Revue culturelle N°94

The Journal

30 - 11 - 23
Issue for subscribers only.
This week's picture

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.


International Prize for Exceptional Women: Rita El Khayat wins an award in Rome

Writer Rita El Khayat has been awarded a prize in Rome as part of the Stand Out Woman International Prize for her commitment to the emancipation of women at national and regional level.

Organised by the PromAzioni360 and Femmes Culture & Territoire associations, the event aims to promote "the voice of women who carry out extraordinary actions in their ordinary lives".


"9addat documentaries"

The 9addat Association announces the release of a new podcast entitled "Documentaires 9addat". Produced by the young Oumayma Zekri Ajarrai, this audio mini-series highlights the experiences of everyday heroines who are all too often invisible. The first episode focuses on women in rural areas of the Kingdom, the second on Tbourida riders, and the final episode contrasts "white collars" and "blue collars" to explore the theme of Moroccan women at work.

The podcast was launched in September 2019 by Oumayma Zekri Ajarrai, a media and innovation consultant. She is a founding member of the Onorient collective, with whom she co-produced the documentary "Rihla - sur les sentiers culturels du monde arabe" and the radio programme "Paris-Alexandria".


Marrakech: extension of Mourabiti's "Art and Verticality" exhibition

Inaugurated on 20 October last year to mark the opening of the gallery of the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs in Marrakech, the exhibition "L'art et la verticalité" ("Art and Verticality") by painter Mohamed Mourabiti has been extended until next March, as part of the programme for Marrakech, Cultural Capital of the Islamic World 2024.

With texts by Moroccan and foreign poets, artists and art critics such as Adonis, Edmond Amran El Maleh, Mustapha Nissaboury and Rajae Benchemsi, "Mourabiti's works offer a dialogue between heaven and earth, between matter and spirituality" - extract from the press release.


Agadir: Issni N'Ourgh International Amazigh Film Festival

The 14th edition of the Festival will feature twenty-three Amazigh films and sixteen films from the Issni N'Ourgh international competition, between 7 and 11 December in Agadir.

Amazigh films in competition:

  • "Myopia" by Sanaâ Akroud
  • "The Tattooed" by Mohamed Zaghou
  • "Sound of Berberia" by Tarik El Idrissi
  • "Cloches de Toumliline, une Histoire de bénédictins au Maroc" by Hamid Derrouich
  • "Scattering Thorns" by Nassim Abassi
  • "Aït Ishaq" by Selim Haase
  • "Memoria indigena, tradiciones ancestrales Canarias" by Antonio Bonny Farray and Pablo Rodriguez Alonso.
  • "Empty glass" by Yassine Iguenfer
  • "Iman irufan" by Masoud Bougern
  • "Tremors" by Nicolas Jacquette
  • "Azetta" by Djamal Bacha
  • "Ijja" by Rachid Elhazmir.

The festival will also feature professional and cultural events at the Sahara cinema, the Faculty of Languages, Arts and Humanities, and the new cultural platforms (the cultural zaouïas) in the Tiznit region.


El Grande Toto releases a second album

Entitled "27", this new album is a direct reference to the age of Moroccan rapper Taha El Fahssi - aka El Grande Toto - but also recalls 27 May 2016, the day his house in Benjdia burnt down.

The album is made up of 17 tracks and comes out three weeks after the track 'Weld Laadoul', which has already racked up over 4 million views. El Grande Toto also features Rondodasosa, Unknown T, Ben JR, Oxlade, Morad and Hamza. In English, French and Moroccan dialect Arabic (Darija), the album has topped the Moroccan charts on Spotify, and is also enjoying success in Spain, Malta, Belgium, France, Italy, Turkey, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.


"Ana Fnit" by Nabyla Maan

The singer unveils her new song, composed and written by Tarik Hilal. It's a love song in keeping with the artist's musical genre, which still promotes traditional Moroccan melodies, thanks in particular to the oud. The artist offers a romantic clip in the moonlight, celebrating the Moroccan heritage through its landscapes but also its calligraphy.


