Announcing the 2019 Arab Documentary Photography Program Grantees

Thana Faroq, Yemen

Thana Faroq, Yemen

Alongside The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and the Prince Claus Fund (PCF), we are pleased to announce nine new projects to be supported as part of the sixth cycle of the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP).

The Arab Documentary Photography Program offers production support for long-term creative projects within a six-month individual mentorship program with Randa Shaath, Eric Gottesman, Tanya Habjouqua, and Peter van Agtmael. Over the course of the program, the grantees come together for two intensive workshops in Beirut to aid in the development of their projects. This year’s grantees are:

  • Thana Faroq, Some Quiet Noise | Yemen

  • Somaya Abdelrahman, A Permanent Wound | Egypt

  • Salih Basheer, The Home Seekers | Sudan

  • Mohammed Alkouh, Failaka | Kuwait

  • Dania Hany, Here, There, or Elsewhere | Egypt

  • Fathi Hawas, Margined in a Supposed Green | Egypt

  • Khalfa, Je T'aime Hic | Algeria

  • Mariam Alarab, But Hope Is Born from the Suffering Womb | Bahrain

  • Emanuelle Ferneini, A Bigger Room | Lebanon

This year’s grantees were selected from 84 applicants from 16 Arab countries, by a three-member jury in Beirut. This year’s jury committee was comprised of Magnum Foundation’s Executive Director Kristen Lubben; Lebanese artist, photographer and professor Gregory Buchakjian; and Algerian/French artist Bruno Boudjelal. They issued the following statement:

We selected nine very strong applicants from Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Algeria, Yemen, and Bahrain. While these artists represent a variety of approaches and profiles, several themes emerged across their projects: displacement and migration; intimate portrayals of place and memory; youth culture; and tensions and violence surrounding gender and social expectations. 

The very encouraging news is that so many young photographers are dedicated to pursuing their work, even when working in isolation or in challenging environments. Though photographers from elsewhere can and do take pictures of the region, the applicants to the ADPP program are doing something very different in their work: re-appropriating their own stories and those of their countries. A primary goal of this program is to bring these photographers into a network of support and mentorship, so that their unique perspectives and capacities are developed.

Six of the nine selected projects are by women. While this was not intentional on the part of the jury, it reflected the strength of this year’s proposals by female photographers, which is particularly notable given the larger contexts for women in the region. As is typical for the program, the largest number of applicants came from Egypt, with Lebanon and North Africa also well represented. In the future, and given the political transformations underway, we should see more variety, including from the Gulf region.

The program was created to support and amplify creative approaches to visual storytelling that challenge conventional narratives about the region.

The nine selected projects reflect a range of social, political, and personal issues, such as the lived and internal experiences of asylum seekers trying to rebuild notions of home; violence against domestic workers and practices of genital mutilation; and the struggles of youth in marginalized areas and challenges faced by LGBTQ communities. 

As the new grantees begin their projects, participants of the 2018 cycle are finalizing and share their visual stories. Learn more about the program and the projects of the previous five cycles here.

Simone Salvo