Initiated by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation in 2011, Ibraaz is the leading critical forum on visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East. We publish an annual online platform – consisting of essays, interviews, artists' projects, and platform responses – that focuses on research questions conceived through a network of editorial contributors based in the Middle East and beyond. Our key editorial aim is to publish, alongside work by internationally renowned writers, academics, curators, activists, and filmmakers, emerging writers and artists.
Apart from organizing critical debates and discussions within the region, Ibraaz also publishes a series of books under the 'Visual Culture in the Middle East' title. To date, these have included Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (2016); Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (2015); and Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (2014). Two further volumes are in production for 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Follow this link to read an interview with Anthony Downey, editor of Future Imperfect and Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz, as featured in Di'van (December 2016).
Anthony Downey is the Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. Recent and upcoming publications include Don't Shrink me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walther König Books, forthcoming, 2017); The Matter of Critique, in partnership with Renzo Martens and the Institute of Human Activities (Third Text, forthcoming 2018); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016); Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2015); Art and Politics Now (Thames and Hudson, 2014); Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2014); Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (JRP Ringier, 2015); and The Future of a Promise: Contemporary Art from the Arab World (Ibraaz Publishing, 2011). Anthony has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, London, and is the Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz. He sits on the editorial board of Third Text. He is also a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and is a Trustee of Strange Cargo, Arts Cabinet, and the Maryam and Edward Eisler Foundation, respectively. Since 2012, he has been a Consulting Editor for the Open Arts Journal (Open University, England).
Lina Lazaar is the Associate Editor of Ibraaz. She has an MA in Statistics, an MA in Art History and is a specialist at Sotheby's London in Post War and Contemporary Art. Her passion for Arab and Iranian Contemporary Art led Sotheby's to hold their first European auctions in this category in 2007. Since then she has curated these sales annually and significantly increased the international exposure and discussion of Middle Eastern contemporary art. Lina is a member of the Middle East North Africa Acquisitions Committee of Tate Modern, London. In 2011, she curated a collateral event of the 54th Venice biennial The Future of a Promise, the largest Pan-Arab contemporary art show in Venice.
Stephanie Bailey is Ibraaz Senior Editor, Ocula Editor-at-large, a contributing editor to ART PAPERS and LEAP, and the current curator of the Conversations and Salon Programme at Art Basel Hong Kong. A member of the Naked Punch Editorial Committee, she also writes regularly for Artforum International, Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, and D’ivan, A Journal of Accounts.
Born in Hong Kong and essentially made in Greece, where she directed and managed a BTEC-accredited Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Doukas from 2009 to 2012, her interests include the articulations of history and the relations of power coded into the production and exchange of culture. Essays have appeared in You Are Here: Art After the Internet (ed. Omar Kholeif, Space/Cornerhouse, 2014); Happy Hypocrite #8: FRESH HELL (ed. Sophia Al-Maria, Book Works, 2015); Armenity, the catalogue for the Armenian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (ed. Adelina von Furstenburg, Skira, 2015); the 20th Biennale of Sydney catalogue: The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed (ed. Stephanie Rosenthal, 2016); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (ed. Anthony Downey, Sternberg Press, 2016); New Normal (text presented in 2017 as an exhibition object at UMAM-BR and Dawawine, Beirut, and Supa Salon, Istanbul, as curated by Murat Adash and Hiba Farhat); and Germaine Kruip: Works 1999–2017 (ed. Krist Gruijthuijsen, Koenig Books, London/Oude Kerk, Amsterdam/KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2018).
Recent editorial projects include: Children of Empire, LEAP issue 37 (February 2016), with contributions from, among others, Anna Kats, Walter D. Mignolo, Uzma Rizvi and Lantian Xie, and Non-Aligned Movements, LEAP issue 45 (June 2017), with contributors including, among others, Jesse Darling, Hannah Black, Malak Helmy, Mi You, and Vijay Prashad.
