dar Al Thakera Publishing and Distribution in 2022
  • "La Yuthkaroon fi Majaz" (Not mentioned as a metaphor) by Houda Hamed from Oman, published by Dar Al Adab Publishing and Distribution in 2022
  • "Quddas al-Tamr" (Liturgy of dates) by Yathreb Alaali from Bahrain, published by Dar Al Adab Publishing and Distribution.

Young Authors Category

  • "Aaynaki ya Noura" (Noura, your eyes) by Asma Salem Alketbi from the United Arab Emirates, published by Taatheer Publishing and Distribution in 2021.
  • "Al Mashhad al-Moriski: Sardiyat al-Tard fi al-Fikr al-Espani" (The Morisco Landscape: Tales of Expulsion in Modern Spanish Thought), by Houssem Eddine Chachia from Tunisia, published by the Centre d'intercommunication de recherche et de connaissances in 2023.
  • "Mimma Hakah al-Maa lil-Aatash (Tales of thirst told through water) by Hassan Abdu Sumayli from Saudi Arabia, published by Adab for publishing and distribution in 2023
  • "Na k hlaa al-Thil aala Aatabat al-Bab" (We leave our shadows at the door) by Hassan Ali Alnajjar from the United Arab Emirates, published by Takween Publishing in 2023
  • "Al-Usooli wal-Lisani: Bahth fi al-Bunyat al-Nahawiya wa-Taaddud al-Dalalat" (The fundamentalist and the linguist: a study of syntactic structures and polysemy), by El Wali El Imrani from Morocco, published by Kunouz Al- Maison d'édition et de distribution Ma refa in 2023
  • "Genealogia al-Ikhtilaf" (Genealogy of Difference) by Sami Kareem Moshi from Iraq, published by Mominoun Without Borders Publishing and Distribution in 2023
  • "Mashrou al-Nawm" (The Sleeping Project) by Chiheb Abdullah from Tunisia, published by Hachette Antoine/Nofal in 2023
  • "Simya iyat al-Qira a: Dirasa fi Shurooh Diwan al-Mutanabbi fi al-Qarn al-Sabe Hijri" (The Semiotics of Reading: A Study of the Seventh-Century Hijri Interpretation of Al-Mutanabbi's Diwan), by Alawi Ahmed Al Malgami from Yemen, published by Kunouz Al-Ma refa Publishing and Distribution House in 2023.
  • "Jame al-Kutub Gharib al-Atwar" (The Eccentric Book Collector) by Omar Zakaria from Jordan, published by El Harf Publications in 2023
  • "Al Mamar al-Lama loof allathi Yukhfih Rajul al-Astuh" (The unexplored path hidden by the man on the roof) by Firas Almaasarani from Syria, published by Mamdouh Adwan Publishing and Distribution House in 2022
  • "Microphone Katem al-Sawt" (A silent microphone) by Mohammad Tarazi from Lebanon, published by Arab Scientific Publishers Inc. in 2023
  • "Markab Waraqi Yahrus al-Nahr" (A paper boat guarding the river) by Mohammad Arab Saleh from Egypt, published by Madarek Publishing House in 2023
  • "She riyat al-Itithar fi al-Shi r al-Arabi al-Qadeem hatta Nihayat al-Aasr al-Umawi" (The poetic art of apology in ancient Arabic poetry up to the Umayyad era), by Mohammed Ali Saleh Qaid Alqablani from Yemen, published by Livres Maraya in 2022
  • "Na eesh li-Nahki: Balaghat al-Takhyeel fi Kalila wa Dimna" (Living to Tell the Story: The Eloquent Imagination in Kalīla wa-Dimna) by Mustapha Rajouane from Morocco, published by the Kunouz Al-Ma refa publishing and distribution house in 2023
  • "Ghiwayat al-Fana" (The Temptation of Mortality) by Hala Saleh Elsayyad from Egypt, published by Sefsafa in 2023.

Youth Literature Category

  • "Aa ilati hiya al Dunya" (My family is my world) by Rama Kanawati from Syria, published by Kalimat Group in 2023
  • "Aalam Khass" (A Private World) by Marianna Barsoum from Egypt, published by Kitaby for printing, publishing and distribution in 2023
  • "Qissat al-Ja'iza" (The Awards Story) by Ahmad Almotawaa from Kuwait, published by Hzaya Library in 2023
  • "Al-Fata allathi Yushbih Al-Sindibad" (The Boy Who Looks Like Sinbad) by Ahmed Korani from Egypt, published by Bayt ElHekma for Creative Industries in 2023
  • "Satea" (Bright) by Estabraq Ahmed from Kuwait, published by Takween Publishing in 2023
  • "Al Daw" (The Light) by Israa Kalash from Palestine, published by Al Ahlia Publishing and Distribution in 2023
  • "Suwar wa-Hikayat min Thakirat Jaddi" (Images and tales from the memory of my grandfather) by Fatima Sharafeddine from Lebanon, published by Dar Al Saqi in 2023
  • "Abi Al Sajeen 118" (My Father Prisoner 118) by Taghreed Aref Alnajjar from Jordan, published by Al Salwa Books in 2022
  • "Shaden wa Sihr Al Farasha" (Shadin and the magic of the butterfly) by Dalal Saleh Albaroud from Kuwait, published by Kalemat Publishing and Distribution in 2023
  • "Al Bint allati Hamalat Baytaha" (The girl who carried her house) by Rawaa Sunbol from Syria, published by Damaa Publishing and Distribution in 2022
  • "Fata al-Burj al-Ajeeb wal-Kawakib al-Sabaa" (The Wonderful Boy of the Tower and the Seven Planets) by Shakir Noori from Iraq, published by Dar Al Moualef Publishing, Printing and Distribution in 2022
  • "Fata al-Shajara" (The Tree Boy) by Dheyaa Gubili from Iraq, published by Al Hajan Publishing and Distribution in 2021
  • "Al Kalimat that al-Khuyoot al-Sawda" (Words in Black Thread) by Fatima Alameri from the United Arab Emirates, published by Al Saif Publishing in 2021
  • "Shajarat al-Ahlam" (The Tree of Dreams), by Mounira El Daraoui from Tunisia, published by El Amina Publishing in 2023
  • "Tefl al Musiqa" (Child of Music) by Naser Chbana from Jordan, published by the Ministry of Culture - Jordan in 2021
  • "Ana Astatee (I Can) by Najem Aldeen Haj Bakri from Syria, published by Kotobna Books in 2023.

Category Arab Manuscripts

  • "Diwan Antara bin Shaddad: Dirasa Adabiya Tarikhiya" (A Literary-Historical Study), by James Montgomery from the United Kingdom, published by the Library of Arabic Literature at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in 2018.
  • "Sharh Diwan Thi-Al Rimma li Abi al-Hasan Ali bin Mohammed bin Ali bin Kharouf Al-Eshbili Al-Andalusi" (Interpretation of the Diwan of Thi Al Rimma by Abi Al Hassan Ali bin Mohammed bin Ali bin Kharouf Al-Eshbili Al-Andalusi) by Awad bin Mohammed Salem Al Daheel Al Awlaqi from Saudi Arabia, published by Dar Al Nawader - Al Madina Al Munawwarah Literary Publishing Club in 2019
  • "Kitab Riyadat al-Uqool al-Maaroof bi Kitab Ta kheer al-Maarifa" (The book of mental exercises known as the book of delayed knowledge) by Ahmed Abdelbaset from Egypt, published by Dar Malamih Publishing and Distribution in 2022
  • "Al-Amali min al-Fawa id wal-Akhbar" (Dictations of Benefits and Current Affairs) by Mohammad Kheir Mahmoud Alboukahi from Saudi Arabia, published by Dar AlGharb Al Islami in 2021
  • "Sharh Shuthoor al-Thahab fi Maarifat Kalam al-Arab" (Explanation of the Golden Particles: Understanding the Discourse of the Arabs) by Abi Fahr Wael bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Seif from Egypt, published by Dar Ebn Abas Publishing and Distribution in 2021
  • "Al-Fawa id al-Sunniya fi al-Rihla al-Madaniya wal-Rumiya, Tathkirat al-Nahrawali" (Sunni Benefits in the Nahrawali Journal of Madani's Journey and Rome) by Al-Mahdi Eid Al-Rawadieh from Jordan, published by Orient- Institut Beyrouth in 2022
  • "Muthanna Al-Manshi: Li-Muhyiddin Muhammed bin Badr Al-Din, al-Shaheer bil-Manshi" (Muthanna Al-Manshi of Muhyiddin Muhammad bin Badr al-Din, known as Al-Manshi), by Lafai bin Lafi Alsulami from Saudi Arabia, published by Dar Malamih Publishing and Distribution in 2022
  • "Dirasa wa-Tahqeeq, Kitab al-Mara i lil-Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mu ti Al-Sharqawi" (A study and edition of the "Book of Dreams of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mu ti Al-Sharqawi), by Mohamed Ahmad
  • "Ankar du Maroc", published by Bab Al Hikma Publishing in 2020
  • "Safinat al-Mulk wa-Nafisat al-Fulk (Shehab al-Din al-Muwashah wa-Musiqa al-Maqam al-Natiqa bil-Arabiya bayn al-Tantheer wal-Maras)" (The ship of possession and the precious ship (Shehab al-Din-Muwashah and Arabic Maqam music between theory and practice) by Mustafa Said from Egypt, published by El Ain Publishing in 2023.

