Syrian Artists Support Programme- Laboratory Of Arts/ 2nd Edition
About The Programme
The Syrian Artist Support Programme - Laboratory Of Arts is a programme being launched by Ettijahat- Independent Culture for its second year, in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. It directs its focus at Syrian artists and cultural organisations, and seeks to create a supportive and free environment for creative practises, responding to new possibilities as they emerge. It also aims to empower artists and organisations, enabling them to accomplish and develop their creativity through a substantial grants scheme.
The programme aims to support the production of new artistic works through all mediums of artistic and creative expression, including the following formats:
o Cinema and Animation
o Theatre, Dance, and Performance Art
o Creative Writing
o Fine Arts, Installations, Visual Arts, and Graphic Design
The programme is aimed at artists and existing initiatives in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey through the provision of ten grants, each to the value of $5000.
First edition grantees
Cinema and Animation
"House of the Two Rivers" is a cinematic project on the rare and short-lived history of Iraqi Mandaeans living in Damascus, presented in a new approach focusing on a human population closed in on its heritage and the old city's legacy of openness.
The film deals with themes of homeland and belonging through the story of "Salam", a sculptor, and his return to making sculptures in Damascus with the work titled "The Scream", his own cry to stop the bloodshed and human fragmentation and an appeal to prevent the destruction of his cultural identity to make today’s Damascus a safe homeland in a time when the city is witnessing one of the largest migrations of our age.
Mezar Al Matar
“The Punctured Ceiling of Memory” is a film project on the “dead” village of Serjila in Idlib, which was abandoned by its residents 1300 years ago. The village has suddenly come back to life with new residents who have migrated from the destructive war surrounding them to dwell like phantoms in houses abandoned for hundreds of years.
The film follows the lives of three families who arrived at the village to build new homes, depicting their relationship with the place and its changing features. It is also an account of the new residents’ daily life, forced to go back 1300 years in time, their lives have been ruined by war and who are unknowingly destroying a historical site, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Their current life now has blended with the myths of the village’s ancient residents, now mere ghosts of the place.
“Real Estate Misdemeanours” is an architectural multimedia project that aims to document a range of changes in the architectural and urban landscape in Damascus. The work focuses on current and future real estate projects that are somewhat aimed for the city’s development without really knowing whether this will be achieved.
<<real estate misdemeanour is deliberately distorting a city’s image, and is connected to an unconscious future, an unacceptable present and a past detached from its context>>
“Math Book” is an installation project in vacuum, based on creating sculpture blocks of cement inspired by the geometric shapes illustrated in a school math book that was found by the artist in a bombed house in Kafr Nabl. The installation includes the book’s cadaver cased in a square glass coffin and another book hand-copied from the original, which will be available to leaf through.
“The Diary of Yousef and Dalal” is a project that deals with the shifting reality of a migrant Syrian family in Turkey and the details of their everyday life, presented in a simple comedic format. The project does not address major events, rather their effects on the Syrian family’s simple life routine now faced with drastic changes.
The project insists on writing in the simplest form possible, for it doesn’t really matter that anybody who writes is required to be a writer, and a talented and gifted one for that matter. The book includes real photographs of Yousef and Dalal as a new form of documentation with comedy.
Under 35 Productions
“Under 35 Online Magazine”: after the launch of the Under 35 project specialized in creating customized internet content, with more than 80 videos produced, the magazine launch will be the first of its kind in terms of content since the project aspires to focus on YouTube productions regionally and worldwide in addition to independent cinema. The online magazine aspires to expand into an Arab cultural magazine concerned with issues faced by young people while providing them with a platform to participate and share their ideas.
Theatre and Performance Art
“Ticket to Atlantis” is a performance and audio-visual project on the relationship between the human body and the sea presented within a sensory historical context. Performers and the audience will share a journey in search of lightness. The performance takes as a starting point the experiences of migrants at sea as a lived experience and asks: what happens when we connect the obsessive occupation to find a safe place to live with the legend of Atlantis?
Yasser Abu Shaqra
“The Last Month of the Fifth Year” is theatre project about a Syrian-Palestinian playwright who is living in Turkey and looking for his next play’s subject. At his workplace, he meets a Syrian gay man ten years younger. The playwright decides to write his next play about the young man he meets, documenting his life through regular meetings while getting involved in its details. Meanwhile the writer’s relationship with his girlfriend is changing as she moves from one place to another. Turkish and Syrian characters enter a web of relationships and the search for a play becomes a search for the meaning of love, war and identity in all senses.
“Bouzouki” is a project of experimental musical compositions on the bouzouki family of instruments. By using the saz, baglama and bouzouki to compose music for each of the instruments with folk lyrics from the Kurdish tradition, this would be a step that paves the way to demonstrate the string instruments’ richness away from the concept of rapid consumption.
“The Explosion” is an orchestral recording project named after the general situation in Syria and the region, especially relating to Homs during the Syrian crisis. The work expresses the psychology of individuals with dual value systems, as well as the loss of certain components of society and the effect on individuals this has with ensuing changes in identity.
The selection committee of the Laboratory of Arts
Cinema and Animation: Carol Mansour (Lebanon), Mohamed Al Daraji (Iraq), Nabil Almaleh (Syria)
Visual Arts: Ayman Baalbaki (Lebanon), Fadi Yazji (Syria), KHaled Hourani (Palestine)
Creative Writing: Mohamed Al Rashi (Syria), Najwa barakat (Lebenon), Rashid Al Daif (Lebanon)
Theatre and Performance Art: Naela Al Atrash (Syria), Nora Haakh (Germany), Sulayman Al Bassam (Kuwait)
Music: Fawaz Baker (Syria), Manfred Leuchter (Germany)
This programme is in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, and through Ettijahat- Independent Culture’s reception of a ‘Sustaining Support Grant’ from the Roberto Cimetta Fund throughout the preparation of the launch of the 2nd edition of the Laboratory Of Arts programme.
Special thanks go to Action For Hope organisation for their continued support of Ettijahat's work.
The Frequently Asked Questions can be downloaded through the links below: