Revue culturelle N°95

The Journal

07 - 12 - 23
Issue for subscribers only.
This week's picture

"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 has decorated one of Cairo's oldest districts, Al-Khalifa, which has also been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1979. The four murals denounce the horror of the genocide in Gaza.
Mohamed Moataz has decorated one of Cairo's oldest districts, Al-Khalifa, which has also been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1979. The four murals denounce the horror of the genocide in 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.

Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Türkiye, Yemen, Iran

New additions to the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting on Wednesday 6 December at its 18th session in Botswana, announced a number of new additions, particularly in the Arab world.

Malhoun (Morocco) has been added to the list, and is now recognised as a "reference component of the ancient Moroccan cultural identity" - UNESCO press release. In Turkey, "the traditional knowledge, methods and practices associated with olive growing" have also been recognised as intangible cultural heritage of humanity, as has the know-how associated with mother-of-pearl inlaying (with Azerbaijan). The United Arab Emirates is celebrating the inscription of harees, a popular traditional dish made from wheat grains, meat and ghee. Palestine also sees the dabkeh dance included on the list. The celebration of Sadeh in Iran is now recognised, as is the Lebanese Man'ouché. The "arts, skills and practices associated with metal engraving (gold, silver and copper)" are included for Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Tunisia (also Mauritania and Sudan).

On Wednesday, UNESCO also approved the inclusion of the "socio-cultural traditions" of iftar - the meal at the end of the Muslim fast - as intangible heritage, at the request of Azerbaijan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Türkiye.

Photo: Man'ouche, copyright Ohaila Mortada, Lebanon, 2022.


Moroccan football honoured in Belgium

The 19-year-old Moroccan international Bilal El Khannouss has won the "Belgian Lion" award for the best player of North African origin in the Belgian Pro League.
The Belgian Lionne Award 2023 went to Moroccan international Sakina Ouzraoui, striker for RSC Anderlecht.

Photo: Sakina Ouzraoui. Copyrights David Catry / Belga.


Launch of the programme to safeguard the embroidered saddlery craft of Fez

The first stage of the Moroccan Living Crafts Treasures programme, aimed at preserving embroidered saddlery, has begun at the El Batha Traditional Crafts Training and Apprenticeship Centre in Fez. The programme was launched on 16 November in Rabat.

The idea was launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts and the Social and Solidarity Economy; UNESCO; and in collaboration with master Hicham Seqqat, considered to be a living craft treasure in Fès, who will pass on his knowledge and expertise in the field of Fès embroidered saddlery to eight young craftsmen selected in advance.

The aim is to preserve this ancestral craft and ensure its longevity, through a 9-month training programme," explained Abderrahim Belkhayat, Regional Director of Crafts in Fez.

Morocco, Palestine

Marrakech Film Festival: the winners

Moroccan director Asmae El Moudir won the Grand Prix "Etoile d'Or" at the 20th Marrakech Film Festival for her multi-platform film "The Mother of All Lies".

"The Mother of All Lies" tells the story of young filmmaker Asmae, who visits her parents in Casablanca to help them move house. Once home, Asmae starts sorting through old things from her childhood. Suddenly, she comes across a photo that becomes the starting point of an investigation in which Asmae questions all the little lies her family told her. As she goes along, Asmae explores the memory of her neighbourhood and her country.

It is the first Moroccan film to win the Etoile d'Or in the history of the Marrakech International Film Festival. Produced in 2023, it won the director's prize in the 'Un Certain Regard' section of the Cannes Festival.

Morocco was also represented at this year's awards ceremony by Kamal Lazraq's film Les Meutes, which tied for the Jury Prize with "Bye Bye Tiberias" by Lina Soualem (Palestine).


Nairobi: a fashion show dedicated to the Moroccan caftan

The event was held in the Kenyan capital as part of an exhibition on the crafts and culture of the Kingdom of Morocco, from 27 November to 1 December. The works of four Moroccan designers were presented: Kacem Sahl, Nisrine Ezzaki Bakkali, Maha Bouzoubaa and Salima Elboussini.

Some thirty Moroccan craftsmen, Maâlems and stylists (women and men) exhibited their products and craft skills for seven days, showcasing the diversity and richness of the Kingdom's handicrafts (carpets, jewellery, caftans, etc.).


Settat: National Amateur Film Festival

Taking place from 5 to 9 December, the festival has selected 16 short films for the official competition. The jury for this year's festival is chaired by director Fatima Boubakdi, and includes Hassan Nrais (journalist and art critic), singer Samia Ahmed, actor Mohamed Miftah and Mostapha Benghaleb. The programme of activities includes an amateur film competition, training workshops, a round table and a conference. There will also be a masterclass by the artist Mohamed Miftah, and book signings for Hassan Zainoun's book "Le Rêve interdit" and Abdelali Mazouz's book "Esthétique du cinéma".


