Mophradat and YATF artistic history
Founded in Brussels in the year 2004 as the Young Arab Theatre Fund/YATF, Mophradat was set up by Tarek Abou el Fetouh as the first support structure for artists and art organizations in the Arab world. Responding to changing needs over time and under the new direction of Mai Abu ElDahab (since 2015), Mophradat (YATF) evolved from an organization committed to developing infrastructure for Arab performing arts to a contemporary arts organization working internationally and across disciplines to create diverse opportunities for professional Arab contemporary artists. Throughout the years Mophradat (YATF) has:
- Played a pivotal role in the development of an independent art scene in the Arab world by supporting the emergence of new art spaces.
- Been a springboard for the successful international careers of contemporary artists from Arab world.
- Been one of the main facilitator of a regional network of contemporary artists, art organizations and practitioners.
- Been one of a handful of organizations bring high quality curated international programs to the Arab world
- Provided a unique research opportunity in the region for a number of renowned international curators.
- Provided financial support through grants to nearly 200 contemporary artists and art organizations.
At first, Mophradat (YATF) played a pivotal role in establishing some of the Arab world’s first independent performing arts spaces. Mophradat (YATF) was involved in funding, designing, rehabilitating, and providing programming consultancy to the following venues between 2000 and 2005: Garage Theatre in Alexandria, Windows Theatre in El Minia, Garden Theatre in Cairo, Nass El Fan in Tunisia, and El Balad Theatre in Amman.
Between 2005 and 2011, Mophradat (YATF) established a grant-making program to provide structural funding to the region’s growing network of art spaces. Some beneficiaries of this program included Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (EG), Beirut (EG), Beirut Art Center (LB), Contemporary Image Collective (EG), Cinematheque de Tanger (MA), Al-Hoash (PS), La Source du Lion (MA), Makan (JO), MASS Alexandria (EG), Maqamat Dance Theatre (LB) Metropolis Cinema (LB), L’Atelier L’Observatoire (MA), 98 Weeks (LB), 100COPIES (EG), amongst many others.
In 2004, seeing the need for support of artistic production and touring, Mophradat (YATF) launched a grants program for artists and organizations in the region. Since its inception, the program has supported over 700 artists and art organizations across disciplines.
Artists who benefited from Mophradat (YATF)’s grants early in their careers include Lebanese choreographer Omar Rajeh, Egyptian artist and musician Hassan Khan, Egyptian Choreographer Adham Hafez, Lebanese artist and musician Raed Yassin, Jordanian artist Oraib Toukan, Egyptian artist Maha Maamoun, Iraqi-British artist Jananne Al-Ani, Egyptian artist Iman Issa, Egyptian theatre-maker Laila Soliman, Libyan-Italian artist Adelita Husni-Bey, Palestinian filmmaker Kamal Aljafari, Lebanese artist Mounira Al Solh, Palestinian research group Decolonizing Architecture, Syrian choreographer and dancer Mithkal Alzghair, amongst many others.
From 2006 to 2017, Mophradat (YATF) initiated, produced and presented a multidisciplinary arts festival called Meeting Points. This series of events, always spread over a multiple year period, was initially curated in-house as a means of circulating new productions between independent art spaces in the region. Starting from the fifth edition it grew to into a touring festival led by a renowned international curator and presented in several cities in the Arab world, Europe and beyond. Some of the curators that have been involved in Meeting Points include Okwi Enwezor, Frie Leysen, Raimundas Malasauskas, What, How and For Whom/WHW, amongst others. Meeting Points has been a crucial platform for artists in the early stages of their careers, who have since gone on to establish successful international presence, these artists include Lebanese musician Tarek Atoui, Syrian theatre-maker Mohammad Al Attar, Tunisian choreographers Selma & Sofiane Ouissi/MUZAQ, Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen, Egyptian artist Basim Magdy, Egyptian artist Wael Shawky, amongst many others. Meeting Points was also an opportunity for presentation of a diverse range of established artists for the first time in the Arab region including Saâdane Afif, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker/Rosas, Bruno Beltrão/Grupa de Rua de Niterói, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Latifa Laâbissi, Tino Sehgal, Tg STAN, amongst many others.