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Since its launch in Damascus in 2010, the aim of the Visual Arts Festival Damascus has been to create a platform for meetings and debates focusing on contemporary visual practice in the Middle East and to encourage and facilitate exchange between young artists in Syria and the neighbouring Arab countries as well as their international peers.
When the Syrian uprising began in 2011, the format of the festival changed and became nomadic: In 2012, it was hosted by the International Film Festival Rotterdam, as part of the “Power Cut Middle East” program, and in 2013 a program of exhibition, screenings, talks and workshops will be hosted by DEPO in Istanbul. The program has been selected on the basis of a call for digital art works for artists from the Arab countries and Turkey.
The past years have been particularly turbulent, violent and stressful in most countries of the Arab world. These upheavals and the questions accompanying them have left their traces in the works of many artists of the region. The search for new definitions of social and geographical identities and roles, the need to create new notions of belonging and a general turn towards centering the human experience within artistic practice are themes discernible in these new productions. Many of the selected projects address important social issues and many have a distinctive activist character.
The program proposes a glimpse into this young, engaged and exciting art scene and invites the audience to participate to the round tables and discussions proposed at DEPO during the two days following the opening and closed by an experimental audiovisual performance.
Madonna Adib, Amr Al Chalati, Akram Al Halabi, Sama Alshaibi, Basma Alsharif, Artikiṣler / Wastedworks Video Collective, Mouna Abo Assali, Collective No, Özden Demir, Róza El-Hassan, Bariṣ Eviz, Sirine Fattouh, Foundland Collective, Paul Hage Boutros, Ipek Hamzaoğlu, Khaled Jarrar, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Katia Kameli, Christophe Katrib, Mazen Kerbaj, Elif Köse, Masasit Mati, Amina Menia, e. belit sağ, Maryam Samaan, Salah Saouli, Sharif Sehnaoui, Deniz Üster, Mayye Zayed.
The Visual Arts Festival Damascus would like to thank our sponsors, Prince Claus Fund, the Danish Arts Council and Agial Gallery, Beirut for their support and DEPO for hosting us for one month of activities.
Charlotte Bank & Delphine Leccas