Launch of the first Moroccan Forum for Cultural and Creative Industries

Supported by the Hiba Foundation with financial backing from the European Union, the Institut Français du Maroc and the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, and in partnership with the Fédération des Industries Culturelles et Créatives, this first edition is held from 7 to 10 December in Rabat.

It brings together culture professionals, associations, students and entrepreneurs. Its aim is to federate and bring together the various entrepreneurs and players in the cultural and creative industries in Morocco, to act as a genuine platform for exchange and networking, to promote cultural entrepreneurship and to fuel the national debate on the creative and cultural sector.

The forum is part of the "Kawaliss" programme, the Moroccan incubator for cultural and creative industries run by the HIBA Foundation in partnership with the European Union.


FIFA rankings: Morocco maintains 13th position in the world

The kingdom retains its top position in the Arab world, ahead of Tunisia in 28th place.


"Al'Ala", an anthology dedicated to Andalusian music

The work, produced by the Moroccan Andalusian Music Lovers' Association, brings together more than 130 hours of recordings. For the first time, it is accompanied by dual notation in Arabic and universal transliteration, making it accessible worldwide. An innovative application also enables lyrics and taratins to be synchronised while listening.

"Azzedine Kettani, President of the AAMAM, says: "We hope that this book will help speed up the process of getting the Anadalousian music of Morocco al'ala included on UNESCO's list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.


First publication in English for La Croisée des Chemins

For its first publication in English, the publishing house La Croisée des Chemins presents "The House on Butterfly Street", the third novel by the writer and anthropologist Mhani Alaoui. Set in Casablanca, the novel describes the violence in the city, particularly against women. The book has been shortlisted for The 2023 Somerset CIBAs for Literary and Contemporary Fiction.


"Origin": Touria Alaoui's exhibition at the Hassan II Foundation

The Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Residing Abroad is organising the exhibition "Origine", by the artist Touria Alaoui, from 7 December to 8 January 2023 at the Espace Rivages in Rabat. The exhibition is a tribute to her country of origin, Morocco, although she is also French and currently lives in Germany.

"Origine is first and foremost a tribute to my origins and my country, with all its cultural components and roots... Origine is where life begins. The first smells, the first words, the first rays of sunlight, the first colours, it's where the world begins to take on its shape and meaning..." Touria Alaoui. - Touria Alaoui.


"Sleep Away Life" by Zyad El Mansouri

The B Art Gallery in Bouskoura presents the Moroccan artist's new exhibition, entitled "Sleep Away Life", which runs until 23 December. In it, the artist presents works that put man in the foreground, as well as his psychology, anxiety and fragility in the face of life's ups and downs.

Originally from Taza, the artist graduated from the Beaux-Arts de Tetouan and is a painter, draughtsman and amateur musician. He is the winner of the 2023 National Prize for Young Painter Artists.


70 years of the Maison du Maroc in Paris

Founded 70 years ago, the foundation has decided to celebrate this anniversary with an ambitious cultural programme featuring conferences, exhibitions and concerts.

"Morocco on the move" by Mohammed Benlahsen, President of the University of Picardie Jules Verne

  • "Tanger Med, genesis of a giant of the sea" by Mohamed Metalsi, former Director of Cultural Affairs at the Arab World Institute and former Dean of the Euromed Faculty in Fez.
  • "The Tangier-Med port, a lever for Moroccan economic development" by Jaafar Mrhardy, member of the Tangier Med group management board.
  • "Le grand projet de Rabat, modèle d'une agglomération urbaine" by Nadir Yacoubi, Director of the mobility and transport company Tramway Rabat-Salé.
  • « Le grand projet de Rabat, modèle d’une agglomération urbaine » par Nadir Yacoubi, directeur de la société de mobilité et de transport Tramway Rabat-Salé.
  • Concert by Naziha Meftah.

