Syrian Artists Support Programme- Laboratory Of Arts/3rd Edition
About The Programme
The Syrian Artist Support Programme - Laboratory Of Arts is a programme being launched by Ettijahat- Independent Culture, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut. It directs its focus at Syrian artists and cultural organisations, and seeks to create a supportive and free environment for creative practices, 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, within the following artistic formats:
o Cinema and Animation
o Theatre, Dance, and Performance Art
o Creative Writing
o Visual Arts, including Fine Arts, Installations, and Graphic Design
The programme is aimed at artists and existing initiatives in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey, as well as countries of refuge and exile in Europe; responding to the developments of the Syrian cultural landscape and the current locations of Syrian artists. This will be achieved through the provision of ten grants, each up to the value of $5000.
Third edition grantees
Cinema and Animation
- Eyas Almokdad
(The Last Scene) is a documentary about the beginnings of the Syrian revolution. With this film, Eyas returns to the first videos, filmed by his younger brother Orwa, of the noble part of this peaceful uprising. The film explores how these visual documents become a form of discussing how those who call for freedom were defeated throughout history, and how Syrian revolutionaries made these visual documents to be their tombstones. The older brother searches for the face of his younger brother who grew up, changed, and faced the challenges that made him a cinematic hero in a film that searches for its last scene.
- Morhaf Youssef
(Crowns) is a 2D animated short film that uses interaction between visual and audio to tell its story. The film follows two neighbouring fictional kingdoms that came from nowhere. Soldiers of both kingdoms keep dying in constant wars, fuelled by the kings’ desire to control everything. After exhausting their armies, the two kings, themselves, fight. A new anonymous king appears from nowhere and wins over both their weakened kingdoms, and extends his own carpet over their torn apart carpets.
- Salam Alhasan
(Snow of Damascus) Animation film, two fighting sides in Damascus, the Square of Marjah to be exact, at the heart of the Syrian capital. At a moment of equality in losses, the two sides hold for a moment. The two leaders approach the centre of the square cautiously, as the snow of Damascus starts to fall to wipe out the marks of the battle and a new image starts forming; something no one saw coming.
- Ahmed Katlish
(Audio Anthology of Syrian Poetry in Exile) seeks to collect a group of poems written by Syrian poets after they sought refuge in neighbouring countries and Europe. The project will include an analysis of the positive and negative changes that occurred to Syrian poetry after exile. It will also analyse the changes that occurred to the poets themselves, having become refugees, and to their expressions. Ultimately, the project sheds light on cases of creative maturity as a result of deepened human experiences.
- Dima Wannous
(Tale of a Refugee) is a book of testimonials and stories about Syrian refugees in Lebanon, telling their stories in Syria, before and during the revolution. The stories continue to tell how these refugees came to Lebanon, and their psychological and actual suffering under bombings in Syria’s ‘hot zones.’ The book is a project to document the Syrian revolution from the perspective of the marginalised human individual. The project is a collection of these stories in a book about the Syrian being. The stories will be written in a literary style to make their suffering known to as many readers as possible. The project aims to focus on the value of individuals so that they can be seen as people, rather than statistics. Through the stories, the book shows that the suffering of each individual Syrian is different and unique. This is a testament to the fact that the Syrian revolution allowed Syrians to reclaim their individualities from a regime that tried to make them into deformed copies of one another.
- Haitham Hussien
(The Ordeal of Refuge and the Curse of Exile) “Agatha Christie, let me tell you how I live.” The project aims at approaching the lives of Syrian refugees in the UK from the perspective of the writer’s own experience. The book explores the refugees’ relationship with the new society, the new conflicts they find themselves into, their reactions to what they are experiencing and suffering, and what they strive to achieve in the face of misunderstanding. The project narrates tales and explores concepts and imagination by historical and biographical documentations whilst striving to describe images of life experiences as well as create a fictional dialogue with the famous British novelist, Agatha Christie, who lived in the same city as the writer in 1930’s and wrote part of her autobiography Come Tell How You Live.
