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Arab Documentary Photography Program Grantees Gather in Beirut

 (left to right) Tarek Haddad, Ahmed Gaber, Btihal Remli, Mohamed Mahdy, Fethi Sahraoui, Hesham Elsherif (front) Sima Ajlyakin, Mohamed Altoum, Rawan Mazeh

(left to right) Tarek Haddad, Ahmed Gaber, Btihal Remli, Mohamed Mahdy, Fethi Sahraoui, Hesham Elsherif (front) Sima Ajlyakin, Mohamed Altoum, Rawan Mazeh

In early April, grantees and mentors of the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP) gathered together in Beirut at the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) for their second workshop of the program. In a series of editing sessions, group critiques, and one-to-one meetings with their program mentors and advisors, grantees propelled their projects forward and planned next steps for completing or embarking on another phase of work.

 Tarek Haddad,

Tarek Haddad,

 Ahmed Gaber, Peter Van Agtmael, Fethi Sahraoui

Ahmed Gaber, Peter Van Agtmael, Fethi Sahraoui

This year’s grantees include Btihal Remli, Sima Ajlyakin, Mohamed Altoum, Rawan Mazeh, Fethi Sahraoui, Tarek Haddad, Ahmed Gaber, Mohamed Mahdy, and Hesham Elsherif. Coming from Morocco, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon, Algeria, and Egypt, this workshop creates a space that transcends geographies and political barriers within the Middle East, allowing for rich creative cross-pollination.

Over three days, grantees worked to identify their targeted audiences and the appropriate forms for their projects to take for engaging and potentially mobilizing these audiences. Framed by program mentors Randa Shaath, Eric Gottesman, Tanya Habjouqa, and Peter van Agtmael, grantees wrestled with pedagogic questions like: How do you photograph the invisible? What are the limitations of photography? What's the value of being an “insider” or an “outsider” in relation to your subject? And practice-based questions around their individual projects, such as: What are the potential impacts of your work? Could your work put you or your subjects in danger? What are the challenges in representing people whose identities are not accepted by society? How can photography address social stigmas in the Arab world?

 Randa Shaath, Mohamed Altoum

Randa Shaath, Mohamed Altoum

 Sima Ajlyakin

Sima Ajlyakin

 Rawan Mazeh, Btihal Remli

Rawan Mazeh, Btihal Remli

Also supporting the grantees and facilitating the workshop were Susan Meiselas, president of the Magnum Foundation, Bertan Selim, grants and collaborations program coordinator at the Prince Claus Fund, Rima Mismar, executive director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Noelle Flores-Théard, program associate at Magnum Foundation, and coordinator Jessica Murray of Al-Liquindoi.

For the next month, mentors will continue to work with grantees to connect them with relevant experts and resources and strategizing about how they will integrate the various responses and feedback into the next stage of their project’s development.

ADPP is a joint initiative between Magnum Foundation (MF), the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), and the Prince Claus Fund (PCF) to support and amplify creative approaches to visual storytelling that challenge conventional narratives about the Arab region. To date, ADPP has supported 38 artists and visual storytellers, 19 women and 17 men, from 15 countries across the Arab region.

We’re currently accepting applications for the fifth cycle of the program.
Proposals are due May 1, 2018.

Simone Salvo