The Sheikh Zayed Book Prize was established in 2006 with the aim of promoting Arab literature and culture, while honouring the achievements of creative thinkers in the fields of books, the arts and the humanities, in Arabic and other languages.

This 18th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Prize received a record 4,240 nominations from 74 countries.

The prize now has ten categories, the most recent being "Publishing Arab Manuscripts", which was added last year to highlight the work carried out by the publishing world.


Seasons of Creation' - Mohamed Kouas' play 'Autre chose' wins the Grand Prize

The festival came to a close on 14 November, with the play 'Autre Chose', written and directed by Mohamed Kouas, winning the Grand Prize.

Synopsis of the play: "Man and Can are two characters that the shop owner has forgotten outside the shop. They have no choice but to follow her on her last night before her journey. In this nocturnal journey, we discover the city at night and its different places. And from one space to another, our vision of the city, the citizen, the state of the country and its contradictions changes and is transformed. The journey ends with them returning to the shop with no desire to leave...". - festival press release.

Algeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia

The Red Sea Film Festival 2023 line-up

More than 140 films are in the line-up for this 3rd edition of the RSIFF, scheduled to take place from 30 November to 9 December 2023 in the city of Jeddah. The event has been organised into several categories, including the Red Sea International Film Festival Favourites and Treasures Strands, which features films from the region including:

  • "Allihopa: The Dalkurd Story" by Kordo Doski (Iraq)
  • "Animalia" by Sofia Alaoui (Morocco)
  • "Hesitation Wound" by Selman Nacar (Turkey)
  • "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul" by Fatih Akin (Turkey)
  • "Hounds" by Kamal Lazraq (Morocco)
  • "The Mother of All Lies" by Asmae Moudir (Morocco)
  • "Thiiird" by Karim Kassem (Lebanon)
  • "The Last Snow" by Amir Hossein Asgari (Iran)
  • "Victory of Youth" by Ahmed Badrakhan (Egypt)
  • "My Wife's Goblin" by Fatn Abdel Wahab (Egypt)

For this new edition, the festival is inviting young Saudis and Saudi residents (18-25 years old) to submit a short film made in just 48 hours, in collaboration with the Alliance Française and the French Consulate in Jeddah. Participants will benefit from specialist support, mentoring and training tailored to their needs.

MENA and Iran feature films selected in competition are:

  • "Hidding Saddam Hussein" by Halkawt Mustafa (Iraq)
  • "Inshallah a Boy" by Amjad Al Rasheed (Jordan)
  • "Six Feet Over" by Karim Bensalah (Algeria)
  • "The Teacher" by Farah Nabulsi (Palestine)
  • "Dalma" by Humaid Alsuwaidi (United Arab Emirates)
  • "Behind the Mountains" by Mohamed Ben Attia (Tunisia)
  • "Backstage" by Afef Ben Mahmoud and Khalil Benkirane (Morocco)
  • "Mandoob" by Ali Kalthami (Saudi Arabia)
  • "Norah" by Tawfik Alzaidi (Saudi Arabia)
  • "Roxana" by Parviz Shahbazi (Iran).

“HWJN” by Dubai-based Iraqi director Yasir Al-Yasiri was chosen to open the festival.


An upsurge in the use of lime in the renovation of Lebanese homes

Editions al-Ayn recently published "Lime in Lebanon: history and practices" by archaeologist Jeanine Abdel Massih, restoration architect Nathalie Chahine and historian Raja Youssef Labaki. In addition to historical and scientific explanations, the 140-page book includes almost fifty photographs and architectural drawings.

Although the use of lime had been abandoned in Lebanon at the beginning of the last century, the reconstruction of the capital following the double explosion on 4 August changed all that, with a resurgence in the use of this material, which had long been sidelined.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Lebanon had thousands of lime kilns, particularly in the mountains, but very few are still in use today.

"The double explosion of 4 August 2020 in the port of Beirut, which destroyed hundreds of old buildings, led to a revival in demand for lime, a material used in houses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Few restorers, however, were familiar with this practice. It became clear that any restoration or renovation could only be carried out using materials from the period" - Houda Kassatly for L'Orient-le-Jour.

Photo: the lime oven, an essential architectural heritage to be preserved. Photo Houda Kassatly.


Beirut Chants (Chorus)

The music festival will feature a concert every evening from 30 November to 23 December in the Lebanese capital. The events will be held in churches, the old souk, Assemby Hall at the American University of Beirut and Gulbenkian Hall at the Lebanese American University.

This is the sixteenth edition of the festival, which will be chaired by Micheline Abi Samra and is set against the backdrop of the current tragedy in occupied Palestine and Israel. The conflict has many consequences in Lebanon, starting with the country's armed involvement, particularly in southern Lebanon.

This festival is a place for encounters, music and love," said the president of Beirut Chants. It is also a space to express our pain and our fears, a space where we share what remains of hope despite all the pain, a space where, in all humility, we pray for the peace of those who remain, and for the eternal rest of those who have left", concluded Mrs Abi Samra." - Micheline Abi Samra for OLJ.