Rabat: collective and contemporary exhibition

The D'art Dar gallery displays thirty works hosted by the capital's Café Robuchon. Visitors can discover the work of Aziz Benja, Noureddine Daifellah, Saad Ben Cheffaj, Mohamed Melehi, Mahi Binebine, Lmaia Miriam Skiredj, Meki Megara, Mohamed Abouaeloukar, Nourddine Chater, Mohamed Mansouri Idrissi and many others.

Maghreb, Morocco

Rabat hosts the next FAO African regional conference

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will be holding its next Regional Conference for Africa (ARC33) from 18 to 20 April 2024 in Rabat. The theme of the conference will be "Resilient agrifood systems and inclusive rural transformation", and it will bring together the major players in the sustainable economy and environmental protection in Africa. The 33rd session will take place on the eve of the Moroccan International Agricultural Show, scheduled for 22-28 April 2024 in Meknes.


Forsa: second edition closes with 11,200 projects

Since its launch in 2022, the Moroccan government-funded entrepreneurship programme has received more than 300,000 applications.

Women represent 45% of the beneficiaries of "Forsa" 2023, an increase of 20 points compared to the first edition. There has also been a marked improvement in participation from rural areas and small towns, reaching 69% of beneficiaries, with balanced regional representation throughout the Kingdom.

The programme is committed to offering post-financing follow-up to its 21,200 beneficiaries over a period of 2 years, with the aim of fostering their growth, creating more jobs and inspiring other young entrepreneurs to take up entrepreneurship.


Festival of Oasis Cultures

The 16th Festival of Oasis Cultures will be held in Figuig from 1 to 3 December. The aim of the event is to highlight not only the cultural heritage of Morocco's oases, but also their potential for the kingdom's economic development.

Craft fairs, exhibitions, round tables and seminars will be held over three days.


Casablanca joins the network of UNESCO Creative Cities in the Digital Arts

In a statement to MAP, Eric Falt, director of the UNESCO Maghreb office, said he was delighted to welcome the city of Casablanca to the UNESCO Creative Cities network, and more specifically to the Digital Arts category, which currently includes almost 300 member cities.


Women's Rights Film Week

The second Women's Rights Film Week is being held from 27 November to 1 December in Rabat, with the aim of highlighting the fight against violence and discrimination against women.

Organised by the United Nations in Morocco in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication and with the support of the Association des rencontres méditerranéennes du cinéma et des droits de l'Homme and the HIBA Foundation, the event is part of the annual global campaign "16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence".


Tetouan: the Design Event

The Tetouan National Institute of Fine Arts organises the third Tetouan Design Event from 29 November to 1 December at the Tetouan Centre for Modern Art. The event brings together designers, entrepreneurs, experts and enthusiasts. Africa is in the spotlight at this year's event, and a tribute will be paid to designer Younes Duret. Meetings, round tables and exhibitions are planned.


Barcelona and Tangier: new impetus for 2024

The mayors of Tangier, Mounir Laymouri, and Barcelona, Jaume Callboni, have reaffirmed their "determination to give new impetus" to the collaboration between the two cities. Several projects will be unveiled in 2024.


Hassan II Prize for the Environment

Thirteen of the 213 entries received were awarded prizes.

The Scientific and Technical Research Prize went to Taoufik Moussaoui and Mehdi El Khatibi. In the "Media" category, the prize was awarded to Abdessamad Adniden of the daily Bayan Al Yaoum, Mohammed Aamira of the Société nationale de radiodiffusion et de télévision, Soumia Al Arkoubi of Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse and Sofia Fagroud of the Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse.

The Associative Action Prize went to the Association of Teachers of Life and Earth Sciences and the AICHA Association for Local Development and the Environment, while Centrale Danone won the Entrepreneurial Initiatives Prize.

In the "Initiatives by local authorities" category, the prize went to the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra regional council and the Moulay Abdellah municipality. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Resident Abroad, and Justice, for their part, won the Prize for Exemplary Administration.


Tetouan: National Theatre Festival

The Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication has revealed the list of plays shortlisted to compete for prizes at the 23rd edition, to be held from 8 to 15 December in Tetouan.

