Abraaj Group Art Price






Winning Artist duo: Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (b.1983, Cyprus and Boston)

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices. Often reflecting on the idea of returns, amnesia and deja vu, and in the process unfolding the slippages between actuality and projection (fiction, myth, wish), what is and what could be. Their approach has been one of sampling materials (both existing and self-authored) in the form of sound, image, text, objects and recasting them into altogether new “scripts”. The result is a practice that investigates the visceral, material possibilities of sound, image, text and site, taking on the form of multimedia installations and live sound and image performances.

They have had solo presentations ICA (Philadelphia) Office for Contemporary Art (Oslo), Akademie Der Kuenste Der Welt (Cologne), New Art Exchange (Nottingham) and Delfina Foundation (London). Their work has been exhibited at the 12th Sharjah Biennial, where they were the recipients of the 2015 Sharjah Biennial Prize, plus Museum Of Modern Art (Warsaw), ICA (London), the 31st Sao Paulo Biennial, the 10th Gwangju Biennale, the 13th Istanbul Biennial, the 6th Jerusalem Show, HomeWorks 5 (Beirut), and Palestine c/o Venice at the 53rd Venice Biennale. They have held performances at The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), House of World Culture (Berlin), Tanzquartier (Vienna), Serpentine Pavilion (London), 4th Guangzhou Triennial (Guangzhou), TBA 21 (Vienna), De Balle (Amsterdam), Beirut Art Centre (Beirut), Danish Film Institute (Copenhagen) and CCA (Glasgow). Upcoming exhibitions include Kunsthalle Wien (2015), ‘Future Presents’, at Artissima (Turin, 2015), and a solo exhibition at Carroll/Fletcher (London, 2016). They were fellows at Akademie der Kunste der Welt in Cologne in 2013 and artists-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation, London in 2009. They live between Palestine and New York, and are represented by Caroll/Fletcher in London.

Shortlisted Artist: Dina Danish (b. 1981, Paris)

Egyptian artist Dina Danish’s work has been internationally exhibited including at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam; Kunsthall Oslo; SFMOMA in San Francisco; Beirut and Nile Sunset Annex in Cairo; De Nederlandsche Bank and de Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam. Most recently, she performed at Pool Projects in Zurich; with de Appel at the Stedelijk Museum, at The Amsterdam Kunstverein, Projects Arts Centre in Dublin, and the South London Gallery, UK. Her upcoming exhibitions will include the Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam; and the Baltic Triennial.

Most recently she has been nominated for the Dutch Volkskrant Award and the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands. Awards she has received include the Illy Present Future Award at Artissima 18, Celeste Award and the Barclay Simpson Award in San Francisco. Danish’s work is in private and public collections including the Nederlandsche Bank, Nomas Foundation, SFMOMA and MOMA.

After having studied at the American University in Cairo and receiving her MFA from CCA in San Francisco, she took part in artist residencies including the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Spinola Banna in Italy; PiST/// in Istanbul and A.i.R. Dubai. She is also a tutor at both Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Royal Academy, The Hague. She is currently represented by Stigter van Doesburg (Amsterdam), SpazioA (Pistoia) and Barbara Seiler (Zurich).

Shortlisted Artist: Mahmoud Khaled (b. 1982, Alexandria)

Mahmoud Khaled currently lives and works betwen Trondheim, Norway, and Cairo. In 2004 Khaled received a B.F.A in painting from Alexandria University and in 2011 to 2012 completed the inaugural year of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. His work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in art spaces and centres in Europe and the Middle East, including AUB Gallery, Beirut; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg; Nile Sunset Annex, Cairo (2013); Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), Amsterdam (2011); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2010); Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn and UKS, Oslo, Norway (2009). His projects have been featured in biennales such as Manifesta 8: European Biennale for Contemporary Art, Biacs 3, Seville Biennale, and 1st Canary Islands Biennale, Spain. He was awarded the Videobrasil in Context prize in 2012.

At the core of Mahmoud Khaled’s practice lies a probing engagement with the construction of male identity. In a society that is increasingly shaped by mediated and virtual exchanges, Khaled’s work traces the boundaries between what is real and what is hidden, disguised or staged. The impact of his training as an academic painter can be seen in his concern with form, which is at once extravagant and austere.

Mixing photography and video with sculptural forms, sound and text, Khaled’s subjects are often unconventional. His single channel videos and installations have portrayed a professional male belly dancer, a group of body builders, bullfighters and online communities of HIV-infected individuals. Many of his works can be regarded as formal and philosophical ruminations on the value and meaning of art as a form of political activism, an object of desire and a space for critical reflection. He is currently represented by Gypsum Gallery in Cairo.

Shortlisted Artist: Basir Mahmood (b. 1985 Lahore, Pakistan)

Basir Mahmood studied in Lahore at the Beaconhouse National University, and received a yearlong fellowship from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2011. In order to engage with situations around him, he ponders upon embedded social and historical terrains of the ordinary, as well as his personal milieu. Using video, film or photograph, Mahmood weaves various threads of thoughts, findings and insights into poetic sequences and various forms of narratives.

Since 2011, his works has been widely shown, including: The Garden of Eden, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012; III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia, 2012; Inaugural Show, Broad Museum, Michigan State University, 2012; Asia Pacific Triennial (APT 7) at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2012; Sharjah Biennial 11. (2013); At Intervals at Cooper Gallery Project Space, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, 2014; Des hommes, des mondes at college des bernardins, Paris, 2014 and Time of others” at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2015. Japan. He is currently represented by Grey Noise Gallery, Dubai.

Guest Curator: Nav Haq (b. 1976, Leeds)

Nav Haq is Curator at MuHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp. He was previously Exhibitions Curator at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Curator at Gasworks, London. Haq has developed the new IN SITU series of monographic exhibitions at MuHKA, which invites artists to create a substantial body of new work for display within the museum's largest and most atypical exhibition space, beginning with Otobong Nkanga's exhibition Bruises and Lustre. He has also curated numerous solo exhibitions with artists such as Hassan Khan, Cosima von Bonin, Imogen Stidworthy, Shilpa Gupta, Huseyin Bahri Alptekin and Kerry Tribe. Group exhibitions have included Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction (2012); Museum Show – a major historical survey of (semi-fictional) museums created by artists (2011); and Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie: Class Hegemony in Contemporary Art, co-curated with Tirdad Zolghadr (2006-09). In 2014 he co-curated the major group exhibition Don’t You Know Who I Am? Art After Identity Politics at MuHKA. Haq's writings have been published extensively and he is on the editorial board of the web platform L’Internationale Online (http://www.internationaleonline.org/). In 2012 he was a recipient of the Independent Vision Award for Curatorial Achievement, awarded by Independent Curators International, New York.