The festival will be celebrating the centenary of the soprano Maria Callas, and will be welcoming a number of foreign artists (Michel Kanka from the Czech Republic, Ilva Eigus from Switzerland, LE DIV4S from Italy, etc.).

The programme can be found at


French Lebanese Film Festival

The festival, whose patron is Darina Al Joundi, kicks off at Le Lincoln cinema from 23 to 26 November. The programme includes "Tnaash" by Boudy Sfeir, "Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano" by Cyril Aris, "Toxic Hope" by Salim Saab, "Farah" by Hassiba Freiha and Kenton Oxley, etc. Masterclasses and lectures are also on the programme. The full programme is available at


"The IMA holds its own festival"

The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris launches a new festival dedicated to the contemporary arts scene. The first edition will take place from 6 to 10 December. The programme includes

  • dance workshops led by the Kif-Kif Bledi troupe, covering chaâbi, fazzani, raï, kabyle, aalaoui, etc.
  • A concert by Dominique Dalcan accompanied by an audiovisual installation
  • A film-concert with "Aichoucha" directed by Tunisian artist Khalil Epi
  • A concert by the Chakâm Ensemble, celebrating the Persian musical tradition
  • A dance show, 'Unwell', by Ahmed Ben Abid, and a second entitled 'El Botiniere' by Selim Ben Safia
  • An electro evening with the KasbaH collective

Details of the programme can be found at

Arab World

Marseille: "Another history of the world"

The new exhibition hosted by the Mucem is open to the public until 11 March 2024. It invites visitors to explore history from the perspectives of Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania and the Arab world.

"The Mucem invites visitors to explore the history of the world from the 13th to the 21st century from a Western perspective. Through sculptures, paintings, textiles, maps, archaeological objects, manuscripts and decorative arts, this exhibition reveals the infinite diversity of African, Asian, American and Oceanic experiences. It offers a glimpse of other forms of globalisation, in which Europe was not the only driving force. The works on display provide an insight into the relationship between time and space in societies outside Europe, and highlight the ways in which they write history. Lakota bison skins, engraved Kanak bamboo, Javanese historiated sarongs and Senegalese griot narratives bear witness to the infinite wealth of vernacular historiographies. (...) Faced with the European-centric narrative produced by the colonial empires from the 17th century onwards, the rulers, elites and artists of other continents have sought to reappropriate their history, sometimes drawing inspiration from Western practices, in order to portray their power or anti-colonial resistance. Today, new national novels enable them to rewrite their past by reinventing their relationship with the world." - Mucem press release.

Photo: "The real world's map", Chéri Samba, 2011. Galerie MAGNIN-A, photo: Florian Kleinefenn


"Tnaash", the Lebanese "Twelve Angry Men

Directed by Boudy Sfeir and screened on 23 November in Paris to mark the opening of the French Lebanese Film Festival, "Tnaash" brings together twelve actors in a closed-door setting, confronting them with the reality of Lebanese society.

"I've always wondered," says Boudi Sfeir, "whether a group of Lebanese from different communities, religions or even political backgrounds, stuck in a situation where they have to make a unified decision, would be objective or influenced by their social backgrounds and emotional baggage. - Boudy Sfeir for OLJ.

The film opens with the trial of a Syrian refugee, the day after 4 August 2020 and a judicial reform. Community belonging, politics, immigration... The jurors find themselves considering and explaining many of the issues that have been driving Lebanon in recent years.


Beirut: Souk el Kotob

This weekend, from 18 to 19 November, the Souk al Tayeb book fair is back with a new edition, featuring a host of speakers and different activities, all dedicated to reading.

In addition to book signings and the presentation of Zeina Abi Rached's latest illustrated album devoted to Khalil Joubran's 'Prophet', Souk el Kotob will also be hosting a paper production workshop, writing masterclasses and the presentation of 'Escape Ghosn' by Michèle Standjofski and Mohamad Kraytem.

The detailed programme can be found on the following link

Plastic ArtsExhibitions

« Eat of Me while I sleep »

Johanne Allard's new multimedia installation can be seen until December at no/mad utopia in Beirut. It is "an exploration of the politics of predation and the cycles in which humans attack humans, nations attack nations, and nations attack their own citizens", to quote the event's press release.

The metaphor of predation is symbolised by the mosquito, in an installation combining sculpture, embroidery and hanging objects.

Photo: Johanne Allard, "Bomblet", 2022.

Lebanon, Iran

Focus on... Paris Photo

Paris Photo drew to a close in Paris on 10 November, with two galleries from the region showcasing their work: Tanit, from Lebanon, and Sil Road, from Iran.