The plays selected are:

  • « Celle qui a dit non », Théâtre universitaire de Casablanca;
  • « La Victoria », troupe Nicolò Accion;
  • « Toulouâ Ar-Rrouh », troupe Théâtre de Poche;
  • « Takanza : l’histoire de Touda », troupe Lanternes;
  • « Ichawchawen », troupe Thifswin;
  • « Khoulkhal wa Ghourbal », troupe Phanoramic;
  • « Extasia », troupe interculturelle;
  • « Fataîr At-toufah », troupe Douz T’masrah;
  • « Asturias », Association Yuba de créativité théâtrale;
  • « Soukout Al-ward », troupe Africanisme;
  • « Al-fatoura », Marrakech Comedia.

Tetouan: National Theatre Festival

The Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication has revealed the list of plays shortlisted to compete for prizes at the 23rd edition, to be held from 8 to 15 December in Tetouan.

The plays selected are:

  • « Celle qui a dit non », Théâtre universitaire de Casablanca;
  • « La Victoria », troupe Nicolò Accion;
  • « Toulouâ Ar-Rrouh », troupe Théâtre de Poche;
  • « Takanza : l’histoire de Touda », troupe Lanternes;
  • « Ichawchawen », troupe Thifswin;
  • « Khoulkhal wa Ghourbal », troupe Phanoramic;
  • « Extasia », troupe interculturelle;
  • « Fataîr At-toufah », troupe Douz T’masrah;
  • « Asturias », Association Yuba de créativité théâtrale;
  • « Soukout Al-ward », troupe Africanisme;
  • « Al-fatoura », Marrakech Comedia.
Arab World, United Arab Emirates

Dubai kicks off COP28

The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference opened on 30 November, chaired by Sultan al-Jaber, who is also CEO of the national oil company Adnoc.

More than 97,000 people (delegations, media, NGOs, lobbies, organisers, technicians, etc.) have been accredited, twice as many as last year, and around 180 heads of state and government are expected to attend.

Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia

Sheikh Zayed Book Prize

The Sheikh Zayed Book Prize has announced the shortlisted authors in two new categories.

Literature and Art Criticism Category

  • Tareekh al-Ghinaa' al-Shaabi min al-Mawal ila ar-Rap' (History of the Folk Song from Mawal to Rap), by Dr. Yasser Thabet (Egypt)
  • Adonis fi al-Ibdaa wal-Tatheer al-Shi'ri' (Adonis in Creative and Poetic Theorisation), by Dr Hassane Al Ghorfi (Moroc)
  • 'Falsafat al-Lugha wa-Su'al al-Meana: Bahth fi Simya'iyat al-Istiaara al-Fanniya' (The Philosophy of Language and the Quest for Meaning: An Exploration of Metaphorical Artistic Semiotics), by Souad Hamadache (Algeria)
  • 'Zawaj al-Mubdi'een: Tharaa' al-Mutakhayal wa-Faqr al-Waqeh' (The Matrimony of Creators: Where Imagination Abounds and Reality Wanes), by Chawki Bzih (Lebanon)
  • 'Naqd an-Naqd al-Thaqafi: Ru'ya fi Musa'alat al-Mafaheem wal-Dabt al-Maarifi' (Critiquing Cultural Critique: A Gaze into the Jurisdiction of Concepts and Cognitive Mastery), by Abduladheem Al-Sultani (Iraq)
  • 'Iaadat Binaa' an-Nathariya an-Naqdiya min al-Manthoor al-Shaklani ila Maaqool al-Khitab' (The Reconstruction of Critical Theory from a Formalist Perspective to a Rational Discourse), by Abdelfattah Ahmed Youssef (Egypt)
  • 'Aanadil Hajariya' (Stone Nightingales), by Adi Jaser Alherbish (Saudi Arabia)
  • 'Kul Da Kan Leeh (Sardiya Naqdiya aan Al-Ughniya was-Sadara' (Kol Dah Kan Leih: A Critical Narrative About Songs and Prominence), by Fayrouz Karawya (Egypt)
  • 'Al-Insan fi Riaayat al-Kaynoona: Heidegger fi al-Mutanawal al-Falsafi al-Arabi' (Humanity in the Care of Ontology: Heidegger in Arab Philosophical Discourse), by Mouchir Bassil Aoun (Lebanon)
  • 'Banat Awa wal-Huroof al-Mafqooda: Aan al-Hayawanat al-Natiqa fi Lahathat al-Khatar' (Jackals and Lost Letters: About Animals Speaking in Moments of Danger), by Haytham El Wardany (Egypt)
  • 'Kitab al-Masafat: Muqaraba Naqdiya fi Jadaliyat al-Qurb wal-Buud' (The Book of Distances: A Critical Approach to the Dialectic of Proximity and Distance), by Yasin Al-Nasayyir (Iraq)