Winning Artist: Yto Barrada (b.1971, Paris)

Yto Barrada studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work—including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations—began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.

She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinematheque de Tanger. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University). She has published several books, and her first comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. Barrada is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg), Pace Gallery (London), and Galerie Polaris (Paris).

Image (c)Benoit Peverelli

Shortlisted Artist: Sarnath Banerjee (b. 1972, Kolkata)

Sarnath Banerjee studied biochemistry from Delhi University and Image and communication from Goldsmiths University. He wrote graphic novels Corridor, Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers and The Harappa Files, published by Penguin, Harper-Collins and Denoel. He has received several fellowships, such as the MacArthur, Charles Wallace, Egide Bursary, and IFA. Banerjee has been as a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart and Institute of Advanced Studies, Budapest. His drawings and videos have been exhibited at Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Indian Highway 5, MAXXI-National Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones,(Directors, Serpentine Gallery); Chalo India!, Mori Museum, 2008; Karton Gallery, Budapest, 2007, Kunstmuseum Bern, 2007; The Museum Fondazione Sandretto re Rebaudengo, Torino, 2006; IFA Gallery Berlin, 2005; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London June 2003. Banerjee has also participated in Hong Kong Art Fair (2012), Fiac, Paris (2011), Frieze Art Fair (2011 and 2009) London, Arco, Madrid (2009) and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 2008. In 2012 Banerjee had a solo exhibition at the CCA in Glasgow, and was commissioned by Frieze Projects East for a public arts project during the London Olympics. He writes a weekly column of visual commentary called ‘Enchanted Geography’ for The Hindu. Sarnath is represented by Project 88 (Mumbai).

Shortlisted Artist: Setareh Shahbazi (b. 1978, Tehran)

Setareh Shahbazi was born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to Germany in 1985. From 1997 to 2003 she studied Scenography and Media Arts at the State Academy for Art and Design in Karlsruhe. Her solo exhibitions were held at Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2013); 98weeks Project Space, Beirut (2010); Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara (2008); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg (2006) and Montgomery, Berlin (2006); and Karlsruher Kunstverein (2004). Her group shows include ‘When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling’, Kadist, Paris, curated by Bassam El Baroni (2012); ‘Jostari dar Salighe va Ehsass’, Asar Gallery, Tehran (2010); ‘Whenever it starts, it is the right time!’, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, curated by Chus Martinez (2007); ‘Rainbow’ at Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; ‘J’en Reve’ at Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005) and ‘Iranian Pool, Rooseum’, Malmo, curated by Chus Martinez (2003). A one-year research residency by DAAD brought her to Beirut for the first time in 2003 to collaborate with the Arab Image Foundation. She has further been invited for residencies at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2005) and Villa Romana, Florence (guest artist 2011). Shahbazi received a publication grant from Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn for her artist book Spectral Days (2011) and her catalogue Oh, no, no, ... – The Crystal Series was awarded The Most Beautiful Swiss Books (2005). After spending some years in Lebanon, Setareh Shahbazi currently lives and works in Berlin and travels regularly to Iran. Setareh is represented by Gypsum Gallery, Cairo.

Shortlisted Artist: Mounira Al Solh (b. 1978, Beirut)

Mounira Al Solh started painting in 1996 with Hussein Madi and then completed a degree in painting from the Lebanese University. In 2001 she won the Kentertainment Painting Award in Beirut and went on to the Rietveld Akademy in Amsterdam where she found her voice in multidisciplinary practices. After that, she worked for two years in a studio at the Rijksakademie before being offered artist residencies in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the USA. Al Solh has participated in several group shows including: the first Lebanese Pavillion in Venice, Home Works IV and VI, the 11th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 8, Tate Modern, SALT Istanbul, the New Museum, the 5th Marrakech Biennial and Art Dubai Projects 2014. Her works have been presented in solo shows at Fennel, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; SMBA and rongwrong, Amsterdam; CCA, Glasgow; and Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon. In 2007, she was awarded the Jury Prize of Videobrasil IEA Festival, The Black Magic Woman Award, The Uriot Prize of the Rijksakademie, and was nominated for the Volkskrant Award in 2010 in the Netherlands. Mounira co-edits NOA (Not Only Arabic), an ongoing magazine she created in 2008, which has expanded into a collaborative project: noa language school. She also taught part-time at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, the Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam and ALBA (Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts) in Lebanon. Mounira is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg).

Guest Curator: Omar Kholeif (b. Cairo)

Omar Kholeifis a writer, curator and editor. He is currently Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, Senior Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester as well as Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing. Previously he headed up Art and Technology at SPACE, London (where he was director of The White Building, London's centre for art and technology) and was Curator at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. Kholeif has also been Artistic Director at the Arab British Centre, London and founding director of the UK's Arab Film Festival. In 2012, he was a co-curator of the Liverpool Biennial. He was a founding editor of Portal 9, an Arabic-English journal of urbanism and architecture. His most recent publications include, You Are Here: Art After the Internet (2014), Virgin with a Memory (For Sophia Al-Maria) (2014) and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (2014). In 2015, he will curate the Cyprus Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.


Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Tehran)

Abbas Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video and performance. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in Abbas' work. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.

Residencies include Foundation Marcelino Botin with Mona Hatoum (Spain), Le Printemps de Septembre (France), Trinity Square Video, Western Front, and Fogo Islands (Canada), The Watermill Center (USA), and The Delfina Foundation (Dubai, UAE & London, UK). Recent exhibitions include: 8th Montreal Biennale, Montreal, Canada, Manifestation Internationale d’art de Quebec (MIAQ), 2014'Variations on a Garden', Galerie Mana, Istanbul (2013); 'Study for a Garden', Delfina Foundation, London (2012); 'Tactics for Here & Now', Bucharest Biennale, Bucharest (2012); 'Tools for Conviviality' Power Plant, Toronto (2012); 'Beacon', Darling Foundry, Montreal (2012); 'Phantomhead', Performa 11, New York (2011); 'Seeing is Believing', KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011). He lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Kamrooz Aram (b. 1978, Shiraz)

Kamrooz Aram’s diverse practice often engages the complicated relationship between traditional non-Western art and Western Modernism. Through a variety of forms including painting, collage, drawing and installation, Aram has found the potential for image-making to function critically in its use as a tool for a certain renegotiation of history.