Tanit presented works by Randa Mirza, Rania Matar, Laetitia Hakim & Tarek Haddad, Serge Najjar and Joumana Jamhouri. Between photographs of the post-blast port of Beirut (Joumana Joumhouri), it was also possible to see Lebanese youth and its resilience in Randa Mirza's shots, as well as in those of Rania Matar, who poetically tackled the problems facing Lebanese society, such as pollution and the government's inability to deliver the public services expected by the population.

The Silk Road gallery, for its part, offered a chance to discover the softness of Maryam Firuzy's photographs, Nazli Abbaspour's work of reincarnation between collages and photographs, and Tahmineh Monzavi's portraits.

Photo: Rania Matar, 2022.


"Presence" by Ramzi Karanouh

This new exhibition, curated by Dr Tony Karam, is being held at the Maher Attar studio until 6 December. The colourful exhibition combines the artist's love of painting with his experience as a graphic designer.

The exhibition is intended to be "an invitation to prove that intellectual resistance is far more powerful than wars, which always lead to the failure of humanity despite the calls for victory on both sides" - exhibition press release.


Nizar Othman at the Zamaan gallery

The artist's artistic approach is influenced by his career in journalism. His paintings are delicately crafted portraits of men and women wrapped in newspapers.

The Beirut gallery Zaaman is showing his solo exhibition "Smiles" until 12 December, featuring 28 of his paintings that explore the relationship between human beings and the world around them.


Gaza: mobilisation of the cultural sphere

Between resignations, marches and declarations, the news of the last few days;

Iconic Tunisian actress Hend Sabry has resigned from her position as goodwill ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme. The cause was the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. She tried to mobilise the UN programme so that famine would not become a weapon of war, but she and her colleagues were not heard.

"I was sure that the World Food Programme - which won the Nobel Peace Prize just three years ago and was actively involved in UN Resolution 2417 condemning the use of famine as a method of war - would use its voice as forcefully as it has in emergencies and multiple humanitarian crises" - artist's Instagram.

Egyptian actor Amir El-Masry used his voice at the Bafta Scotland Awards to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Huda Kattan, the founder of Huda Beauty, announced that she was supporting the humanitarian effort in Gaza by contributing $1 million.

In England, musician and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters shared a video on social networks calling for an immediate halt to hostilities, while British singer Yusuf Islam addressed the "Great Palestine Meeting", a pro-Palestinian gathering in Istanbul on 28 October, also calling for a ceasefire.

A letter from Artists for Palestine UK, signed by over 2,000 artists, including leading novelists, singers, playwrights and film-makers, as well as famous actors and actresses such as Tilda Swinton, Charles Dance, Steve Coogan, Miriam Margolyes, and Peter Mullan, was published.

Irish actor Liam Cunningham and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people on social media. "The world must speak out and demand an immediate ceasefire, as well as justice and freedom for the Palestinians and all civilians affected", said Thunberg on X.

On the sports front, football players including Galatasaray's Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech, his Bayern Munich compatriot Noussair Mazraoui, former Real Madrid star and 2022 Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema, Arsenal's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Real Betis' French player Nabil Fekir also took to social networks to express their support for the Palestinians.

In Hollywood, more than 250 celebrities, including Artists4Ceasefire members Ben Affleck, Gigi Hadid, Jessica Chastain and Drake, signed a letter to President Biden calling for a ceasefire in the face of Israel's intensive bombardment of Gaza. The letter underlines the group's unity as artists and advocates affected by the loss of life in Israel and Palestine.

Zendaya, the American actress and singer, also showed her solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza on her official Instagram account.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who works with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, strongly criticised Israel for its military actions in Gaza.

Renowned photographer Nan Goldin took the radical step of cancelling a project with the New York Times, accusing the paper of adopting a pro-Israeli stance in its coverage of events in Gaza.

Actresses Susan Sarandon and Melissa Barrera have been "sanctioned" following their comments in defence of Palestine. The former was fired by her agent following her statements at a demonstration in New York. The second was fired from the next instalment of the 'Scream' saga after a series of messages posted on Instagram.

Saudi Arabia

L’artiste contemporaine Manal al-Dowayan représentera l’Arabie saoudite à la Biennale de Venise

Manal al-Dowayan works in a variety of media, including photography, sound and sculpture. Her creations explore traditions, collective memories and the status and representation of women. She was recently awarded the Visual Arts Prize at the National Cultural Awards, an annual initiative of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture.

The event runs from 20 April to 24 November 2024.

Egypt, Tunisia

"Africa & Byzantium" at the Met in New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition "Africa & Byzantium", on show until 3 March, features more than two hundred antique and medieval objects that bear witness to a thousand years of influence by the Byzantine Empire on the Christian communities of Egypt, Tunisia and Ethiopia. Painted manuscripts, textiles, marble mosaics, carved ivories from Nubia, gold jewellery from Egypt, wall paintings: most of these items are being shown for the first time in the United States.