United Nations Development Category :

  • 'Al-Asmaa' al-Jughrafiya - Thakirat Ajyal' (Geographical Names - Legacy of Generations), by Dr. Khalifa Alromaithi (UAE)
  • 'Ad-Deen fi al-Fikr al-Falsafi wal-Ijtimaii al-Hadeeth' (Religion in Modern Philosophical and Social Thought), by Dr. Abdelilah Daal (Morocco)
  • 'Al-Madrasa wal-Thakaa' (School and Intelligence), by Dr. M'barek Rabi (Morocco)
  • 'An-Naqlat al-Hadariya al-Kubra: Ayna Nahnu Minha?' (Major Civilisational Leaps: Where Do We Stand?), by Dr. Mustapha Hijazi (Lebanon)
  • 'Falsafat al-Amn: Nathariyat Epistemolojiya Tatbiqat Sociolojiya' (The Philosophy of Security: Epistemological Theories and Sociological Applications), by Dr. Ramzi Mahouachi (Tunisia)
  • 'Sikkat al-Tramway: Tareeq al-Hadatha Marra bi-Dimashq' (Tramway Railway: The Path of Modernity Passed Through Damascus), by Sami Marwan Moubayed (Syria)
  • A'l-Mushtarak al-Ibrahimi wal-Hiwar al-Hadari' (Abrahamic Commonality and Civilised Dialogue), by Salah Salem (Egypt)
  • 'Al-Bayniya fi al-Academia al-Arabiya wal-Islamiya' (Interdisciplinary Studies in Arabic and Islamic Academia), by Ali Alsalah Moula (Tunisia)
  • 'Al-Arabiya Lughat al-Aayn: Dirasa Dalaliya Uurfaniya' (The Arabic Language: A Study of Cognitive Semantics), by Dr. Fatima Bakouch (Tunisia).

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.


Médenine: International Documentary and Short Film Festival

The 9th edition is dedicated to the Palestinian cause, with Indonesia as guest country, from Wednesday 29 November to Sunday 3 December.

The competition features a selection of 24 films, including 11 documentaries and 13 short fiction films, focusing on the theme of Palestinian resistance. The films, directed by Arab filmmakers, represent 13 countries, including Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, France and Tunisia.

Libya, Tunisia

Tunis: "Water's Call" exhibition

An exhibition of Libyan art entitled "Water's Call" is held from 1 to 22 December at the Centre National d'art vivant de Tunis, Dar El Founoun, in collaboration with the Iskender Art House gallery in Tripoli.

The issue of illegal immigration will be at the heart of the works exhibited by a duo of artists, Najla El Fitouri and Youssef Fatis.

Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia

Carthage Theatre Days

The official competition for the 24th edition of the Journées Théâtrales de Carthage is made up of 11 shows produced by professional Tunisian, Arab and African theatres.

The plays in the running for the JTC Tanits represent Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

The plays selected are:

Abdelwahed Mabrouk (Tunisia)

Ghazi Zaghbani (Tunisia)

Houssine Mokhtar (Algeria)

Sulayman Al Bassam (Kuwait)

Hakim Harb (Jordan)

Amin Boudrika (Morocco)

Raoudha Cherif (Egypt)

Meher Salibi (Syria)

Mohannad Karim (United Arab Emirates)

Jaouad Assadi
National Theatre Troupe (Iraq)

Palestine, Tunisia

International poetry festival in Tozeur

Eighteen Arab and European poets take part in the 43rd edition of the international poetry festival in Tozeur, organised on 23, 24 and 25 November 2023, in tribute to Palestine and the Palestinian cause.