Aram’s paintings reveal the essential role that ornament played in the development of Modern art in the West. Taking floral motifs from Persian carpets, Aram repeatedly reconfigures them into painterly mediations, building the pattern, destroying it and rebuilding again, resulting in explosive images, always in a state of flux. These lush canvases form repetitive patterns that coax new meaning from the chaos of fragments. Aram complicates the relationship between ornament and decoration, revealing the history of ornament as a drive towards the absence of figuration, a movement towards abstraction.

Kamrooz Aram (born 1978, Shiraz) received his MFA from Columbia University in 2003. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Palimpsest: Unstable Paintings for Anxious Interiors at Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2014); Kamrooz Aram/ Julie Weitz at The Suburban, Chicago, Illinois (2013); Brute Ornament: Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, curated by Murtaza Vali, at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2012); Negotiations at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, New York (2011); Generation After Generation, Revolution after Revelation at LAXART, Los Angeles, California (2010) and Kamrooz Aram: Realms and Reveries at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Massachusetts (2006). He has shown in numerous group exhibitions including roundabout, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand (2010); the Busan Biennale (2006); P.S.1/MoMA’s Greater New York 2005; and the Prague Biennale I (2003). Aram is the winner of Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014; he has also been awarded grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2004) and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program (2001-2003). His work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; The FLAG Foundation, New York; and Deutsche Bank Collection among others. Aram’s practice has been widely featured and reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum.com, ArtAsiaPacific, The New Yorker, The National and Bidoun. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Bouchra Khalili (b. 1975, Casablanca)

Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili was born in Casablanca. She later studied Cinema and Visual Arts in Paris. Her work in video, photography and prints, articulates documentary practice and conceptual approach to investigate methodologies and discourses of resistance as elaborated by members of minorities. Khalili’s work has been shown internationally, as recently at "The Encyclopedic Palace", 55th Venice Biennale (2013) ; "Intense Proximity’’, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012); The 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); "Mapping Subjectivity", MoMA (New York, 2011) ; The 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011); among others. Recent solo shows and screenings include "Wet Feet and More" at DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2013) ; "The Seaman" at Freedman Gallery, Albright College (2013) ; Wet Feet/Dry Feet at Tarragona Art Center, Spain (2012), Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, and Deutsches Film Institut in Frankfurt, among others. Khalili has received numerous awards as "DAAD Artist-in-Berlin" (2012) ; "The Vera List Center Fellowship" (The New School, New York, 2011-2013) ; and CulturesFrance Award in 2010. In 2012-2013, she was commissioned by The Perez Miami Art Museum to produce an original artwork for its inauguration in December 2013. Bouchra Khalili lives in Berlin. She's represented by Galerie Polaris (Paris), and galerieofmarseille (Marseilles).

Basim Magdy (b. 1977, Cairo)

Basim Magdy was born in 1977 in Assiut, Egypt, and lives and works in Basel, Switzerland and Cairo, Egypt. His work appeared recently in solo and group exhibitions and screenings at La Biennale de Montreal, Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal; Art in General, New York; Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA, Melbourne; Tatra Museum, Zakopane, Poland; SeMA Seoul MEDIACITY Biennial 2014, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest, France; State of Concept, Athens; Trafo House of Contemporary Art, Budapest; CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, France (2014); 13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; Tate Modern, London; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, UAE; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Biennale Jogja XII, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; The High Line, New York; Askhal Alwan, Beirut (2013); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Argos Art Center, Brussels; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Institut Mathildenhohe, Darmstadt, Germany (2011); Mass MOCA, North Adams and Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d╩╝art contemporain, Rennes, France among others. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev and the NEW:VISION Award at CPH:DOX Film Festival, Copenhagen. Upcoming shows include The New Museum Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York; Lest the Two Seas Meet, The Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland; The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, HOME Manchester, Manchester and The Green Parrot, Barcelona among others.

Anup Mathew Thomas (b. 1977, Kochi)

Anup Mathew Thomas works primarily with the medium of photography and his work often engages ostensibly local narratives. Over the last decade he has produced a series of projects that engage with and make reference to the cultural history of his native Kerala. Thomas’s works introduce audiences to stories that may have gone missing from the archive. In exploring the slippages between documentary and artistic practice, Thomas employs both anecdotal and factual narrative styles, and his work often culminates in carefully staged portraiture. His practice explores the immediacy of the photograph, and its potential for ambiguity, as a medium for story telling. Anup Mathew Thomas lives and works in Bangalore, India.

His recent participation in group exhibitions include Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi (2012); The Matter Within, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2011); Generation in Transition, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2011); The Self and the Other, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona (2009-10); and Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie, Arnolfini, Bristol (2009). Solo exhibitions include shows at Gasworks Gallery, London (2007); The Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2010) and Lothringer13, Munich (2013). He is a recipient of The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014 and the Han Nefkens Foundation - BACC Award for Contemporary Art, 2015.

Guest Curator: Nada Raza (b. 1977, Karachi)

Nada Raza is from Karachi, currently based at Tate Modern in London where she is Assistant Curator focusing on South Asia. Raza holds an MA in Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice from the Chelsea College of Art and has previously worked with Iniva and Green Cardamom in London where she contributed to curatorial projects including Lines of Control; (Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University 2012)and Social Fabric(Iniva, 2012). She has lived and worked independently in the UAE, where she maintains strong links. She writes regularly for regional and international publications.

Speaking of her appointment, Raza commented: The Abraaj Group Art Prize is a unique platform for emerging artists from the region, allowing complex and ambitious projects to be realized with critical support from a curator. I look forward to engaging with each selected artist in the process of articulating conceptual ideas through to the production of compelling works of art, bringing them to regional and international audiences.


Vartan Avakian (b. 1977, Byblos)

Vartan Avakian is a Beirut based artist, he works with mundane esthetics, with a focus on urban and consumer culture. Avakian studied Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University and has a Masters in Architecture and Urban Culture from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. He works with video, photography and natural material. Avakian is a founding member of the art collective Atfal Ahdath. Since 2007, his work has been widely shown including Art Dubai (2013), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012), Transmerdiale 2K + 12, Berlin, (2012), Wallach Art Gallery, New York (2012), Sharjah Biennial X (2011), South London Gallery, (2011), Home Works V, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2010), Tokyo Wonder Site (2009) as well as in venues in Iceland, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Taiwan, Australia, Spain, Indonesia and India. He is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki

Iman Issa (b. 1979, Cairo)

Iman Issa is an artist living and working between Cairo and New York. Recent group and solo exhibitions include: 'The Ungovernables', New Museum, New York (2012); 'Seeing is Believing', KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011); 'Material', Rodeo, Istanbul (2011); 'Short Stories', SculptureCenter, New York (2011); and 'Propaganda by Monuments', Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2011). Her video work has been screened at several venues including Transmediale, Berlin; Tate Modern, London; Spacex, Exeter; Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; and Bidoun Artists Cinema, Art Dubai, Dubai. Her book Thirty-three Stories about Reasonable Characters in Familiar Places was published in 2011 by the SculptureCenter in New York. Issa graduated with an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from the American University of Cairo. She often employs a variety of mediums including text, sound, sculpture, photography, and video, to raise questions as to the relationship between language, history, and personal cognition and articulation. Issa won the inaugural FHN MACBA award in 2012, was a recipient of the Young Arab Theatre Fund Production Grant in 2010 and The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture Grant in 2009. She is represented by Rodeo, Istanbul. imanissa.com

Huma Mulji (b.1970, Karachi)

Huma Mulji is a Visual Artist and Associate Professor at the Mariam Dawood School of Visual Arts. She completed her BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 1995, and an MFA from Transart Institute, Berlin, in 2010.

Mulji’s studio practice navigates the border of fact and fiction. She works with sculpture, photography, drawing, and painting, creating material juxtapositions which are attentive to the absurd, and question notions of ‘certainty’, and ‘truth’, through the use of digital imaging, reanimating objects through taxidermy, or creating clumsy, hybrid objects. Her works broadly address notions of failure, neglect, the forgotten and lost, or the dysfunctional. The often awkward and scruffy artworks imbue a deliberate anti-heroism, playing out ironically, or sometimes comically, in her works, addressing opaque borders, perceptions of ageing and isolation, urban expansion and its related follies, and dust and geckos, as chronic domestic threats. Her participation in recent exhibitions includes “Burning Down the House”, 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, “Extra|Ordinary”, Dubai, 2013, “Twilight”, a solo show at Project 88, Mumbai, India, 2011, “The Rising Tide”, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, 2010, “Where three Dreams Cross”. Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, 2010, “The Empire Strikes Back”, The Saatchi Gallery, 2010 and “Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, at Asia Society, NY, 2009.

Hrair Sarkissian (b.1973, Damascus)

Born in Damascus, Syria, in 1973, Hrair Sarkissian earned his foundational training at his father’s photographic studio in Damascus. He attended the Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Photographie in Arles, France (2003-2004) and in 2010 completed a BFA in Photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam.

Sarkissian’s works revolve around individual and collective memory and identity. His photographs of urban environments and landscape employ traditional documentary techniques to re-evaluate larger historical, religious or social narratives. Through his work he explores personal memories and his family’s Armenian heritage, while inviting the viewer to consider the paradox between what is made visible and the stories of the past.

Recent exhibitions of his work include, Mosaic Room, London, UK (2015); ’Conflict, Time, Photography’ Tate Modern, London, UK (2014), Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, Germany (2015); ‘Here and Else Where’ New Museum, New York, U.S.A. (2014); Darat Al Funun (2013); ‘Power!Photos!Freedom!’, FoMu - FotoMuseum, Antwerp, Belgium (2013); 7th Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia (2012-2013); the Royal Academy Show, Doha, Qatar (2012-2013); ‘Ici, ailleurs’, Marseille, France (2013); ‘Arab Express’, Mori Art Museum ,Tokyo, Japan (2013); ‘Hrair Sarkissian – Istory’, SALT, Istanbul (2011); 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Greece (2011); ‘Out of Place’ at TATE Modern (London, UK) and Darat Al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation (Amman, Jordan) (2011); Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011); ‘Underground’, Kalfayan Galleries (Athens, 2010); Thessaloniki Photobiennale 2010; ‘Disorientation II’ (Abu Dhabi, 2009-2010); 11th Istanbul Biennial (2009); ‘New Ends, Old Beginnings, The Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool, 2008).

Rayyane Tabet (b.1983, Ashqout)

Rayyane Tabet was born in Ashqout in 1983. Tabet's work explores the relationship between history and the built environment. His multi-faceted installations often reconstitute the perception of physical and temporal distance.

He received a Bachelor in Architecture from The Cooper Union in New York and a Master in Fine Arts from the University of California in San Diego.

His recent shows include The Past, The Present, The Possible: Sharjah Biennial 12; Only Gods Never Die at Sfeir-Semler Gallery; This is the Time This is the Record of the Time at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Un Nouveau Festival at Centre Georges Pompidou; Hiwar at Darat al Funun; The Future Generation Art Prize at the 55th Venice Biennial; The Shortest Distance Between Two Points at Sfeir-Semler Gallery and The Ungovernables at the New Museum.

He is the recipient of the jury prize of the Future Generation Art Prize in 2012 and the Sharjah Biennial Artist Prize in 2011.

Guest Curator: Murtaza Vali (b. 1974, Sharjah)

Murtaza Vali is a critic, curator, editor and Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, USA. He received an MA in Art History and Archaeology from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts (2004). A recipient of a 2011 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for Short-Form Writing, he has published in ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum, Artforum.com,Artinamericamagazine.com, ArtReview, Art India, Bidoun, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Modern Painters, Nafas Art Magazine, NuktaArt and V&A Magazine and has penned monographic essays on Siah Armajani, Fahd Burki, Shilpa Gupta, Emily Jacir, Reena Saini Kallat, Laleh Khorramian, Naeem Mohaiemen and Hrair Sarkissian. His past curatorial projects include: Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction (Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, 2015);PTSD: Shahpour Pouyan (Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai, 2014); Brute Ornament (Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2012); and Accented (BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, 2010). He also edited Manual for Treason, a multilingual publication commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011) and served on the Selection Jury for the 2010 Sharjah Art Foundation Production Programme grants. He lives and works between Sharjah, UAE and Brooklyn, USA.


