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The Texas Arabs

In 2014, over 40 contemporary Arab artists will showcase work addressing aesthetic and societal questions about modern Arab culture at a major photography and visual art festival in Texas

Ahram Online, Wednesday 16 Jan 2013
Khaled Hefez (Egypt), The A77A Project: on Presidents & Superheroes (still from video), 2009
Khaled Hefez (Egypt), The A77A Project: on Presidents & Superheroes (still from video), 2009
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Arab artists will be highlighted in the Texas FotoFest 2014 Biennial, where they will exhibit photography, video and multi-media installations that tackle various aesthetic and societal values influencing contemporary Arab culture. The 15th International Biennale of Photography and Photo-related Art, which will take place in the spring of 2014 in Houston, Texas, will showcase work by more than 40 contemporary Arab artists, drawing on the emergence of photography and video as expressive media in modern-day Arab societies.

“The FotoFest 2014 Biennial will present a focused selection of the best contemporary photography, video and photo-based installation art being done by Arab artists in the Middle East and North Africa,” says FotoFest Senior Curator and Artistic Director Wendy Watriss. “The Biennial will emphasise ideas and subjects important to contemporary Arab artists working with these media.”

Karin Adrian von Roques, an expert who has spent 20 years working in the Middle East surrounded by contemporary Arab art, will be the commissioned curator for FotoFest 2014. “The FotoFest 2014 Biennial will be the first presentation of contemporary photo-based and video art from the Arab countries to be done in the United States in recent years,” she says. “We are looking at the work of the most important artists from several Arab countries.”

FotoFest 2014, scheduled to run from 15 March to 27 April, 2014, will showcase works with a number of recurring underlying themes, including the emergence of secular art and culture in modern societies, the desert as metaphor, religion and faith in everyday life, a sense of belonging and feelings of estrangement, the complexities of East-West relations, the rapidity of social, economic and environmental change, particularly in the Gulf, the position of women in Arab societies and the recent political changes.

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