The first edition of the Abdelhamid Kheraief prize for creativity awarded its first prize on Friday to the Arab poet Mahmoud AL-Absi, for his collection "Mechraton tahta allisan", winner of the previous edition of the Tozeur international poetry festival.

Arab World, Morocco, Tunisia

First meeting of the League of African Women Writers

The League of African Women Writers, created on 9 March 2023 in Morocco, held its first meeting on Tuesday at the Cité de la Culture in Tunis.

Several women writers took part in this meeting, which was dedicated to the national leagues of women writers in four North African countries, including Morocco, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia.

The League of African Women Writers is chaired by Moroccan Badiaa Radi, who chaired the preparatory committee for the founding Congress of the League of African Women Writers. This writer and journalist is also the President of the Moroccan League of Women Writers.

The League of African Women Writers is intended as a forum for South-South cooperation, giving a voice to women writers from the continent on a wider scale by publicising their works regionally and internationally.

Plastic ArtsObituaries

Death of Mekki Abderrahmane

The visual artist died on Wednesday in Ain Turck (Oran) at the age of 69.



This Lebanese duo is composed of Tony el-Khoury, singer and lute player, and Youssef Helayel, guitarist and music teacher. They chose this name, Adoon, which means "lord" in Phoenician and is one of the most important Canaanite gods, Adonis. They have just released their first track, in Phoenician, a prelude to their forthcoming album, which also bears the same name: 'Adoon'. For this track, they were inspired by "The Hymn to Nikkal", addressed to the goddess of fertility, which is part of a collection of 36 Hourrite songs engraved in cuneiform script on the famous clay tablets of Ugarit. This hymn is considered to be the oldest known example of musical notation in the world.


Photography for Palestine

Two online initiatives, "Pictures for Palestine" and "I Wish to Photograph Beauty", offer sales of works in aid of the victims of Gaza.

"Pictures for Palestine" is the initiative of a group of creative people based in London. 150 artists are participate in the project, and the profits from the sale of their photographs are donated to the NGO Medical Aid for Palestinians. The photo gallery is available online. It includes works by Cindy Sherman, who has donated one of her "twisted portraits" from 2021 online. There are also photographs by Esther Theaker, Oliver Hadlee Pearch and Alice Neale, who have repeatedly documented Beirut.

The second of these fundraising initiatives waslaunched by Gulf Photo Plus, the leading photography centre based in the United Arab Emirates (and serving the wider Swana region). It is called "I Wish to Photograph Beauty". The online platform features images mainly by Palestinian photographers, such as Fatima Shbeir, who shows a group of young Palestinian women celebrating Fitr in Gaza, and Maen Hammad, who shows a photo of a small watermelon growing on her grandmother's vine in Helhoul in the occupied West Bank, Samar Abou Elouf, who documents through her photos days of happiness in Gaza, and Tanya Habjouqa, who delivers a poignant portrait of the young Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi. online, on retrouve donc essentiellement les images de photographes palestiniens, tels Fatima Shbeir qui propose l’image d’un groupe de jeunes palestiniennes célébrant le Fitr à Gaza, Maen Hammad, qui montre la photo d’une petite pastèque poussant sur une vigne de sa grand-mère à Helhoul en Cisjordanie occupée, Samar Abou Elouf, qui documente à travers sa photo des jours de bonheur à Gaza, ou encore Tanya Habjouqa, qui livre un portrait poignant de la jeune militante palestinienne Ahed Tamimi.

Photo: "Sheikh Ijlin Beach, Gaza City, Palestine", by Simon Roberts, 2003.


Prix Femina des lycéens for Éric Chacour

Éric Chacour has been awarded the Prix Femina des lycéens for his first novel, Ce que je sais de toi. The book was published in January by Alto in Canada and in August by Philippe Rey in France. It tells the story of a French-speaking Egyptian doctor who discovers his homosexuality and emigrates to Montreal.