Taysir Batniji (b. 1966, Gaza)

Born in Gaza in 1966, Taysir Batniji studied art at Al-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine. In 1994, he was awarded a fellowship to study at the School of Fine Arts of Bourges in France. Since then, he has been dividing his time between France and Palestine. During this period spent between two countries and two cultures, Batniji has developed a multi-media practice, including drawing, installation, photography, video and performance...

Following his first solo show in Paris in 2002, he multiplied his participation in a number of exhibitions, biennials and residencies in Europe and across the world, among which the Rencontres d’Arles and C’est pas du Cinema! in Fresnoy in 2002, Dreams and Conflicts, Contemporary Arab Representations at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, The World is a Safer Place at the Globe Gallery in Newcastle in 2006, Heterotopias at the Thessaloniki Biennale and the Sharjah Biennale in 2007, Palestine c/o Venice at the Venice Biennale in 2009, The Future of a Promise at the Venice Biennale in 2011, Now Babylon at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Shangri La: Imagined Cities, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, L'Avenir (Looking Forward), at the Montreal Biennale and Open Museum Open City, at the MAXXI in Rome in 2014, and Between the Pessimism of the Intellect and the Optimism of the Will at the Thessaloniki Biennale in 2015.

Taysir was awarded the Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2012. In 2014, he spent a three months residency in the ISCP in New York, supported by Edge of Arabia. His works can be found in the collections of many prestigious institutions of which the Centre Pompidou and the FNAC in France, the V&A and The Imperial War Museum in London, the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia and Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi.

Taysir Batniji's work is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Hamburg/Beirut) and Eric Dupont Gallery (Paris).

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are filmmakers and artists who create strong thematic, conceptual and formal ties between their fiction films, documentaries, art installations, performances and texts.

They did not study art or cinema but came to practice them in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil wars. Their videos, photo installations, and films are inspired by found documents, personal archives, poetic experiences. They are interested by stories kept secret, as a form of resistance to the dominant and official history, displacing the gaze as to the political and complex situations in the region and beyond.

Through various experimentations, they attempt to redefine their relation to images and to deconstruct the systems of representation, the construction of imaginaries or the writing of history. Their identifiable aesthetics and their works move in the sphere of the latent, the visible and of the absent, creating a continuous interchange between life and fiction. Lately, they have focused on the virtuality of internet scams and spams to quest in beliefs, imaginaries of corruption and historiography of the world.

Joana and Khalil have directed together multi awarded films that have gained wide international distribution : Documentaries such as The Lost Film (2003), Khiam 2000–2007 (2008), The Lebanese Rocket Society : The Strange Tale of the Lebanese Space Race (2013) and feature films among which Around the pink house (1999), A Perfect Day (2005) and I Want to See (2008), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroue, which premiered at the official selection of Cannes Film Festival and was awarded by the French Critics Guild as Best Singular Film.

Their artworks and films, part of major private and public collections, have been extensively shown in museums and art centers around the world, most recently the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Guggenheim, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Ashkal Alwan, Moma, V & A, Tate Modern, SF Moma, KW Berlin, Villa Arson and many biennales among them Istanbul, Lyon, Sharjah, Kochi, Gwangju, Venice…

They are university lecturers and the authors of publications and performances. Hadjithomas has previously served on the Curricular Committee of the Ashkal Alwan Academy, Home Workspace. They are cofounders of the production company Abbout Productions and on the executive board of Metropolis art Cinema in Beirut.

Wael Shawky (b. 1971, Alexandria)

Wael Shawky studied fine art at the University of Alexandria before receiving his M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. He lives and works in Alexandria. In 2010 he launched MASS Alexandria, the first Independent Studio Programme for young artists in the city. Shawky has received international acclaim for his work as an artist and filmmaker, his work largely explores transitional events in society, politics, culture and religion in the history of the Arab world. He has had numerous solo shows including: Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2011) Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut, Lebanon (2010), Cittadellarte, Italy (2010), Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2009). Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File (2010) at ‘Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial)’(2011). He has also exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK (2011), Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Belgium (2011), New Museum and Queen’s Museum of Art, New York, UK, SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe, US (2008); 3rd Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah, Palestine (2009), 3rd Marrakech Biennale, Morocco (2009), ‘Disorientation II’, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2009), 2nd Moscow Biennale, Russia (2007), 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003) among others. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, London, MACRO Museum, Rome, Darat Al Funun, Amman and Mart Museum Collection, Rovereto. Shawky has received Egyptian and international prizes such as the Ernest Schering Foundation Art Award, Berlin, (2011). He has participated in several international residency programmes. Wael Shawky is represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut.

Risham Syed (b. 1969, Lahore)

Risham Syed’s practice critically focuses on the remains of cultural/historical inheritance and its perceived authenticity in present-day Pakistan. She received a BFA in Painting from the National College of Art, Lahore (1993) and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London (1996). Solo shows include: ‘Lahore 2010’, Rohtas Gallery, Lahore (2010), ‘And the Rest is History’, Talwar Gallery, New York (2010), Canvas Gallery, Karachi (2008). Her work has been exhibited in group shows including: ‘The Rising Tide’, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2010-11), Art Dubai, (2010), ‘Resemble/Reassemble’, Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India (2009), ‘Emperor’s New Clothes: Dress, Politics and Identity in Pakistani Art’, Talwar Gallery (2008), ‘Conversations 1’, Elementa Gallery, Dubai (2007), ‘Landscape and Outside the Cube’, National Gallery of Art, Islamabad, (2005), ‘58 Years of Pakistani Art’, Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore (2004), ‘Playing with the loaded gun’, Apex Art, New York (2002) & Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany (2004) 2nd Fukuoka Triennale, Museum of Asian Art, Fukuoka, Japan (2002), in ‘Threads, Dreams and Desires’, The Harris Museum, Preston, UK (1998). She was awarded the Stephenson Harwood Award (1996), Charles Wallace Trust Scholarship, UK (1996) and the Cite’ International des Arts, Paris, France (1995). She is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Visual Art, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan, where she continues to live and work. Risham Syed is represented by Talwar Gallery, New York.

