Between the spring of 2012 and the summer of 2013, curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath set out to document a number of in-depth conversations with a number of artists.
These were friends of theirs who were increasingly frustrated with the reductionist discourse concerning the type of political engagement expected from them in response to the upheavals that have since been labeled the “Arab Spring.” Conducted in Cairo, Beirut, Dubai, Paris, London and New York, the 10 interviews in this book are reflective of an ongoing conversation that spans several years. They include 5 women and 6 men, all established mid-career artists originating from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This diversity highlights the heterogeneity of artistic practices, political topologies and social positions that permeate the Arab world; a region often framed within the worn-out rhetoric of identity politics and post-colonial theory. These conversations serve as primary documents for the decades to come, providing the reader with a renewed understanding of what these artists stand for. They shed light on previously unknown personal aspects of their lives underscoring many of their formal and topical choices. Unhampered by thematic narratives and art-historical classifications, or by the overtly politicized readings of history and nations, these conversations offer the reader a candid encounter with these artists within the context of their individual and unique contexts. Gli artisti: Manal Al Dowayan Ghada Amer Lara Baladi Wafa Bilal Mounir Fatmi Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige Khalil Rabah Zineb Sedira Hassan Sharif Akram Zaatari