3.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify (one of the most listened-to French-speaking artists after Aya Nakamura and Angèle) and almost 2 million subscribers on TikTok. This is Najoua Laamri, aka Nej'. She released her first album, Enchantés, in 20019, and has since been working with a host of artists including Naps, Lartiste and Zaho. Her pop music includes Rn'B and oriental tunes.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions

Beirut: "Ways of Vanishing

"A culture, an ecosystem, a nation, a people and even a building can disappear in a given period of time, but there are always ways of reappearing, transforming impermanence into an opportunity for transmutation. Based on this premise, Lebanese art critic and curator Nayla Tamraz and her Argentinian counterpart Florencia Incarbone have put together the Bienalsur video programme. In other words, a selection of works by filmmakers and artists from the countries of the South, in particular Latin America, Lebanon and Turkey, based on the theme of "Ways of Vanishing".

Presented in Beirut, at the Sursock Museum, from Saturday evening 25 November at 5pm over 4 days of screenings (on 27, 28 and 29 November at 6pm), the programme features a host of moving images that offer "an aesthetic exploration of the process of vanishing and question the ways in which this evanescent condition can be approached". On the Lebanese side, the programme includes works by Akram Zaatari, Fouad el-Khoury, Cynthia Zaven, Ali Cherri and the HadjiThomas Joreige duo.



Métro al-Madina inaugurates 'FãSL', a solo 'movement performance' by actress and choreographer Nivine Kallas. It is a creation based on "the links between the diacritical marks of the Arabic language and the movements of the body. The diacritical marks are the fatha, the dammé, the kasra and the skoun. Inspired by the movements of the mouth as they are pronounced (the fatha, for example, induces openness, while the dammé brings the lips together...), the young woman transposes them into body and stage movements" - press release.

An experimental performance that is, as its title suggests, a "parenthesis" in the Metro al-Madina programme, a show that is the antithesis of the usual cabarets.

United Arab Emirates

"Dubai Bling" unveils the trailer for season 2

On Netflix on 13 December, this season heralds the return of Zeina Khoury, Farhana Bodi, Lojain Omran, Kris Fade, Ebrahim Al-Samadi, Loujain Adada, Safa Siddiqui and DJ Bliss. Iraqi beauty star Mona Kattan joins the cast.


El Gouna Egyptian Film Festival

The festival is set to take place from 14 to 21 December after being postponed twice due to the "events" unfolding in Gaza.

This sixth edition, in collaboration with the Palestinian Film Institute, will be devoted to Palestinian cinema. A charity dinner is also planned to support humanitarian aid in Gaza.

The feature film competition will feature the following films from the MENA region:

  • "Birdland" by Leila Kilani (Morocco)
  • "The Shanabs" by Ayten Amin (Egypt)
  • "Transient Happiness" by Sina Mouhammed (Iraq).
United Arab Emirates

Dubai: the Soul Kitchen restaurant turns into a gallery

The restaurant reflects on modern and historical patterns of Arab migration through a series of art installations.
Exhibitions include work by Lebanese artist Rumi Dalle, known for her collaboration with luxury brands such as Hermes, Boghossian and Iwan Maktabi. Other artists involved in the project include German carpet artist Jan Kath and Lebanese Armenian designer Karen Chekerdjian.

With three installations, the restaurant aims to pay tribute to the migratory experience of Arabs who settled in South America during the 19th century and those who are still migrating around the world. The works are for sale.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia

Red Sea International Film Festival

The latest edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival is scheduled to run from 30 November to 10 December in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The list of short films in competition is available here.

As for the Arab feature films in competition, here they are

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

The festival is chaired by writer, director and producer Baz Luhrmann, joined for the feature films by Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman, actress Freida Pinto, Egyptian actress Amina Khalil and Spanish actress Paz Vega.