Raed Yassin (b. 1979, Beirut)

He graduated from the theatre department at the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003. An artist and musician, Yassin's work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their workings within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. He has exhibited and performed his work in numerous museums, festivals and venues across Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Japan, including Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2014), Vienna Kunsthalle (2014), ICA in London (2014), Castello Di Rivoli in Torino (2014), Gwangju Art Museum (2014), Thessaloniki Biennial 4 (2013), Singapore Art Museum (2013), Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2012), The New Museum in New York (2012), "Sharjah Biennial 10" (2011), Delfina Foundation in London (2011 & 2014) where he has completed a residency program, "Manifesta 8" in Murcia (2010-2011), Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2011), De - Ateliers in Amsterdam following a 2-year residency, "Home Works 5" in Beirut, (2010) and Photo Cairo 4 (2008). Yassin was awarded the Fidus Prize for The Best of Sammy Clark at Beirut Art Center's Exposure (2009), the Sharjah Art foundation production programme (2014), the AFAC grant for production (2010), the YATF grant for production (2008 & 2012) and the Cultural Resource grant for production (2008). Yassin is one of the organizers of IRTIJAL Festival, and has released 12 music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of "Atfal Ahdath" a Beirut based art collective. He currently lives and works in Beirut and represented by Kalfayan Galleries (Athens – Thessaloniki).

Guest Curator: Nat Muller

Nat Muller is an independent curator and critic based in Rotterdam. Her main interests include: the intersection of aesthetics, media and politics; media art and contemporary art in and from the Middle East. She is a regular contributor to Springerin and MetropolisM. Her writing has been published in, amongst others, Bidoun, ArtAsiaPacific, Art Papers, Canvas, X-tra, The Majalla, the MIT journal Art Margins and Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia. She has also written numerous book chapters, catalogue and monographic essays. With Alessandro Ludovico she edited the Mag.net Reader2: Between Paper and Pixel (2007), and Mag.net Reader3: Processual Publishing, Actual Gestures (2009), based on a series of debates organized at Documenta XII. She has taught at universities and academies in the Netherlands and the Middle East, and has curated video and film screenings for projects and festivals internationally, including for Rotterdam’s International Film Festival, Norwegian Short Film Festival and Video D.U.M.B.O in New York. Recent curated projects include Spectral Imprints for the Abraaj Group Art Prize in Dubai (2012), Adel Abidin’s solo exhibition I love to love… at Forum Box in Helsinki (2013), Memory Material at Akinci Gallery, Amsterdam (2014); Customs Made: Quotidian Practices & Everyday Rituals at Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah (2014); This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam & American University of Beirut Gallery (2014/15). Nat is editorial correspondent for Ibraaz, a member of the editorial board of Broadsheet Magazine, Australia and most recently was a speaker on BBC World's award-winning program The Doha Debates. She is the curator of Sadik Kwaish Alfraji’s solo show at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai (2015) and 2015 curator-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation’s Politics of Food Program in London.


Hamra Abbas

Hamra Abbas was born in Kuwait in 1976 and lives and works between Islamabad and Boston. Abbas has a versatile practice that straddles a wide range of media. Drawing upon culturally loaded imagery and iconography, in an often playful manner, Abbas appropriates and transforms traditional motifs and styles to examine questions of conflict within society. She has held several international solo exhibitions that include Cityscape, OUTLET Independent Art Space, Istanbul (2010); Adventures of the Woman in Black, Green Cardamom (2008); God Grows on Trees, Schultz Contemporary, Berlin (2008) and Lessons on Love, Rohtas 2, Lahore (2006). Her work has also been included in the 9th Sharjah Biennial (2009); the International Incheon Women Artists Biennale (2009): Thessaloniki Biennale (2009); Guangzou Triennial (2008); Istanbul Biennial (2007) and Sydney Biennale (2006). In 2009 Abbas was awarded the Jury Prize at the 9th Sharjah Biennial and was shortlisted for the inaugural Jameel Prize. She is represented by PILOT, Istanbul and Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai.

Jananne Al-Ani (b. 1966, Kirkuk)

Jananne Al-Ani is a London based Iraqi-born artist. Working with photography, film and video, she has an ongoing interest in the representation of contested landscapes filtered through the technologies of surveillance and aerial reconnaissance in modern warfare.

Recent solo exhibitions include Excavations, Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2014); Groundwork, Beirut Art Center (2013) and Shadow Sites, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC (2012). Group exhibitions include Mom, am I Barbarian? 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013); all our relations, 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012) and The Future of a Promise, 54th Venice Biennale (2011).

Her work can be found in the collections of the Tate Gallery and Imperial War Museum, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Darat al Funun, Amman. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London.

Shezad Dawood (b. 1974, London)

Shezad Dawood was trained at Central St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art before undertaking a PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University. Dawood works across film, painting and sculpture to juxtapose discrete systems of image, language, site and multiple narratives, using the editing process as a method to explore meanings and forms between film and painting. His practice often involves collaboration, working with groups and individuals across different territories to physically and conceptually map far-reaching lines of enquiry. These networks map across different geographic locations and communities and are particularly concerned with acts of translation and restaging. For example, his collaborative film project, ‘Feature’ (2008), which relocated the action of a traditional western to the English countryside, slipping into other sub-genres such as the zombie-flick, and Wagnerian opera (and features cameos from artists Jimmie Durham and David Medalla), as well as South Asian god-flick. His most recent video work, ‘Towards the Possible Film’ (2014), shot on location in Sidi Ifni, Morocco, explores anthropological concepts of indigenousness through the genre of science fiction.

Dawood’s work has been exhibited internationally, including Taipei Biennial (2014), Marrakech Biennial (2014) MACBA Barcelona (2014), MoMA PS1 (2014), Witte de With (2013), Modern Art Oxford (2012), Busan Biennale (2010), Tate Britain (2009), and the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). His further extensive exhibitions include interventions in cities such as Tangiers, Mumbai, Karachi, Hamburg, and Singapore. Recent projects include feature film Piercing Brightness (2013), a solo exhibition at Parasol Unit, London, Leeds Art Gallery (2014) and at OCAT Xi’an, China (2014).