Mercredi 6 décembre :

  • Opening of the exhibition of paintings by the painter and visual artist Mohamed Mourabiti.
  • "Poetry and painting" by the painter and visual artist Mohamed Mourabiti.
  • "Mourabiti, le parcours d'un autodidacte singulier" by Mohamed Metalsi.
  • Arabo-Andalusian music concert by Abderrahim Abdelmoumen

Thursday 7 December:

  • "Artificial intelligence: scope and constraints" by Abdelhadi Zahouani, nutritionist and pharmacologist, Paris.
  • "Morocco in the age of artificial intelligence" by Younès Bennani, Professor of Machine Learning & Data Science at Sorbonne Paris Nord University
  • "Artificial intelligence: a lever for development on the African continent - example of the UM6P AI Movement centre" by Ms Amal Fallah Seghrouchni, Executive President of the UM6P AI Movement, Morocco's international artificial intelligence centre
  • "Heritage and artificial intelligence: what epistemological basis and social link? by Abderrahman Tenkoul, Dean of Euro-Med University
  • "Health in the age of artificial intelligence" by Aïssa Kerkour Elmiad, Professor at Mohamed 1er University, Director of UMR 5M-UMP Oujda, founding member of the Claire International Collective.
  • Concert by Mostafa Harfi, musicologist.

Friday 8 December 2023:

  • "Literary writing in Morocco" by Abdellah Ben Mlih, international consultant and expert in human resources management.
  • "Moroccan literature: the constant renewal of forms and genres" by Abderrahman Tenkoul, Dean of Euro-Med University
  • "Arts and literature" by Mustapha Kebir Ammi, writer
  • Play on the theme of the anniversary of the Maison du Maroc by Improvisation Club de la Cité Universitaire

Saturday 9 December 2023 :

  • Screening of the film "Rock The Kasbah" in the presence of director Laïla Marrakchi
  • Tributes to the late Nourredine Saïl, Edgar Morin, Sabah Abouessalam, Abdelkader Lagtaa.
  • Concert by the group Mizan and karaoke evening.
Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia

FIFM 2023: here are the winners of the Atlas workshops

The Marrakech International Film Festival has brought to a close the 6th edition of the Atlas Workshops, which took place from 27 to 30 November in Marrakech. The event brought together 300 international professionals to discuss a selection of 25 projects and films by a new generation of Moroccan, Arab and African filmmakers.

The Atlas workshops awarded eight prizes this year, with a total prize fund of €126,000. Here is the Arab prize list for this year's Atlas Workshops:

ATLAS POST-PRODUCTION PRIZE with €30,000: "Motherhood" by Meryem Joobeur (Tunisia)

ATLAS PRIZE FOR POST-PRODUCTION with €10,000: "The Magma" by Mia Bendrimia (Algeria)

ATLAS PRIZE FOR DEVELOPMENT with €30,000: "Amnesia" by Dima Hamdan (Palestine)

ATLAS DEVELOPMENT PRIZE endowed with €20,000: "The Camel Driving School" by Halima Ouardiri (Morocco).


Brahimi Safi signs her first novel "Le Quai des rêves" (the dock of dreams)

A year after the publication of his poetry collection "Nostalgies plurielles", Brahimi Safi, a poet from the coastal town of Béni Saf, has just signed his first novel, "Le Quai des rêves", published by El Amir. It's a love story that takes the reader on a journey from Béni Saf to Boussâada (Algeria), Latakia and Aleppo (Syria), via the French capital, Paris.


Publication of a French and Arabic dictionary of the arts

This is the brainchild of Nasreddine Bentayeb, a teacher and specialist in the visual arts. The book covers 3,700 concepts in Arabic and French. This new publication, the first of its kind in France and the second in the Arab world, is illustrated with 209 black-and-white photographs designed to make it easier to understand and assimilate these concepts.

Published by the AGP publishing house, this new dictionary follows a similar initiative in 2004, entitled "Le Dictionnaire des arts plastiques" (the dictionary of fine arts)


Oran: closing of the national photography fair

40 photographers and almost 200 works were on show in Oran over the last few days. Parallel activities were organised alongside the exhibition, including conferences. Photographer Abderrahim from Sétif gave a lecture and workshop on heritage photography. A projection on Palestinian heritage was also organised, with a filmed poem by Benali Meriem.

Plastic ArtsObituaries

Death of Mekki Abderrahmane

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


Interdisciplinary symposium on the work of Mohamed Salah Mzali

On 14 and 15 December, an interdisciplinary symposium will be held at Beït al-Hikma, with a number of speakers including Noureddine Dougui, Kmar Bendana, Slaheddine Larguèche, Khelifa Chater, Samia Charfi-Kassab, M'hamed Oualdi, Samia El Mechat, Anis Marrakchi, Youssef Ben Ismaïl, ...

Mohamed-Salah Mzali published his memoirs in 1972. They were republished in 2023 by Cérès éditions, Beït al-Hikma and the IRMC, in a version compiled and annotated by Elyès Jouini, and supplemented by a monograph by the latter on the subject of Mohamed-Salah Mzali, l'intellectuel et l'homme d'Etat (Mohamed-Salah Mzali, the intellectual and the statesman). This symposium is being held around this work, with a parallel exhibition of photographs to explore the evolution of Tunisia in the aftermath of independence.