Digital ArtPlastic ArtsStreet artFestivals
United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi hosts the inaugural Manar exhibition

Manar Abu Dhabi is an artistic initiative running from 15 November to 30 January. The idea is to transform the country's landscapes through 35 works of art. Meaning 'lighthouse' in Arabic, Manar is a cultural milestone for the city, according to curator Reem Fadda, who is also Director of Cultural Programming and the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, and Artistic Director of Public Art Abu Dhabi. The theme of this first immersive edition is 'Grounding Light'.

The 35 new works include pieces by Mohammed Kazem, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Samia Halaby, Ala Edris and Carsten Holler, among others.

One of the most impressive works is 'Self Similar' by American artist Jim Denevan, who has created dozens of pyramids made of sand just outside the city. The installation echoes 'Angle of Repose' - a piece the artist created in the ancient desert region of AlUla in Saudi Arabia for Desert X in 2022.

Saudi Arabia

King Abdelaziz's falconry festival

The King Abdelaziz Falconry Festival has begun at the headquarters of the Saudi Falcons Club in Malham, north of Riyadh, where elite falcon owners from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and around the world are taking part in the event, which runs until 14 December. The festival was initially created in 2019, with the aim of preserving "this cultural and civilisational heritage of the Kingdom" - press release.

With 1,723 participants, its first edition entered the Guinness World Records as the world's largest falconry competition. The second event, later the same year, followed suit, with 2,350 falcons taking part.


The buzz of DRP Choir

DRP Choir is a group of young musicians from the wilaya of Bordj Bou Arreridj, in eastern Algeria. The group recently created a buzz on TikTok after its cover of "Bachtola" by Djamel Sabri, also known as "Djo". This interpretation of Chaoui rock has racked up nearly 1.3 million views.

"Of the twelve members of the group, four are fluent in Chaoui and they have worked hard to pay tribute to the Amazigh song and culture," one of the singers told regional media Aures News.

Saudi Arabia

Jeddah: "At the Edge of Land"

The exhibition runs until 13 April 2024. "At the Edge of Land" is a group exhibition which explores the complex and often hidden relationships between landscapes and commerce. The exhibition addresses issues of geography, resources and raw materials.

With works by Jananne Al-Ani, Tarek Al Ghoussein, Iosu Aramburu, Au Sow Yee, Chihoi, Bady Dalloul, Aref El Rayess, Daniele Genadry, Ho Rui An, Hiwa K, Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, Lala Rukh, Hira Nabi, Sarker Protick, Sim Chi Yin, Joar Songcuya, You Khin and Zarina.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions
United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iran

« Duality »

Two artists explore the notion of infinity in an exhibition at the Third Line Gallery in Dubai entitled 'Duality'.

Jason Seife, born in the United States of Syrian and Cuban immigrant parents, has used the complex patterns of traditional Persian carpets and various ornaments. Nabavi, an Iranian-American who grew up in the United Arab Emirates, proposes overlapping geometric designs.

While each of their works can be appreciated independently of the others, they are brought together in a single work entitled 'Noon'. Both Sefie's and Nabavi's works explore infinity with an extreme level of precision and attention to detail.

Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait

Emirates Airline Literature Festival 2024

The organisers of the annual literary festival, which runs from 31 January to 6 February, have revealed some of the authors who will be taking part in the event.

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, will also be in attendance. 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'.

For more information, visit

Photo: Ahlam Bolooki, Director of the Emirates Airline Literature Festival. Photo: Emirates Literary Foundation.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions
Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon

The Artes Mundi Prize

Seven international artists, whose work is exhibited in five venues across Wales, have a chance to win the UK's largest international contemporary art prize. For its 10th anniversary, Artes Mundi is venturing beyond its usual Cardiff venue, presenting the work of seven artists in five venues across Wales, including the capital. It is also partnering London's Bagri Foundation for the first time.

The artists in competition include:

Mounira Al Solh, who lives between Lebanon and the Netherlands. She displays artworks dedicated to Syrian refugees, as part of a series of 500 portraits accompanied by conversations she had with them in 2012, when the war in Syria broke out.

Kurdish-born artist Rushdi Anwar, who also exhibits at Cardiff National Museum, looks at the last hundred years of colonialism in the Middle East in his solo show. One room contains archival documents, with an old radio broadcasting a mixture of colonial speeches and propaganda from 1916 (the Sykes-Picot agreements).