Egypt, Tunisia

Paris and the surrounding area: the Franco-Arab Film Festival

The Franco-Arab Film Festival (FFFA), supported by filmmaker and visual artist Chloé Mazio and its honorary patron, Costa-Gavras, takes place from 17 to 28 November at the Le Trianon cinema in Romainville and in cultural establishments in the town of Noisy-le-Sec. This year, the focus is on the vitality of Lebanese cinema, past and present. This twelfth edition features fifteen feature films - fiction and documentary - and six previews.

The FFFA's artistic director points out that documentaries and fiction films on the subject of Palestine are also on the bill, in response to current events. These include "Cueilleurs" by Jumana Manna and "Bir'em" by Camille Clavel.

Two Lebanese directors will be featured at this year's festival: Jocelyne Saab (1948-2019) and visual artist Maï Masri, whose films Les Enfants de Chatila (1998) and Beyrouth, l'œil du cyclone (2022) will be screened.

More information on


A silent march in Paris

"We organise a silent, solidarity-based, humanist and peaceful march, which will open with a single long white banner. No political demands, no slogans. White flags and white handkerchiefs are welcome", wrote a press release from a group called "Another Voice", chaired by the Belgian actress Lubna Azabal.

The march started at the Institut du Monde Arabe and proceeded to the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme, ending at the Arts et Métiers metro station.

The signatories included actors and actresses such as Sami Bouajila, Pierre Richard, Elsa Zylberstein and Laure Calamy, author Leïla Slimani, cartoonist Philippe Geluck and singer Michel Jonasz.

Saudi Arabia

Noor Riyadh returns

The festival of light and art returns to the Saudi capital from 30 November. The initiative, part of Riyadh Art, will host more than 120 works of art by 100 artists from around the world in the fields of performance art, architecture, engineering, graphic design and medicine.

The event programme is divided into two parts. The festival component will run at various venues across the city until 16 December under the theme "The luminous face of the desert moon", while an exhibition entitled "Refracted identities, shared futures" will run until 2 March.

The city-wide festival will feature works by Saudi and international artists including Angelika Markul, Claudia Comte, Houda Alnasir, Marinella Senatore, Nevin Aladag, Sarah Abu Abdallah, Shilpa Gupta, Shoplifter, Sophie Laly and Vivian Caccuri.

Noor Riyadh will be held in five main venues. The central location will be in the King Abdallah financial district, with the others in the Jax, Wadi Namar, Salam Park and Wadi Hanifa districts.

Photo: "Ghosts of Today and Tomorrow" by Ahaad Alamoudi, exhibited at the Noor Riyadh 2022 festival.


New song by Lolo Zouai

Entitled "Crying in the Carwash", the track was written in collaboration with British singer and composer Oscar Scheller.

It follows on from her thirteen-track album "Playgirl". She also took the opportunity to announce that she was planning a new tour that would also include the Middle East.

United Arab Emirates

Dubai: "On this land"

This ephemeral exhibition, the title of which recalls a line by the poet Mahmoud Darwish, pays tribute to Palestinian cultural heritage, and runs until 26 November at Alserkal Avenue. It is the fruit of collaboration between the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, the Alserkal Arts Foundation in Dubai and the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit.

It features more than 100 works of art - ranging from paintings to sculptures - as well as large-format panels presenting nearly 60 black-and-white archive images of Gaza.

Visitors will be able to discover works by Sliman Mansour, Samia Halaby, Kamal Boullata and Mona Hatoum, as well as works inspired by Palestine and created by artists from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Lebanon

Dubai's must-see concerts in December

On 15 December, the Coca-Cola Arena will host performances by Syrian singer Assala Nasri and Emirati singer Ahlam. Ranging from folk to modern pop, the concert is a hymn to Arab popular music.

On 22 December, "Iraq's Ambassador to the World", Al Sahir, will give a concert at the Opéra. He will be covering his classics: "Ana Wa Laila", "Ha Habibi" and "Dhomni Ala Sadrak".

On 28 December, in the run-up to the New Year, Lebanese pop star Haifa Wehbe will be performing with Iraqi singer Saif Nabeel at the Coca Cola Arena.

Finally, Egyptian composer Omar Khairat will take over at the Opéra on 29 December.

Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Lebanon

Abu Dhabi Art

With 90 galleries from 31 countries, this 15th edition welcomes countries such as Georgia, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore and Chile for the first time.

Installations, performances, conferences, exhibitions... What to see?

The "Beyond Emerging Artists" initiative, which gives visitors a chance to discover the new Emirati art scene, this year featuring artists Almaha Jaralla, Latifa Saeed and Samo Shalaby. The exhibition showcasing new talent is curated by Morad Montazami, best known for developing Zaman Books and Curating, a platform dedicated to the study of Arab, African and Asian modernism.

In addition, Palestinian artist Samia Halaby will be presenting her kinetic paintings, a unique digital art form she began developing in the mid-1980s, in a performance alongside American multi-percussionist Kevin Nathaniel, known for his use of traditional African instruments.

Not to be missed is a talk by Abdallah Al Saadi, the Emirati artist who will be representing his country at the Venice Biennale. He will be discussing his artistic practice with Tarek Abou El Fetouh, curator of his exhibition at the UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Photo: Samia Halaby in her studio in New York. Copyrights Samia Halaby / Galerie Ayyam.

Arab World

The Averroes Encounters

This 30th edition was held from 16 to 19 November. You can watch the various round tables on "Averroès TV" at

The theme for 2023 was "Will all empires perish? The Mediterranean and empires, from yesterday to tomorrow" and the meetings were chaired by Thierry Fabre. The full programme is available at

"Can we imagine a future beyond empires in the Mediterranean? Or are we condemned to a reign of disaster, arbitrariness and force? Can't the power of law, the desire for freedom and the power of the imagination to create new political forms? What lies ahead? Is it the return of empires, of a new kind of imperialism or even totalitarianism between Europe and the Mediterranean, as predicted or announced by so many ominous messengers?" - Press release for the event.

Algeria, Tunisia

Malik Belkhodja's new show

This show focuses on the multiple identities of this Algerian-born comedian, who grew up in Tunisia before settling in France. To be seen at the Européen in Paris until 3 December, and at the Apollo Théâtre from January 2024.


Amin Al Aiedy releases his first album

Entitled "Shams", or "Sun" in Arabic, it was released on 17 November. Accompanied by three musicians, Amin Al Aiedy conceived the album as an allegory of the Arab world, the "Bilad al Sham" or "Land of the Sun".

"Ever since I was a child, the East and the West have always lived within me, whether in my blood, my language or the music I listened to in my family. After studying contemporary music, then classical and finally jazz, life took me to live and study on the other side of the Mediterranean, where I was able to absorb Arabic music and culture in depth. It was on my return from this journey that I felt the need to create a two-dimensional music. The idea germinated during this long, introspective period of confinement, and finally led to the creation, at the beginning of summer 2020, of a project synthesising this journey".

Somewhere between jazz and Arab maqams, the piano meets the oud to the rhythm of the drums and double bass.

Plastic Arts
Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia

A new gallery in Casablanca

The African Arty gallery has opened in the Beauséjour district, headed up by Jacques-Antoine Gannat. At 39 rue Zahrat Aloualoua, you can now discover the work of Ghizlane Sahli (Morocco) and Massoud Hayoun (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt).

Ghizlane Sahli's work explores the link between embroidery, space and volume, always with a view to exploring man's relationship with nature and his direct environment.

Massoud Hayoun is an award-winning author and investigative journalist turned contemporary artist who has begun a series of intimate, autobiographical works that pay tribute to his Tunisian and Moroccan-Egyptian grandparents.

Photo: "Histoires de Tripes" by Ghizlane Sahli.

Plastic Arts

Ahmad Karmouni and his salty paintings

The artist grew up in the white of the marshes. That's how he explains his fascination with salt, which he describes as "grandiose when piled up". From sea salt to human tears, his various collections allow him to interpret the mineral in different ways. He focuses on the emotions that the source of his collections can express: purifying, cathartic and always vulnerable expressions.

Plastic ArtsHeritage

Inauguration of the Musée des Confluences: Dar el Bacha

On Thursday 23 November, Dar El Bacha reopened its doors to the public after major consolidation work following the earthquake.

Two exhibitions celebrate the reopening:

"Un art façonné par le temps: Le bois dans toutes ses formes" (An art shaped by time: wood in all its forms), which showcases the many ways in which wood has been used in architecture, furniture and everyday objects in Morocco.

A solo exhibition by Fatna Gbouri, featuring meticulous depictions of Moroccan traditions, weddings, market scenes and so on.

Algeria, Oman

Gaby Messina at the Museum of FIne Arts in Algiers

Entitled "Roots of an Afro-Argentina", the exhibition, which runs until 17 December, features a collection of photographs, experimental documentaries and installations on Argentina's African heritage by the Omani and Argentinian artist.


Fluidity at Dar al-Mashreq

At the Dar al-Mashreq gallery in Amman, you can discover the paintings of Jordanian visual artist Ghassan Abu Laban. The event focuses in particular on the notion of fluidity, with paintings produced using both brush and knife. Somewhere between realism and abstraction, the characters in Abu Laban's paintings are timeless.