Shezad is a Jarman Award nominee (2012).He currently lives and works in London, where he is Research Fellow in Experimental Media at the University of Westminster.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b. 1978, Tunis)

Nadia KaabiLinke is a RussianTunisian artist born in 1978 in Tunis, Tunisia. She studied at the University of Fine Arts in Tunis (1999) before receiving a PhD from the Sorbonne University in Paris (2008). Her installations, objects and pictorial works are embedded in urban contexts, intertwined with memory and geographically and politically constructed identities. Her last solo exhibitions were “No Frills” (2015) in Lisbon, Portugal, “The Future Rewound and The Cabinet of Souls” (2014) in London, UK, “Stranded” (2014) in Lisbon, Portugal, “No One Harms Me”(2013) in Kolkata, India, “Black is the New White”(2012) in Dubai, UAE, and “Tatort/Crime Scene” (2010) in Berlin, Germany. She has participated in group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, the Nam June Paik Art Center at Geonggido, Korea (2013); the Liverpool Biennial, UK; Herbert F Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY, USA (2012); and 54th Venice Biennial in Italy (2011), Sharjah Biennial (2009). Her works are part of several public and private collections including the Burger Collection, Switzerland, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, M+, Hong Kong.

Timo Nasseri (b. 1972, Berlin)

Timo Nasseri was born in Berlin in 1972 to a German mother and an Iranian father. He began his artistic career as a photographer, and in 2004 he made the transition to creating sculpture. Combining Islamic and western cultural heritages, his work is inspired as much by specific memories and religious references as by universal archetypes described by mathematics and language, and the inner truths of form and rhythm. He has held several solo exhibitions which include Ghazal, Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg (2009); One of Six, Kunstverein Arnsberg (2009); Epistrophy (2008) and Falling Stars (2006) both at Galerie Schleicher+Lange, Paris and Op-Felder, Galerie ABEL Raum fur Neue Kunst, Berlin (2002). He has also participated in the following group exhibitions: Taaffe-Streuli-Nasseri, Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (2010); Nasseri/Englund, Schleicher+Lange, Paris (2010); En Miroir, CRAC Alsace (2010); Taswir – Pictorial Mappings of Islam and Modernity, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2009); Mashq: repetition, meditation, meditation, Green Cardamom, London (2009) and Eurasia, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento (2008); Phoenix vs Babylone, Espace Paul Richard, Paris (2008) and ECHO, Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (2008). He was awarded the Prix Saar Ferngas F÷rderpreis Junge Kunst in 2006. He is represented by Galerie Schleicher+Lange, Paris and Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg and Beirut.

Guest curator: Sharmini Pereira

Sharmini Pereira is the director and founder of Raking Leaves, a not-for-profit independent publisher of artists' book projects and special editions, now regularly funded by the Arts Council England. Since 1999 she has worked internationally as an independent curator and writer. In 2006 she co-curated the first Singapore Biennale. She was a Trustee for Book Works, London (2005-2010) and an academic advisor for the Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong (2005-2009). She currently acts on the boards of several international organisations and journals such as: Arts Initiative Tokyo, Tokyo; In(de)print, South Africa and Camden Council Public Art Advisory Board, London. Sharmini lives and works in London and Columbo.


Kader Attia (B. 1970, Paris) with Curator Laurie Ann Farrell

Born into an Algerian family in Paris, Kader Attia studied both philosophy and fine arts in Paris and Barcelona. He lives and works in Berlin and Algiers.

Attia’s first solo exhibition was held in 1996 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2003 he gained international recognition at the 50th Venice Biennale, and his work at dOCUMENTA(13) in 2012 also received wide attention. In 2014, he was awarded the Berlin Art Prize: Jubilee Foundation 1848/1948.

Kader Attia’s work is known worldwide for its transdisciplinarity that explores the link between non-Western and Western cultures and the historical and organic gaps that modern society continues to generate.

If the starting point of his sensibility was the awareness that the journey is more important than the destination (something his father, who had immigrated to France from Algeria, used to tell him), this nomadic spirit leads him to explore other disciplines that constantly feed his artistic practise. His poetic aesthetics refers to a fascination with architecture, extensive readings of Western and non-Western philosophy, and an interest in the humanities and sciences more generally.

For some years now, his research focuse on the notion of repair as constancy of human nature, which the Western modern mind and the non-Western mind have always conceived oppositely. The visual reach of Kader Attia’s works involves the viewer in his own contradictions of perception.

The layers of his work ensure both a pragmatic and emotional impact.

Recent exhibitions include “Culture, Another Nature Repaired”, a solo show at the Middelheim Museum, Antwerp, ‘Contre Nature’, a solo show at the Beirut Art Center, ‘Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder’, a solo show at Whitechapel Gallery, London, ‘Repair. 5 Acts’, a solo show at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, ‘Construire, Deconstruire, Reconstruire: Le Corps Utopique’, a solo show at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Biennale of Dakar, dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, ‘Performing Histories (1)’ at MoMA, New York, and ‘Contested Terrains’, Tate Modern, London.

Born in 1970, Laurie Ann Farrell is Curator and Executive Director of Exhibitions for the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which operates galleries in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, Lacoste in France and in Hong Kong. From 1999 to 2007 Farrell was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum for African Art in New York.

Hala Elkoussy (b. 1974, Cairo) with Curator Jelle Bouwhuis

Hala Elkoussy received a BA from the American University in 1996 and a Masters of Arts in Image and Communication from Goldsmith’s College, University of London in 2002. She lectured on photography at AUC in 2002-2003.

In 2005-2006, she was a resident artist in the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Elkoussy has written and directed a number of short of films that have been shown in international exhibitions, museums and festivals, among which Tate Modern, Centre Georges Pompidou, Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial, Rotterdam Film Festival. She produced and directed two music videos namely, “Fulan El Fulani”, 2011 and “El Masry”, 2012. In 2013, Elkoussy published a book entitled the “circle of Sein”, a mix of text, photography and drawing. In 2014, Elkoussy launched , FOTOMASR, an archive of historical photographs from Egypt in Egypt, a collection of which was published in a book in 2015 under the title: Wedding Photographs from the collection of Fotomasr. The artist is now in the pre-production stage of her first feature film entitled: Cactus Flower.

Jelle Bouwhuis (NL, 1965) is a curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and heads its project space, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA). He likes to work with artists and collectives who profoundly engage themselves with topical issues in today’s global society. Besides many solo and group shows his activities include intensive long-term assignments such as ‘Project 1975’ (2010-2012), which comprised institutional collaborations in Accra and Dakar. He now heads the three-year program ‘Global Collaborations’ for the Stedelijk Museum and SMBA jointly (2013-2015), which includes collaborative exhibitions and programs in a.o. Yogyakarta, Beyrut, Belgrade and Mumbai. In the Stedelijk Museum itself he compiled the collection-based exhibition ‘How Far How Near, The World at the Stedelijk’, with a publication, as another outcome of this program.