"The maps of the region were drawn in a London office by people who didn't understand the cultural context, the different ethnic groups or the complexities of the region," explains the artist (The National).

A second room shows twelve boxes, each with a burnt photo of a destroyed church in Bashiqa, north-east of Mosul. Disputed between the Kurdish and Iraqi governments, Mosul was once under British and French colonial rule and more recently looted and destroyed by the Islamic State.

Artist Alia Farid (Kuwait) focuses on cultural and commercial networks in the Gulf. Two films explore these issues in greater depth, featuring teenagers talking about their lives as they travel through swamps scarred by oil infrastructure and industrial waste.

Photo: "A night hour, as long as night" by Mounira Al Solh (2023) exhibited at the National Museum Cardiff. Photo: Polly Thomas.


"Corps sauvage" by Vernis Rouge

Vernis Rouge first launched "Femme nue", her EP released in January 2023. Corps sauvage", an equally sensual mini-album, was released on 28 September. Love, desire, the body and femininity are the favourite themes of the 24-year-old Franco-Lebanese singer, set to a pop sound.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions

« Soft Shields »

"Soft Shields" is a project presented by the Tanit gallery in Beirut, born in the aftermath of the explosion in the port of Beirut. It weaves together stories gathered during fieldwork by artist Jad El Khoury.

"Walking through the worst-affected streets, the artist met the owners and collected their stories, testimonies and experiences of 4 August 2020. El Khoury has transformed the remains into an immersive installation, blending the personal stories of the residents with the symbolic significance of Beirut's typical landmarks: the balcony curtains. Visitors are invited to wander through the installation and encounter the stories and textiles up close." - press release.


Feurat Alani, winner of the Arab Literature Prize

The author has been awarded the prize for his first novel, "Je me souviens de Falloujah", published by JC Lattès. The jury praised "a moving novel about amnesia and the rediscovery of memory between France and Iraq, about the complex yet tender relationship between a father and his son, about exile and the memories of a country torn apart... with great finesse, tenderness, intelligence and humour".

Feurat Alani, who has already won this year's Senghor Prize and the Version Femina novel prize for his novel, succeeds Tunisian writer Yamen Manai, winner of the Arab Literature Prize in 2022 for his novel Bel Abîme.

At the same time, the Arab Literature Prize for High School Students was awarded to Abdelkrim Saifi for his novel "Si j'avais un franc". Created this year, the €4,000 prize for Arabic literature by secondary school students is awarded by nearly 120 students from general, technological and vocational secondary schools in the Académie de Versailles, who read and voted for their favourite book from the final selection.

The Arab Literature Prize was created in 2013 by the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation and the Arab World Institute, and is endowed with €10,000.

Morocco, Oman

"You Will Not Dive Alone" wins first place at Morocco's International Film and Sea Festival

"You Will Not Dive Alone", a short documentary by Omani director Fahd al Maimani, surprised the jury by winning first prize. The film tells the story of the daily lives of Omani sailors, with immersive scenes recounting the diversity of the sultanate's seabed.

The festival saw the participation of several international films from countries including Spain, Russia, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Iraq.


"Four Daughters" wins Gotham for best documentary in New York

Kaouther Ben Hania's film "Four Daughters" won the prize for best documentary at the annual Gotham Awards 2023 ceremony for independent films, held in New York on Monday.

Ben Hania's film, produced by Habib Attia and Nadim Cheikhrouhou, combines documentary and fiction. The film continues to win awards at international festivals, and will represent Tunisia in the race for the Oscars.


France to return 2 million digitised documents to Algeria

The Joint Commission of Algerian and French historians responsible for the work of remembrance on French colonisation and the Algerian War held its first official meeting on Wednesday 22 November in Constantine.

It was agreed that "2 million digital documents on the colonial period, 29 rolls and 13 registers, making up 5 metres of the remaining archives relating to the Ottoman period, i.e. before 1830" would be handed over to Algeria.


Death of Rami El-Khaled

The Jordanian singer has died.

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.