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Memory For Forgetfulness: AFAC’s Arab Documentary
Photography Program group exhibition at ATHR, 5th Floor,
Space 01

PRESS RELEASE

Memory For Forgetfulness 

ADPP Group Exhibition 

Curated By Hester Keijser

 

In collaboration with AFAC, Magnum Foundation & Prince Claus Fund

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Introducing the AFAC’s Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP) with installationsby Omar Imam, Reem Falaknaz, Natalie Naccache and Samar Hazboun.

Amidst major societal transformations, the bulk of visual documentation in the Arab region is funneled through mass media outlets. There is little opportunity for local documentary photographers to produce creative long-form stories. The Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP) was launched in 2014 by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the Prince Claus Fund (PCF), and Magnum Foundation (MF) as an intensive three-year initiative to stimulate the production and distribution of compelling and unconventional documentary work. 

Each year, a jurors’ committee comprised of Arab and international experts selects a cohort of grantees to complete proposed projects with financial support and individual mentorship from expert practitioners. The first ADPP grantees are 9 regional photographers representing 8 countries across the Middle East. Together, their projects put forth innovative, personal and surprising explorations of social issues relevant to the Arab world. Their narratives explore the displacement of Syrian refugees, violence against women, tenuous labor conditions, vanishing landscapes and invisible subcultures, offering an in-depth alternative to mainstream journalistic coverage.

Hosted by Athr, "Memory for Forgetfulness" celebrates the completion of the first cycle of workshops, introducing work by the 2014 grantees: Amira Al-Sharif (Yemen), Eman Bedir (Egypt), Faisal Al Fouzan (Kuwait), Hamada El Rasam (Egypt), Natalie Naccache (Lebanon), Omar Imam (Syria), Reem Falaknaz (UAE), Samar Hazboun (Palestine) and Zara Samiry (Morocco).

 

THE ARAB FUND FOR ARTS AND CULTURE

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) was established in 2007 by local cultural lobbyists as an independent initiative that funds individuals and organizations in the fields of cinema, performing arts, literature, music and visual arts while facilitating cultural exchange, research and cooperation across the Arab world and globally.

The measurable impact of AFAC’s work ranges from Arab filmmakers screening their films at international film festivals; to translations of foreign contemporary literature into Arabic, distributed for free on the Internet; to archives that collect, document and preserve images of daily life during better times, in conflict-torn countries like Lebanon and Iraq; to workshops that teach children to weave stories through puppetry and animation; to sharing contemporary narratives from the region with the global public.

Their grantees’ work has been reviewed in the local and international press; they have been invited to participate in high-profile festivals, artist exchanges and residencies, and have, in turn, inspired hundreds of others to pursue artistic endeavors through workshops and trainings. Despite these successes and a measure of international recognition, AFAC awardees have overwhelmingly continued to work within the region and focus their cultural production on a local context.

 

THE PRINCE CLAUS FUND 

The Prince Claus Fund was established on 6 September 1996 as a tribute to Prince Claus's dedication to culture and development. The Fund believes that culture is a basic need and the driver of development. 

The Prince Claus Fund supports artists, critical thinkers and cultural organizations in spaces where freedom of cultural expression is restricted by conflict, poverty, repression, marginilizatoin or taboos. Annually, the Fund grants Prince Claus Awards to individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. The Fund also provides first aid to cultural heritage damaged by man-made or natural disaster.

In the past 18 years, the Fund has supported over 2000 cultural initiatives; it has also presented Awards to 205 outstanding cultural achievers and provided cultural emergency aid in more than 221 emergency situations. 

Over the years, the Fund has built a diverse global network of excellent people, many of them role models in their own societies. This network of trust and mutual respect is the backbone of the Fund. Local partners and initiatives guide all the Fund’s work, following the conviction of Prince Claus that people are not being developed, but develop themselves. 

 

MAGNUM FOUNDATION

The Magnum Foundation champions in-depth, independent documentary photography that fosters empathy, engagement, and positive social change. The foundation supports, trains, and mentors the next generation of photographers and seeks to increase the impact of both historical and contemporary documentary photography in the digital age. The foundation’s programs encourage compelling, independent documentation, active collaboration with media and grassroots organizations on distribution strategies, and the innovative presentation and exhibition of high-quality documentary work.

Memory For Forgetfulness: AFAC’s Arab Documentary Photography Program group exhibition at ATHR, 5th Floor, Space 01

Sep 9 – Sep 30, 2015