In 2010, Bouwhuis presented the group exhibition ‘Monumentalism. History and National Identity in Contemporary Art’ at the Stedelijk Museum as well as the accompanying publication. In 2013 he co-cursted ‘Spaces of Exception’ in ArtPlay, Moscow, as a special project of the Moscow Biennial. Recent book publications are Now is the Time. Art and theory in the 21st Century, (NAi Publishers, 2009), which he co-edited; and Project 1975 – Contemporary Art and the Postcolonial Unconscious (Blackdog Publishers, London 2014), i.c.w. Kerstin Winking, and the upcoming Zachary Formwalt – Three Exchanges (Roma publishers, 2015). He has worked as a freelance curator, art writer and advisor since 1994, and has been contributing to magazines such as Metropolis M, Frieze, Artforum, Universes-in-universe.org and for numerous monographic art books.

Marwan Sahmarani (b. 1970, Beirut) with Curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta

Marwan Sahmarani received his Diploma from the Ecole Superieure d’Art Graphique Penninghen (Paris) in 1989.

In his figurative, almost phantasmagorical art, Sahmarani depicts the cyclical patterns of violent history in the Middle East.

He has participated in a variety of Solo and Group Exhibitions in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Mahita El Bacha Urieta is a curator, producer and arts policy specialist based in London. She has been active in the Middle East, working with the Sharjah Biennial (2004-07) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH). She has a BA in History and Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean region from the American University of Beirut (1997) and an MA in Arts Policy and Management, City University, London (2000).


Kutlu─č Ataman with Curator Cristiana Perrella

Kutlu─č Ataman, born in Istanbul in 1961, is an acclaimed filmmaker and artist. Ataman's works primarily document the lives of marginalised individuals, examining the ways people create and rewrite their identities through self-expression, blurring the line between reality and fiction. In 2009 Mesopotamian Dramaturgies - a multi-element project which includes Strange Space has been exhibited at Lentos Museum as part of Linz European Capital of Culture 2009. His work fff has been shown at Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2009) and Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009/10).

Born in 1965, Cristiana Perrella was curator of the Contemporary Arts Program at the British School at Rome for ten years until 2008. In 2007 she was the founding curator of SACS, a Regional Agency for Contemporary Art in Sicily. She has published two survey books on the Italian art scene of the 1990s.

Nazgol Ansarinia (b. 1979, Tehran) with Curator Leyla Fakhr

Nazgol Ansarinia’s work examines the systems and networks that underpin her daily life such as everyday objects, routines, events and experiences, and the relationship they form to a larger social context. Born and raised in Tehran, Ansarinia’s practice reflects upon tensions between private worlds and the wider socioeconomic realm, and how local iterations of a culture might act as a site for the hopes and fears of those living in a (faltering) globalised word. Ansarinia often seeks to reveal the ‘inner workings of a social system’ by taking its components apart and putting them together again, to uncover assumptions, connections and underlying rules of engagement.

Her practice is characterized by an emphasis on research and analysis that can be traced back to her background in design, and engagement with critical theory. Her mode of working covers diverse media— video, three- dimensional objects, found street signs and drawings—and subjects as varied as automated telephone systems, American security policy, memories associated with a family house, and the patterns of Persian carpets.

Born in 1979 in Tehran, Nazgol Ansarinia graduated from the London College of Communication in 2001 before taking a Master of Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco in 2003.

Select exhibitions include: Solo show at Green Art Gallery, Dubai (upcoming 2015); Adventure of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015, Whitechapel Gallery, London (upcoming 2015); Longing Persia, Exchange and reception of art in Persia and Europe in the 17th Century & Contemporary Art from Tehran, Museum Rietberg, Zurich (2013); Safar/Voyage at The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (2013); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2012, 2013); A Permanent Record For Future Investigation, Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2012) and Interior Renovations, Tehran, 2010, Green Cardamom, London (2011). Nazgol Ansarinia has been selected for the first MOP/Parasol unit Research Residency in 2014; she took part in the 10th & 12th Istanbul Biennial.

Ansarinia has been featured in a number of publications such Contemporary Practices, Bidoun, Asian Art Newspaper, and Financial Times. Her work is included in the collections of the British Museum and Tate Modern, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Devi Art Foundation, Delhi.

Leyla Fakhr (born 1979, Isfahan) is a producer and curator. She also works as an assistant curator at Tate, London working on the acquisitions and displays of Contemporary Art. She recently produced the documentary ‘Monir’ 2014, directed by Bahman Kiarostami, a film about the life and work of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, which is to be shown at the Guggenheim, New York March-May 2015. Previously she worked as a curator at Green Cardamom where she curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions with South Asian and Middle Eastern Artists. She obtained her MA in Curating at Goldsmiths College, London in 2006 after she worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran. In 2009 she was the recipient for the Abraaj Capital Art Prize with the artist Nazgol Ansarinia and in 2006 she wasawarded the International Curators Invitational from Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah (b. 1977, Moscow) with Curator Carol Solomon

Bouabdellah was born in Moscow in 1977 while her parents were graduate students in documentary film and art history. She soon moved back to her native Algiers where she was frequently in the company of artists, spending time at the Musee National des Beaux-Arts d'Alger, where her mother was curator for ten years and director until 1994 when they were forced to flee to Paris. Bouabdellah shows with Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde, Dubai.

Art historian and curator, Carol Solomon is Visiting Associate Professor at Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on postcolonial and transcultural identity in contemporary art with emphasis on North Africa and the North African diaspora. She is the recipient of Fulbright Fellowships in 2015-16 for research in Morocco and in 2012-13 for research in Morocco and Tunisia. She teaches courses on contemporary art of the Arab world, Iran and Turkey. Also a specialist in nineteenth-century French art, she has published on a range of topics in this area, from Napoleon to Cezanne. She has also taught in Canada at McGill University, and in the United States at Amherst College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. From 2002 to 2008, she was Curator of European Art at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. Exhibitions she has organized relating to her current research include The Third Space (2008, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College); Mapping Identity (2010, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College); and Memory, Place, Desire: Contemporary Art of the Maghreb and the Maghrebi Diaspora (2014, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College). Her essay “Graffiti, Street Art, and the Tunisian Revolution,” is included in the 2015 edited volume entitled The Birth of the Arab Citizen and the Changing of the Middle East.