- Ibrahim Kadar
(The Sound of an Immigrant) is a music piece that captures the life of Syrians before and after 2011, expressing the catastrophe Syrians went through. The piece starts with the sound of the kawala instrument and evolves into abrupt, non-harmonised tunes. The loud music captures the Syrian war and its violent effects, from internal displacement to forced immigration. This forms a rhythmic song with dancing tunes that alter between slowing down and speeding up and allow for the emergence of new tunes that use harmonic open instruments in order to express the complicated choices faced by immigrants as well as the hardships awaiting them, whether on the road, or in the countries of refuge.
- Khouarif Group
(Anthem of Choking) In a parody of the Syrian Baath Party anthem, Anthem of Choking is a song within a music video that aims at accessing people’s unconscious memory, cultivated by Baath Party propaganda, to alter it in such a manner that reveals the truth about said propaganda. The goal of choosing the Baath Party anthem is to explore the similarities between the behaviour of the party before the Syrian revolution with the behaviour of some politicians and activists attributed to the revolution. The video achieves that by showing a timeline of the last six years with a satirical view of how some people made use of the general situation for self-interest.
- Mohannad Nasser
(Loud Whispers) Written for the oud instrument, Loud Whispers captures contradictory feelings we experience every day, in eight pieces based on literary pieces. The project is a group of oriental impressions that explore several emotional states with the oud, being the instrument that symbolises the region’s civilisation and embraces other civilisations. The project is the sum of the composer’s emotions that were heightened by war, alienation, waiting, and nostalgia.
Theatre and Performance Art
- Lama Khalil
(Insomnia) Through excerpts of a man in his 30’s, Insomnia tells the story of a Syrian trying to rediscover his new life, after being constantly on move from Syria to Lebanon and Turkey, ending up in Germany, and after losing all principles, goals, and dreams in a fleeting moment. The play explores how revolution, war, immigration, displacement, and loneliness took their toll on his life. The young man starts having sleeping disorders, due to severe insomnia. He tries to recall images, places, and people from his past life to help him reconnect himself to reality. All this happens without any links to his current reality—a mixture of daydreams, harsh reality, and illusions. He is trying to contextualise his new life with images from the past, in order to know whether he is awake or dreaming. Does he really exist, or is all this just an illusion? Who was he and who is he now? What is the answer?
- Wael Ali
(Temporary Address) is a play which explores the question of immigration from the East since 1915. An old audio message, recorded on a cassette tape in 1976, is discovered by chance. The message is from a man who escaped the civil war in Beirut trying to contact his family that remained there. Starting with this cassette tape, we find a connected series of immigrations, from one country to another and from one era to another. Immigrants repeat the same questions and the same scenes. Only the methods, which they use to document their lives, change.
- Raed Zeno
(Marriage Contract) aims to create an audio-visual space to explore the question of arranged marriages and honour in Arab societies in general and the Syrian society in particular. The project openly and provocatively questions the social burdens of the past to allow us to reconsider old habits and traditions. This is achieved with local symbols and rituals shown in paintings, video art, and sound effects.
- Mohamad Omran
(Crowd) In the form of an art booklet of ten paintings, Crowd reproduces the image of mass crowds in Syria, from the 1980’s to the present day. The booklet relies on painting as an implementation technique, with written texts that present the paintings and the events they depict. It contains a selected group of scenes that embody the idea of the crowd and introduces readers to the modern history of Syria by exploring the collectiveness of crowds. The scenes depicted in the booklet include demonstrations and funerals at the beginning of the Syrian uprising, the funeral of the former president, groups at governmental stores, mass displacement, and summer picnics near the Unknown Soldier memorial in Damascus, locally known as the ‘sairan.’
The selection committee of the Laboratory of Arts
Cinema and Animation: Amer Shomali (Palestine), Fares Alhelou (Syria), Rania Stephan (Lebanon).
Creative Writing: Hassan Nejmi (Morroco), Leila Chammaa (Lebanon-Germany), Rosa Yassin (Syria).
Music: Ashraf Kateb (Syria-Germany), Kamylia Jubran (Palestine), Toufic Farroukh(Lebanon-France).
Theater and Performance Art: Amal Omran (Syria), Hassan El Geretly (Egypt), Mey Seifan (Syria-Germany).
Visual Arts: Asem Al Basha (Syria), Mouneer Al-Shaarani (Syria), Samar Martha (Palestine).
To read the FAQs and Ettijahat grant guide, please click on the files below: