From strength to strength: Arab Arts Focus at the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Mar 2018

This year marks the fourth edition of the Arab Arts Focus, with a particularly rich programme on offer this time around

(Photos: D-CAF's promotional material of AAF)

The 4th Arab Arts Focus (AFF) event will take place in Cairo from 22 to 26 March, within the framework of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), which runs from 8 to 29 March.

Arab Arts Focus was launched in 2014, providing a biennial event focussing on Arab artists the issues of the Arab artistic practicice, with the aim of actively supporting the development of the sector in the region.

"Now in its fourth edition, AAF is building on its experience of having provided dozens of artists from the larger region with quality opportunities to showcase their work to industry professionals and international audiences alike," reads the AAF material provided by D-CAF.

The AAF took place in Cairo in 2014 and 2016, with a 2017 edition taking place in Edinburgh, in partnership with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world's largest arts festival.

In 2016, more than 80 programmers from five continents came to Cairo to see seven original theatrical performances, two music concerts, and an exhibition by young Arab visual artists. This traction inspired Orient Productions, the company organizing D-CAF and AAF.

In Edinburgh, the AAF showcased 10  theatre and dance productions by artists from Palestine, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Tunisia. AFF performances won six nominations and four international prizes in Edinburgh.

"This programme, curated by an international committee, successfully offered the diverse audiences in Scotland an intense presence of Arab art," says the D-CAF website.

"It revealed to many people for the first time the diversity within the arts in the Arab region, and allowed for a wider understanding of the area and its people. This became evident by the overwhelming positive reactions that were received, but also based on the high demand for tickets and the large number of people that came to see the performances, reaching well over 5,000 attendees."

The AFF is going from strength to strength this year, providing an impressive array of talent from across the region.

"In its fourth edition, the AAF again invites festival programmers and producers from all over the world to immerse themselves in art works and performances specifically from the region, many of them being shown for the first time.

"The Arab Arts Focus is an opportunity for audiences to see these works, but it also creates a space for these handpicked artists to show their amazing talents to the international community and gain the exposure they deserve," the organisers reveal.

Check the AAF's full programme below:









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