Mohamed-Salah Mzali is a Tunisian scholar, historian, economist, teacher, man of letters and politician. He was born in 1896 and was appointed Grand Vizier-President of the Council on 4 March 1954. Mohamed-Salah Mzali died on 22 November 1984.


The Farhat Hached museum reopens to the public

The Minister of Cultural Affairs, Hayet Guettat Guermazi, has announced that the museum of the trade union leader Farhat Hached in La Kasbah is now open to the public. It will soon be expanded to include a library specialising in the trade union movement and a film club.

The minister added in her statement that the museum's scenography will be completed in early 2024, pointing out that the museum is currently hosting a digital exhibition and plans to screen a documentary film retracing the most significant stages in the history of the trade union struggle associated with the national struggle.


Launch of the Carthage Theatre Days

For this 24th edition, the JTC opens in all sobriety. Syrian singer Lynn Adib first performed a sad, nostalgic song, without instruments. For her second performance, she was accompanied by two string instruments and a flute to sing "a song of mourning". It's a moment of celebration, of course, but Palestine and the massacre in Gaza are still fresh in people's minds.

"The theatre has always been and will remain a stage for the voice of just causes and human dignity, including the Palestinian cause" - Moez Mrabet, Artistic Director.

Poems by a young Gazan, Haydar Ghazali, and by Mahmoud Darwich were read by Tunisian actor Raouf Ben Amor and Lebanese actress Hanen Haj Ali at the inauguration.

In all, 62 shows from 28 countries will be delighting audiences in Tunis until 10 December.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions

The "School of Casablanca" project

Exhibitions School of Casablanca, Think Art, Annexe de l'église du Sacré-Coeur, la Coupole, Parc de la Ligue Arabe, École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, until 14 January 2024, then from 15 February to 14 April 2024, ifa-Gallery, Berlin.

Initiated by the Think Art platform in collaboration with the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the "School of Casablanca" project brings together a number of exhibitions until mid-January 2024, using a wide range of archives to recontextualise the emergence of modern art in Morocco.

Under the impetus of Salma Lahlou, founder of the Think Art platform, and Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, several residency periods since 2020 have enabled contemporary artists, independent researchers and various curators to approach the legacy of the Casablanca group from three distinct angles: the democratisation of art, modernist and popular aesthetics, and artistic practice in everyday life.

As his predecessors Chabâa and Melehi did, meaning collaborating with the architects de Mazières and Faraoui on architectural integrations, designer Manuel Raeder works with the Mafoder group to create a series of ergonomic concrete sculptures that will find their place in the Parc de la Ligue Arabe, where most of the exhibitions are held.

Emphasis was also placed on the innovative educational dimension of the Casa group, in line with the alternative model championed by the Bauhaus before it. At the École des Beaux-Arts, a previously unseen video of Moroccan newsreels from 12 October 1962 bears witness to the wind of freedom that was blowing through the institution at the time.

To extend this reflection, a never-before-seen video by the duo Bik Van der Pol recounts a thirty-minute exchange with Bert Flint, as well as another fascinating video shown at the École des Beaux-Arts, 'School of Walking', in the company of Fatima Mazmouz, Hassan Darsi and Mohamed Fariji, inviting visitors to learn by wandering the chaotic streets of Casablanca.

Led by independent researcher Abdeslam Ziou Ziou, the installation "Berrechid 81: On the energy of an impeded movement" looks back at the anti-psychiatry experiment carried out at the Berrechid hospital by Doctor Abdellah Ziou Ziou, who invited a number of artists, including Abdelkebir Rabi and Malika Agueznay, to paint murals with the patients. Aside from the issues specific to the Casa School, this unprecedented initiative, which ended with the psychiatrist's forced departure and the removal of the frescoes, is examined here by various artists (Soufiane Biyari, Fatine Arafati, Sophia Attigui, Said Rami and the graffiti artist Grocco-Trick 54).

Grocco-Trick has created a mural for the occasion, using unusual materials (pigments, acrylics, brushes and markers), aware that the Berrechid experience reflects his concerns as a street artist.

– article Diptyque –

Photo: Nassim Azarzar, All Things Flow, 2023 Wallpaper, sound installation, poster. Variable dimensions. Sound installation: Reda Zniber Voices: Sophia Hadi, Boutayna Mjahed, Reda Zniber.


Antiquity returned to Libya

The Swiss federal authorities have announced that they have returned to Libya a marble head of a young woman from the Hellenistic period, dating back some 2,000 years, discovered ten years ago in a warehouse in Geneva.

The 19-centimetre-high sculpture dates from between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, and most probably comes from the archaeological site of the ancient city of Cyrene, in the Cyrenaica region of present-day Libya.


Death of Ashraf Abdelghafour

Egyptian actor Ashraf Abdelghafour died on 3 December following a road accident.


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.

Summary: "Tarek, a young Syrian-Lebanese doctor, has a well-ordered life until he opens a clinic in the deprived Moqattam neighbourhood. A friendship that is as surprising as it is welcome soon links him with a local resident, Ali, whom he takes under his wing. The relationship develops in a fluid and sensual way, shaking the certainties of the young middle-class man, at odds with his family and his environment. Lies, separations, exile, guilt and relentless downfalls follow one another, disregarding chronology and creating a fresco in which the stories intertwine and the voices merge."

"Above all, this is a love story, the story of two people who were never meant to meet and never should have parted. I wanted people to believe in this happily married man who falls head over heels in love with a young zabbâl from Moqattam. I hoped that readers would come with me to the car where a first kiss would be exchanged, that this kiss would seem as obvious as if they had hoped for it themselves. That was more important to me than any quest for literary originality. - Eric Chacour for OLJ. Translated with (free version)



Founded in November 2021 by Bassam Abou Diab, a prolific actor, dancer and choreographer, the Beirut Physical Lab recently presented Altérations, a performance created in three weeks, under the choreographer's direction, by seven young dancers. The performance was held in front of the Sursock Museum.

Beirut and memory, the archives of the body, are a recurring theme in Bassam Abou Diab's work, as is his love of Beirut, a place for all kinds of experiences and encounters.

Starting in January, he is launching a free three-month workshop in which participants will receive training in dance and choreography. Called BeirootBodies, the workshop is designed to give local, Lebanese and other resident dancers the opportunity to meet and learn from each other's experiences.

Photo: a scene from the show "Pina, my love", by Bassam Abou Diab. Copyrights Andrea Caramelli.


Amal Clooney named one of the BBC's 100 Women of the Year

Amal Clooney, née Alamuddin, has just been included in the new "BBC 100 Women 2023" list, published on 21 November, highlighting in particular a project she is undertaking jointly with Michelle Obama and Melinda French Gates to eliminate early marriage.

Active on more than one front, an advocate for major causes and a specialist in international law and human rights, she is respected around the world for her actions and activism - she was very vocal during the war in Ukraine, represented Julian Assange (co-founder of Wikileaks) and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. However, the Lebanese-born actress has surprised many with her heavy silence since the start of the war in Gaza. No statement in the press or on social networks, notably on her page co-founded with her husband called "Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ)".

Arab World

Forbes: 30 under 30

This year's ranking includes 120 personalities, divided into four categories: scientific technology, entertainment, finance and social impact.

Egyptians are the most represented, with 44 individuals, followed by 15 Saudis, 14 Lebanese, 13 Emiratis and 10 Jordanians.

The list of cultural figures can be found at the following link:


« Pari Beyrouth »

Hugo Danaguezian offers the 140,000 followers of his Instagram page "Pari Beyrouth" personalised recipes. Nourished by his French-Lebanese-Armenian heritage, he juggles social networks, Lahme bi ajin and strawberry lemonade. He is already talking about his plans to open a restaurant in Paris.

"My restaurant is already one of the most popular in Paris, even though I don't have any premises. My aim is to open several restaurants. For the first one, I want to create creative Lebanese cuisine by transforming it with other influences. You can't find the basic ingredients of the Lebanese terroir three quarters of the year in Paris. For example, instead of using tomatoes in winter for the fattouch salad, I replace them with blood oranges". - Hugo Danaguezian.


An Egyptian antique seized from the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille

An Egyptian funerary portrait acquired in 2011 by the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille has been seized by the courts due to "strong suspicions" about its authenticity, the city of Lille said on Wednesday, while an investigation into international trafficking in antiquities is underway.

The portrait of a prominent figure from the Fayum region, painted on a wooden panel, is "known as +Portrait of a Roman soldier+, dating from the 2nd century AD", the city council said in a statement.

A judicial investigation was opened in France in 2020 into international trafficking in antiquities, allegedly leading to the sale of works looted in Egypt during the Arab Spring to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Louvre.


Palais des Raïs in Algiers: two new cultural spaces

The Palais des Raïs arts and culture centre has inaugurated two new cultural spaces.

The first is dedicated to children, offering educational activities based on Algerian heritage. It includes a reading area, a library and a workshop space, offering young visitors an enriching experience.

The second area is reserved for artists and writers, with a literary café that will host authors for debates.

Photo: People walk through the narrow streets of the historic Casbah district in central Algiers on 3 November 2022. Copyrights AFP.

United Arab Emirates

The second edition of the Abu Dhabi Michelin Guide was published on Thursday, with one restaurant receiving a new star.

Erth restaurant in Abu Dhabi was awarded a Michelin star, making it the first Emirati restaurant to win a star. The restaurants that have retained stars are 99 Sushi Bar, Hakkasan and Antonio Guida's Talea, bringing the total number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city to four.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions
Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine

London: "Through Their Eyes: Perspectives Unveiled"

A group exhibition entitled "Through Their Eyes: Perspectives Unveiled" ran from 29 November to 4 December at the Oxo Tower in London, showcasing an eclectic collection of contemporary art by women artists from Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
The event was curated by Christina Shoucair (Lebanon) and Kinzy Diab (Egypt).

The exhibition featured works by Bahraini artist Huda Jamal and Saudi Arabian artist Amira Nazer, Jordanian and Palestinian photographer Farah Foudeh, and others.

Photo: Huda Jamal, 2000, La Madone, 2023.

Arab World

« Because She Created »

Netflix is taking part in the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah - which runs until 9 December - with an area dedicated to Arab women directors, entitled "Because She Created".

Three personalities will be highlighted:

  • Adwa Bader, the Saudi-American interdisciplinary artist and star of Netflix's upcoming local film 'NAGA';
  • Saudi writer, performer, actress and director Fatima Al-Banawi, who is about to release her first film 'Basma';
  • Haya Abdelsalam, senior producer and creative director of the Kuwaiti Netflix series "Devil's Advocate".
Arab World, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia

RSIFF announces the winners of the Red Sea Souk Awards

The Red Sea International Film Festival announced on Tuesday the winners of the Red Sea Souk Awards, which offer grants to develop projects by emerging Saudi, Arab and African filmmakers.

Arab Cinema Center will be awarded two supported places at the Rotterdam Producers Lab International Film Festival.
Saudi winner: Ghaidaa Abuazzah ("Aux côtés de Hasnaa")
Arab winner: Fatma Racha Shehadeh ("The Girl and the Missing Bed") - Lebanon

MAD Solutions will receive $50,000 for a project in development, production or post-production.
Winner: "Nostalgia: A Life in the First Chapter" by Ameer Fakher Eldin (Syria)

OTICONS will receive a Work-in-Progress film with music consulting services worth $5,000.
Winner: "Les hommes au soleil" by Mahdi Fleifel (Palestine).

SHIFT STUDIOS will receive $12,000 for a promotional package and $8,000 for a full DCP package.
The $8,000 winner: "Men in the Sun" by Mahdi Fleifel (Palestine).

The Arab Radio and Television Network will receive a grant of $10,000 for a Saudi project in development or production and $50,000 for an Arab project in development or production.
The winner of the $10,000 grant: "The Night Whisperer" by Lina Mahmoud (Saudi Arabia).
The winner of the $50,000 grant: "Love Conquers All" by Danielle Arbid (Lebanon).

CineWaves Films will receive $50,000 for a project in development, production or post-production.
Winner: "La Mecque, Berlin" by Majtaba Saeed (Saudi Arabia)

Ithra will receive $50,000 for a Saudi Arabian project in production or post-production.
Winner: "The Night Whisperer" by Lina Mahmoud (Lebanon).

MBC Academy/Shahid will receive $75,000 for a Saudi project in development, $75,000 for a Saudi project in development, production or post-production and $50,000 for an Arab project in development or post-production.
The winner of the $75,000 prize for a Saudi project in development: "In the Beginning, It Is The End" by Ghadeer Binabbas (Saudi Arabia)
The winner of the $75,000 prize for a Saudi project in development, production or post-production. Winner: "By Hasnaa's Side" by Amaal Youssif (Saudi Arabia)
The winner of the $50,000 prize for an Arab project in development or post-production: "Madness and Honey Days" by Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji (Iraq).

The Project Market Jury Prize went to : "Aux côtés de Hasnaa" by Amaal Youssif, and "Mon père a tué Borghiba" by Fatma Riahi (Tunisia).
The Red Sea Souk Special Jury Mention, worth $25,000, was awarded to "Love Conquers" by Danielle Arbid (Lebanon).
The Red Sea Souk Development Prize, worth $35,000, was awarded to "Quand je ferme les yeux, je vois tes yeux" by Sameh Alaa (Egypt).

United Arab Emirates, Iraq

Dubai: "Fragile Construct" by Walid Siti

Two places occupy an important place in Walid Siti's work: the Malwiya minaret in Samarra, dating from the 9th century; and the mountains of his native Kurdistan, where the artist's father took refuge in the 1960s as part of the Kurdish national movement.

Siti has been depicting them since he began working in London in 1984, and his early ink drawings and woodcuts tell the story of his exile and his love for his homeland.

Siti's work can be seen at the Meem Gallery until 3 February.

Photo: "White Peaks", 2023, Walid Siti.

Plastic ArtsExhibitions
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Syria

Dubai: « Art Here »

Saudi artists Zahrah Al-Ghamdi, Sarah Brahim and Alaa Tarabzouni have been shortlisted for the Richard Mille Art Prize and will have their work showcased at the Louvre Abu Dhabi's forthcoming "Art Here" exhibition, which runs from 24 November to 18 February.

The designers are joined by four other artists from the region: Hashel Al-Lamki from the United Arab Emirates, Farah Behbehani from Kuwait, Syrian siblings Sawsan and Bahar Al-Bahar and Indian artist Nabla Yahya.

This year, the candidates will work on the theme of "Transparency" through a range of original sculptures and installations.

"Waterdust", for example, pays tribute to the Syrian craft of glassblowing, threatened by the war. The sculptural installation is placed around a Damascene fountain, establishing a new parallel with a second Syrian skill, but also recalling the threat posed by the capital (symbol of the government) to the rest of the country and its survival.

Zahrah Al Ghamdi's art piece recounts the negative effects of human activity on the planet. The installation takes the form of a tree, twisted and surrounded by animal bones and waste. Plastic curtains surround the tree. The work is intended as a powerful reminder of the effects of climate change and of mankind's duty to preserve the health of the Earth.

In collaboration with Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, the Louvre Abu Dhabi launched the second edition of the Richard Mille Art Prize with the "Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here" exhibition. The $60,000 prize is intended to be a platform of support and recognition for artists who contribute to pushing the boundaries of contemporary art in the United Arab Emirates.

United Arab Emirates

Arabian Days

Taking place from 15 to 18 December at Manarat Al Saadiyat, the new Arabian Days cultural festival offers concerts, film screenings, art exhibitions and literary discussions. Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, it also coincides with World Arabic Language Day on 18 December.

Among the singing stars expected to perform are opera singer and pianist Fatima Al Hashemi, soul singer Aqram, Palestinian singer Noel Kharman, Lebanese star Marwan Khoury, etc.

The main gallery space at Manarat Al Saadiyat will host an exhibition by Iraqi artist Mahmoud Shubbar.

In collaboration with Cinema Akil, Arabian Days will be screening a number of Arab films, including 'The Last Queen' by Algerian directors Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri.

Writers, intellectuals and historians will also come together for a three-day conference exploring the diversity of the Arabic language through various media. Egyptian actress and comedienne Mona Zaki will be on hand to discuss the evolution of Arab theatre.

Further information is available at 

Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize 2023

The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature has announced the six books shortlisted for the Saif Ghobash Banipal 2023 Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. The prize awards $3,800 to a translator who has contributed to the promotion of an Arabic literary work through its translation into English.

The shortlist includes

  • Bruce Fudge for a translation of "The Turban and the Hat" by Egyptian author Sonallah Ibrahim (Seagull Books)
  • Paula Haydar for a translation of 'The King of India' by Lebanese author Jabbour Douaihy (Interlink Books)
  • Paula Haydar and Nadine Sinno for a translation of "Firefly" by Lebanese author Jabbour Douaihy (Seagull Books)
  • Sawad Hussain for a translation of "What Have You Left Behind?" by Yemeni writer Bushra al-Maqtari (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • Luke Leafgren for a translation of 'Mister N' by Lebanese writer Najwa Barakat (And Other Stories)
  • M. Lynx Qualey for a translation of "Thunderbird: Book One and Thunderbird: Book Two" by Palestinian Sonia Nimr (University of Texas Press)
Jordan, Palestine

Karama Human Rights Film Festival

This new edition, organised by the Royal Cultural Center in Amman from 5 to 12 December, is dedicated to Palestine. It will open with the documentary "Yallah Gaza" by Roland Nurier. The entire programme, comprising over 70 films, can be found at

As part of the "Identity and the City" programme, which aims to strengthen the role of creative youth as a force for influence in society, the "Youth Forum" will focus on "Artistic intervention in times of crisis and war", with the participation of a number of artists and filmmakers.

Morocco, Tunisia

Muhammad Al-Moncef Al-Wahaibi wins the Sharjah Prize for Poetic Criticism

Tunisian critic Moncef Al-Wahaibi has won first place in the Sharjah Prize for Arabic Poetry Criticism for his research into "The structure of poetic discourse in contemporary Arabic poetry between metaphor and metaphor".

The Moroccan critic Anouar Benaich came second, and the Moroccan critic Hussein Benbada third.

Arab World, Iraq

Baghdad: Arab Theatre Festival

The Arab Theatre Authority has selected 20 performances to take part in the 14th session of the Arab Theatre Festival, to be held from 10 to 16 January in Baghdad.

13 plays have been selected for the competitive section of the festival, performed by troupes from Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, the Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait and Jordan. The festival is also presenting five plays from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Morocco in a non-competitive section, as well as two plays from Sudan and Palestine.


Amman: "Color Gasp" exhibition by Said Haddadin

The exhibition is held at the National Gallery until 31 December. The colourful portraits painted by the Jordanian artist tell of the suffering of the human condition. With their cold colours, elongated faces and closed eyes, the long silhouettes follow one another, prompting us to reflect on today's society, which seems devoid of feeling.


The Boghossian Foundation rewards five Lebanese talents

Given the current circumstances, and in solidarity with the people of southern Lebanon and Gaza, the awards were announced at the Foundation's offices in Beirut, far from any celebrations, as Mary Boghossian Salamé, Director of the Foundation in Beirut, explained.

In the Visual Arts category, Ahmad Ghaddar, who also goes by the name Renoz, won the prize. The 29-year-old Lebanese university graduate has taken part in several exhibitions in Beirut and other European cities.

In the literature category, the Youth Prize (for 8-12 year-olds) went to author Antoine Chartouni for his book in Arabic Un renard dans la maison, while a special prize was awarded to the book's illustrator, Abd el-Razzak al-Salhani. The Manuscript Prize (for 13-15 year-olds) went to Jana Slayka for her Arabic book La mer me parle parfois.

The Cinéma Coup de Coeur prize went to young filmmaker Omar Gabriel for his documentary film L'album d'Omar. The prize was presented by producer Cyril Bassil, who was present at the awards ceremony.

The winners receive $5,000 (visual arts), $4,500 (children's literature, manuscripts and illustration) and $10,000 (film) and are invited to stay at the Foundation's Villa Empain artists' residence in Brussels.


The cinema of Jocelyne Saab, retrospective

Until 10 December, a retrospective of the work of the Lebanese war reporter and film-maker, who died in 2019, takes place in several cinemas in Paris. The retrospective is held as part of the Noisy-le-Sec Franco-Arab Film Festival.

Born in 1948 in Beirut, the young brunette woman, whose silhouette appears in the poetic "Beirut, ma ville" (1982), covered the war in Lebanon (1975-1990), seeking poetry amid the ruins, notably in "Les Enfants de la guerre" (1976).

In 1993, in the aftermath of the war in Lebanon, Jocelyne Saab embarked on a project to reconstitute a Lebanese film library in Beirut, a vast task of archiving and restoring works that led to a series of screenings at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage in Tunisia. Jocelyne Saab also documented the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution, with "Iran, l'utopie en marche" (1980).

Also involved in the Palestinian question, "Le Front du refus" (1975) tells the story of the fedayeen and their daily lives.

This retrospective also celebrates the release of the DVD box set "Jocelyne Saab, cinéaste (période 1974-1982)", and the publication of "Le livre pour sortir au jour" by Jocelyne Saab by Éditions commune. The writer Sabyl Ghoussoub, winner of the 2022 Goncourt des lycéens prize for "Beyrouth-sur-Seine", is associated with this retrospective of Jocelyne Saab's films (in February 2024 in Marseille).

Jocelyne Saab retrospective. Programme in Paris, until 10 December.

Algeria, Palestine

Suzanne el Kenz publishes "De glace et de feu" (ice and fire)

Suzanne el Kenz, an Algerian-French Palestinian writer, has just published "De glace et de feu" (Ice and Fire) with Editions Barzakh. The novel tells the story of a sick woman hospitalised in France who imagines escaping her pain by taking a trip to the glaciers. A woman of the Mediterranean, she also wants to escape her roots.

Suzanne El Farrah El Kenz lives in Nantes, where she teaches Arabic at a secondary school. Born in 1958 in Gaza, ten years after the Nakba, she has lived in several countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia and France. She was awarded the Grand Prix Yambo-Ouologuem in February 2010 for her novel "La Maison du Néguev" (the house of Neguev).

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.