D-CAF asks: is art important?

Ahram Online, Tuesday 1 Apr 2014

In seminars taking place from 3 to 6 April at the Greek campus in downtown Cairo, D-CAF explores the importance of art in various domains, including politics and education

Installation at Hassan Khan
Installation at Hassan Khan's survey show, which opened 30 March as part of D-CAF. (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)

The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) is organising a seminar series called 'Is Art Important?'

It will explore the role of art and culture in contemporary Arab society, in the context of socio-political turmoil and transformation.

The discussion series, which takes place over four days from 3 to 6 April, will tackle the role and impact of art in politics and education, and will zoom in on contemporary Middle Eastern art from an international perspective. Personal testimonies and panel discussions featuring international artists and cultural practitioners will act as the skeleton for the sessions.

Is Art Important? is curated by independent cultural manager and researcher Jumana Al-Yasiri (Iraq/Syria). Al-Yasiri holds a BA in Theatre Studies from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, and an MA in Comparative Literature from University of Paris 8. She is currently pursuing a PhD in History and the Semiology of Texts and Images at the University of Paris 7. Her research revolves around the changes unfolding in the Syrian art landscape since 2011.

3 April, 3pm - 5pm
Why is Art So Important?

The first in the series of four discussions will examines the role of art and culture in the context of socio-political change in contemporary societies.

- Hassan El-Geretly (Egypt)
- Etienne Minoungou (Burkina Faso)
- Fatin Farhat (Palestine)
- Julie Kretzchmar (France)
- Christopher Hibma (USA)
Moderator: Amany Abouzeid (Egypt)

4 April, 3pm - 5pm
Art and the Political

This session revisits the role played by Arab artists in the 20th century, revealing valuable lessons that could benefit contemporary societies.

- Emmanuel Audelo (Mexico)
- Saad Hajo (Syria)
- Sondos Shabayek (Egypt)
- Ganzeer (Egypt)
Moderator: Ronnie Close (Ireland)

5 April, 3pm - 5pm
Arts Education and Educating Through Arts

This session will highlight existing initiatives in the Middle East that have made use of art as a tool for creative learning and inclusion.

- Khawla Abou Saada (Syria/Egypt)
- Zeina Assaf / 98weeks (Lebanon)
- Brian Conley (USA)
- Shady El-Noshokaty (Egypt)
- Jan Williams (Netherlands/Palestine)
Moderator: Mia Jankowicz (UK)

6 April, 3pm - 5pm
Contemporary Middle-Eastern Art from an International Perspective

The final session in the discussion series will analyse the post-Arab spring interest in Arab literature, cinema, visual arts and theatre, and its positive and negative aspects for artists from the region.

- Thierry Fabre (France)
- Laila Hourani (Syria)
- Nanda Mohamed (Syria)
- Cynthia Schneider (USA)

All sessions are free of charge and will take place at the Greek campus, 28 Falaki Street, Bab El-Louk, Cairo

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