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Conversations About Contemporary Cultural Practices: Syria as a Model 2017-2020


This series is produced and presented by the researcher Jumana Al-Yasiri, within the framework of the cultural work priorities programme and tries to present a reading of how the world perceives what is happening in Syria through the production of its artists, many of whom are in diaspora. It is certain that this production constitutes of interesting material that reflects historical transformations, the least that can be said about it that; it is grinding and raises controversy on the role of artists as witnesses to their era and on their intellectual and moral responsibilities. This series also stops at the work of international cultural and artistic institutions and the individuals in charge of them, especially the influential ones who works on representing and arranging narratives of the Syrian story, as it is rewritten by Syrian artists.

The series includes five interviews with the Artistic Director of Shubbak Festival Eckhard Thiemann, Curator, Researcher and Cinematography Author Rasha Al Salti, Curator Delphine Leccas, Artist and Sculptor Mohamad Omran, and Director Omar Abu Saada.

In the foreword of the series Jumana says: "It became clear to me that in order to talk about the international representation and reception of the narratives of the Syrian catastrophe through the arts, one must talk about contemporary artistic practices in a wider context. I came to the conclusion that the Syrian case is only one model on the global arts map, and that Syrian artists are today part of a much more complicated chain of networks and practices that also applies to the broader representation of the non-Western world on the international artistic scene. This is especially the case now that so many artists are living in lands that are not theirs, often obliged to abandon their mother tongues in their new professional contexts. Syria’s contemporary history certainly complicates things and provokes a spectrum of reactions, ranging from anxiety to panic and even denial in the face of the catastrophe and its short and long-term consequences. But ultimately, there are systems that apply to everyone, a working language that everyone has to master no matter where they come from."

To read the complete forword please click here 

Episodes


Conversation with Eckhard Thiemann Artistic Director & CEO of Shubbak Festival

Eckhard Thiemann is a Programme Organizer, specializing in dance, contemporary Arab culture, internationalism, and festivals. He is the Artistic Director & CEO of Shubbak Festival, London’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture (www.shubbak.co.uk), and a Programme Associate at the Dance for The Lowry (www.thelowry.com). Eckhard chaired the selection committee at the Surf the Wave UK Showcase 2019. 

Conversation with Curator and Researcher Rasha Salti

Researcher, writer and curator of art and film. Rasha lives and works between Beirut and Berlin.

Conversation with Artistic Curator Delphine Leiccas

Based in Damascus until 2011, Delphine was responsible for the cultural program at the French Cultural Center from 2001 until 2007. She is co-founder of the non-profit organization AIN and curator of multidisciplinary events on contemporary art that focus on artists from the Arab world in general and from Syria in particular. She was the exhibitions manager during "Damascus, Arab Capital of Culture 2008" and proposed a cycle of exhibitions of national art collections entitled "Retrospective of Fine Arts in Syria", in addition to a collection of Syrian art publications. 

Conversation with Artist and Sculptor Mohamad Omran

Born in Damascus in 1979, Mohamad graduated from the Department of Sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts - Damascus University in 2000, where he worked as a teaching assistant from 2005 until 2007. He holds a Master’s degree in History of Contemporary Art from the University of Lyon 2, France in 2009. Several of his reviews on contemporary Arab art have been published in Arab newspapers. He also has two studies; the first is entitled “Maher al-Baroudi, an Artist between Two Cultures. How Can We Read His Works?” and the second is called “The Image of the Tortured Body in Contemporary Syrian Art”.

Conversation with Director Omar Abu Saada

Omar Abu Saada is a Syrian director and playwright based in Damascus. He co-founded ‘Studio Theater’, a theatre company in Damascus, and directed his first work “Insomnia” in 2004. Omar has introduced several ideas of contemporary writing, documentary filmmaking, and Theatre of the Oppressed to a number of theatres in Syria. Omar has also held several workshops in the fields of contemporary theatre script writing and directing.


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