Grants for Artists 2019

Ahmed Elghoneimy (Egypt, b. 1986) for the production of his short film Al Mawoud, exploring the historical area of Fustat in Cairo, and the tension with its neighboring residents of Ezbet Abu Karn that sits in the backdrop of Ain El-Sira hills. The short film will document the presence of the few remaining hills that used to surround historic Cairo, and the daily interactions of the residents living in its vicinity.

Areej Huniti (Jordan, b. 1989) and Noor Abed (Palestine, b. 1988) for an experimental alternative school project that challenges traditional educational models. The project will transform an art space into a platform for a new type of education that creates partnership and collaboration favoring critical inquiry, awareness, and self-reflection. The project tries to challenge the dominant neoliberal culture that alters one’s relationship to the body and its representations, distancing people from their histories, possible futures, and their present day agencies.

Fana’ Collective (Palestine) for the writing, printing, and publishing of the Black Journal — a multi-discursive cultural quarterly — and the accompanying series of events titled Erectile Dysfunction exploring the untold stories of abandoned buildings with the aim of questioning the meaning of (un)inhabiting spaces in today’s Palestine.

Huda Asfour (Egypt, b. 1983) for a regional music research project on improvisational skills and gestures within Eastern music aesthetics. The project involves a series of public concerts with a conductor and improv musicians taking place in several Arab cities. After documenting the process, Asfour plans to use the material gathered as a tool to support the development of improvisation techniques in Arabic music.

Nadah El Shazly (Egypt, b. 1991) and Philip Rizk (Egypt/Germany, b. 1982) for the re-enactment of a 1972 16-hour live music session considered the first improvised “jazz” recording in the region’s history. It gathered five musicians, including legendary Egyptian percussionist Salah Ragab, in the flat of Harmut Geerken in Heliopolis in Cairo. The new session will bring together Geerken, the only remaining active musician from the original set, along with four contemporary musicians. The subsequent recording will be the central musical component of Rizk’s upcoming film World Without Maps.

Nour El Safoury (Egypt, b. 1992) for an editorial project to be realized in collaboration with artist Mohamed Abdelkarim, and developed out of a series of performance workshops based on scripts authored by the latter. The project will pivot around a cluster of acts, keywords, and movements, including: body, leaning/tilting, narrating; history, serendipity, swimming; renegades, pulling, othering, fictioning, becoming, floating.

Tareque Elsharquawy (Egypt, b. 1990) for the production of a video that seeks to divulge, through an atemporal and dystopian lens, the politicized history of Lake Mariout, which was re-flooded as a result of a battle between the English and the Ottomans in the early 1800s. The video seeks to uncover the moral, geographical, and hydro-political quandaries that envelop the lake.

These projects were selected from over 200 applications, from across the Arab world and elsewhere, by a pre-selection and later a final selection committee that comprised Sarah Abu Abdallah (visual artist, Riyadh), Chris Evans (visual artist, Brussels), Dima Hamadeh (researcher, writer and translator, Beirut), Trajal Harell (dancer and choreographer), Karim Kattan (writer, Bethlehem/Paris), Louly Seif (filmmaker, Cairo), Reem Shilleh (film researcher and curator, Ramallah/Brussels), and Yalda Younes (dancer and choreographer, Beirut).

Alaa Abu Asad (Palestine) and Ulufer Celik (Turkey) for the production of an audiovisual book around identical words used in Turkish and vernacular Palestinian Arabic. This research-based project is a reflection on translation, the relationship between the two languages, and their interconnected histories from an individual perspective.

Rami Chahine (Lebanon) for the implementation of a research-based experiment on collective creation of large-scale interactive installation games. The project focuses on “games” as a free and joyous activity governed by its own rules and offering a fictive second reality that unlocks individual creativity and accentuates non-verbal communication.

Mahmoud Elhosseiny (Egypt) for the production of a graphic design book introducing a new Arabic typeface “The Dictator.” The project is a typographic reflection on the attributes given to the figure of the absolute ruler, and the limits and boundaries of power. It uses a critical graphic design approach to question this discipline, its forms, and effects in and on society.

Shady Emad (Egypt) and Hoor Mallas (Syria) to take part in the danceWEB Scholarship Program, a five-week contemporary dance training in the frame of ImPulsTanz — Vienna International Dance Festival.

Nermin Habib Farag (Egypt) to participate in the Amsterdam Summer Intensive program at Henny Jurriëns Studio — a prominent dance center offering workshops and open training for professional dancers.

Sarah Ibrahim (Egypt) for the production of Before the Mouth Devours, a publication and an experimental short film, exploring a visually- and sonically-distorted geography similar to that of dreams, to reflect on the state of the sleeping body.

Sarah Maher (Egypt) and Engy Mohsen (Egypt) to produce a research-based publication exploring the different spatial and ethnographic aspects of curating a room where different types of knowledge can be generated. The project proposes to rethink existing models of meeting and to explore the ability of a space to allow conversations to unravel.

Mariam Mekiwi (Egypt) for the development phase of her film El Markebba El Omm. The project engages with science fiction, the figure of the femme fatale, and magic realism, to speculate on the relationships of the female body, power, and mothership.

Seif Nechi (Tunisia) for the production of a graphic novel focusing on the events that took place during the Bread Revolution in the 1980s in Tunisia. The novel will tackle these sociopolitical events from an intergenerational and subjective perspective.

Youmna Saba (Lebanon) for a residency at Cité des Arts in Paris during which she will conduct a music research project including theoretical and practical fieldwork on the possibilities of fusion between Arabic traditional music (mainly qasida) and electronic/electro-acoustic treatments.

Jihan Al Tahri (Egypt/France) for the production of an audiovisual memoir charting a map of overheard and remembered soundtracks across the Global South and North, as part of the Lubumbashi Biennale in DR Congo. The project weaves together memories and personal family ties to convey a diasporic hybrid identity composed of Arab, African, and “global” culture.

The projects were selected from over 250 applications ­— the largest number received to date — by a committee that comprised Ahmed El Gendy (choreographer, Cairo/Amsterdam), Simone Frangi (researcher and curator, Milan), Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (curator and researcher, Athens), Manuela Moscoso (curator, Liverpool), and Reem Shilleh (film researcher and curator, Ramallah/Brussels).