Ten artists from five Arab countries have been granted production grants from Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy (or Culture Resource), in the second leg of its 2014 Production Awards Programme.
The programme, one of the cultural powerhouse's chief initiatives, assists creators under the age of 35 in the fields of literature, music, theatre, film, video and visual arts.
Winners of the literature grant are Rania Mamoun from Sudan for her novel Azeeb and Soukaina Habiballah from Morocco for Lemaza Ala Zubida An Tantaher (literally, "Why must Zubida commit suicide?"), the latter a novel about the suicide of a mother living in a small town in the north of Morocco.
In visual arts, Raafat Majzoub from Lebanon won a grant for his art installation Alo, Shayfni? (literally, "Hello, can you see me?") and Aly Rafei, also from Lebanon, was selected for his graffiti project Nedob (Scars).
Grants for theatre projects went to Palestine’s Samar Haddad King for the dance performance Jamalyiat Gher Thabeta (Unstable Aesthetics) and to Syria's Sari Mustafa for Helm Montasaf Akher Laylet Saif (Last Summer Day’s Midnight Dream).
In the music category, grants went to Wael Alkak from Syria for Nashamy 2 and to Micheal Rohana from Palestine for producing an album for the brothers Micheal and Nizar Rouhana.
Two Syrians were awarded grants in the film section. Randa Nur Eldeen Maddah was selected for her video Hodod Ala Etlala (Borders with a View), an art piece to be filmed between Damascus and Golan, while Mohamad Yaser Kassab was selected for his project Akh (Brother), a documentary about the journey of a young Syrian man to Lebanon en route to Europe.
The Production Awards Programme hands out up to $6,000 to artists in literature, music, theatre and visual arts, and up to $10,000 in projects submitted in the fields of film and video.
This year, the jury included prominent Arab artists from across various disciplines. In literature, the jury was composed of Syrian author Khaled Khalifa, Moroccan poet Yassin Adnan and Algerian novelist Bachir Mefti.
In visual arts, jury members were Palestine's Larissa Sansour, Syria's Tammam Azzam and Egyptian painter Hany Rashed.
In theatre, the committee included Egyptian choreographer Karima Mansour, Syrian artist Amal Omran and Lebanese director Issam Bou Khaled.
Meanwhile, Egyptian musician Fathy Salama, Lebanese composer Zad Moultaka and Syrian musician Fawaz Baker selected the winners in the music category.
In film, the selection committee included Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi, Iraqi director Mohamed Al-Daradji and Syrian director and producer Orwa Nyrabia.
A total of 130 projects were submitted for this round of awards. The final selection brings the total of supported projects by Al-Mawred to 177 since the inception of the programme in 2004.
Last November, Al-Mawred announced a freeze on all its activities in Egypt, following a controversial draft law to govern NGOs in the country.