Persian Gulf, Egypt

Luxor Poetry Festival

The event came to a close after inviting nearly 120 poets and visual artists over a four-day period. In addition to readings and literary competitions, the festival also saw the inauguration of a new exhibition at the Luxor Fine Arts Forum, featuring some 65 works by Egyptian, Lebanese, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Omani and other visual artists.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Syria

Al Multaqa Prize for Arabic Short Stories

The collection "A Brief Time to Panic", published by Dar Arab and written by Omani storyteller Yahya bin Salam Al-Mandhari, has been selected for the longlist of the Al-Multaqa Prize for Arabic Short Stories in its sixth session for the year 2023/2024.

The list includes nine other books:

  • "The Lost Letters of the One Called Adam Snail" by Muhammad Al-Matrafi (Saudi Arabia),
  • "Distilled" by Abdul Hadi Al-Jamil (Kuwait),
  • "A Woman at the Window" by Abdul Hadi Al-Jamil (Kuwait),
  • "Drunk on a Bike" by Rami Al-Taweel (Syria),
  • "Du, Yik" by Rawaa Sonbol (Syria)
  • "Aerial" by Ismail Al-Ghazali (Morocco),
  • "Sad Dolls" by Samir Al-Fil (Egypt),
  • "You Will See What I Imagine" by Saad Hadi (Iraq),
  • "Domino Devils" by Mona Marai (Lebanon),
  • "As If He Were" by Hisham Al-Naham (Bahrain). The shortlist of five short story collections will be announced on 15 December, while the jury will meet in Kuwait in mid-January 2024 to select the winner.

The shortlist of five short story collections will be announced on 15 December, while the jury will meet in Kuwait in mid-January 2024 to select the winner.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Syria

Salah Al-Hadrami won the best documentary film award at the Mumbai International Entertainment Film Festival 2023

The director won the award for the feature film "Al Zij", which presents the daily life of a farmer specialising in the production of Omani red sugar.


Al Hoceïma International Film Festival

Since 18 November, the festival has screened eight films in the official "Feature Films" competition and eight others in the "Shorts" competition. In the panorama section, this gathering of cinema professionals and enthusiasts has programmed three Moroccan films and five others from Egypt.

The Saudi film "Chahana" won the Grand Prize.


Grammy Awards 2024: Ibrahim Maalouf nominated for the second year running

The 66th Grammy Awards ceremony will take place on Monday 5 February. The list of nominations, drawn up by the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, includes Franco-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, who was already nominated last year.

The 43-year-old trumpeter is nominated in the "Best World Music Performance" category, in which he is competing with "Todo Colores", a track from his latest album, which he shares with Cimafunk & Tank and the Bangas.


Manal at La Cigale

The Moroccan pop artist and feminist will be performing at La Cigale in Paris on 24 November.

Manal was born in Casablanca in 1993. After taking part in the Star Academy show in Lebanon in 2009, Manal reconciled her passion for music with her studies, obtaining her baccalaureate. In 2014, she released a cover of the song "Zina" on YouTube. The video caught the attention of a Moroccan hitmaker and in 2015, Manal released her debut single "Denia", which won her the "Best Female Artist in North Africa" award at the 2015 Africa Music Awards. In 2016, Manal obtained her master's degree and enrolled in a PhD. In April 2017, she released "Koulchi Ban", which reached one million views in just a few weeks. In February 2018, she signed with Sony Music Middle East and released "Taj".


Rabia Akbıyıkoğlu and her electric guitar

The young woman gains popularity on social networks with her impressive solos covering trendy tracks, always on electric guitar and in eclectic Istanbul venues. Her image, which seems to break with the stereotypes associated with the East, is particularly surprising in the West. In fact, veiled, Rabia Akbıyıkoğlu has taken up an iconic metal instrument, a musical genre that doesn't fit in with the conservatism too often associated with the veil in the Western mindset.

At just 21, Rabia Akbıyıkoğlu juggles her life as a second-year student in the Mathematics Department at Istanbul's Medipol University with her career as a guitarist.

"My passion for metal music started when I was little, listening to bands like Linkin Park, Anathema, Apocalyptica with my sister. I started playing guitar by trying to play something on my own with my sister's classical guitar at home."


Jbaliqs, the new sound of Algerian chaâbi

Wassim Belarbi and Noussaïba Bettahare, whose stage name is Jbaliqs - which stands for "arabisation" of the Latin word for Berber king Juba - are breathing new life into châabi, one of Algeria's most popular musical genres, but now generally neglected by young people. Thanks to videos that have gone viral, the group is breathing new life into this repertoire with covers of modern songs, mixing Eastern and Western melodies, always with 100% Algerian costumes and minimalist choreography, all set against a backdrop that celebrates the country's cultural heritage. Wearing karakou, burnous or chechia, they play a succession of melodies with derbouka, oud and violin. Their cover of Beethoven's "Letter to Elise" has thousands of views on social media.

"We're working on exporting Algerian culture around the world and on ways of popularising it for young Algerians, who haven't had access to the musical teachings of this culture at school" - Wassim.

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.