Ala Younis is a research-based artist. Collaboration forms a big part of her practice, as does curating, and film and book projects. Younis's projects are expanded experiences of relating to materials from distant times and places; working against archives play on predilections and how its lacunas and mishaps that manipulates the imagination. Her projects include Plan for Greater Baghdad, presented at 56th Venice Biennale's All the World's Futures, An Index of Tensional and Unintentional Love of Land within Here and Elsewhere at New Museum, New York, and Tin Soldiers, presented at Istanbul Biennial (2011) and Home Works 5 (2010). She curated National Works for Kuwait's first national pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia (2013), This land first speaks to you in signs (2015) and Covering One's Back (2013) in Cairo, Museum of Manufactured Response to Absence (2012-ongoing), and Out of Place (2011) at Tate Modern (London) and Darat al Funun (Amman). She is the co-founder of the non-profit publishing initiative Kayfa ta, and is on the Advisory Board of Berlinale's Forum Expanded.
Commissioning Editor (Essays)
Amira Gad (Egyptian / French) has been Exhibitions Curator at the Serpentine Galleries in London, since 2014. Prior to this, Gad was Managing Curator & Head of Publications at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, where she worked from 2009 to 2014.
Outside of the Serpentine Galleries, recent curated exhibitions include Blue Times at Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, Austria (2014-2015). She was also curator at Fogo Island Arts of the conference series that took place on Fogo and in Vienna at the MAK, while forthcoming exhibitions include Angela Bulloch | Maria Zerres at the Sharjah Art Museum (2016). At the Serpentine, curated exhibitions include: Reiner Ruthenbeck (2014); Julio Le Parc (2014); Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2015); Jimmie Durham (2015); and Simon Denny (2015).
At Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, she co-curated the exhibition Short Big Drama, a solo exhibition of Angela Bulloch (2012); among other projects. Gad was Project Manager of Alexandre Singh's play The Humans and organized the exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson (both in 2013); as well as I am for an art criticism that… (2012) a two-day symposium presented at Witte de With and at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
In addition to contributing to a number of publications and catalogues, Gad has produced and has been editor of several books including catalogues of works by Simon Denny (2015); Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2015); Jimmie Durham (2015); as well as Character is Fate: Piet Mondrian's Horoscopes, an artist book by Willem de Rooij (2015); Rotterdam South - Home, an artist book by Erik van Lieshout (2014); The Crime Was Almost Perfect (2014); Morality in Fragments (2014); Angela Bulloch (2012); and Rotterdam-Sensitive Times (2013) by Lidwien van de Ven.
Commissioning Editor (Projects)
Amal Khalaf is a researcher and curator and currently Projects Curator at the Serpentine Galleries working on the Edgware Road Project. With an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, her research addresses themes of urbanism, community, media activism and art through participatory projects, and media initiatives. Previously she has worked for Al Riwaq Gallery, Bahrain and set up a project space in an abandoned railway arch in East London, Hold & Freight (2008-2009).
Commissioning Editor (Ibraaz Channel)
Sheyma Buali works across the spectrum of cultural content production and film exhibition with a focus on the Middle East. She is currently Director of the BBC Arabic Festival, as well as Commissioning Editor for Creative Time Reports and Culture Correspondent for Asharq AlAwsat. Her writing has featured in a number of edited volumes, international publications and exhibition catalogs. Follow her on Twitter @sheymab.
Commissioning Editor (Reviews)
Reema Salha Fadda
Reema Salha Fadda is Commissioning Editor (Reviews) at Ibraaz, and a writer and researcher on cultural practices from the MENA region. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Oxford, working on the political economy of cultural development in Palestine. Her research provides an ethnographic account of artistic communities in the occupied Palestinian territories, at a time when political uncertainties and neoliberal agendas are shaping cultural intervention and production in the region. Fadda seeks to arrive at a detailed account of cultural production in oPt - shaped as it is by certain socio-economic discourses, accelerated political violence and restrictive financial structures – and the strategies of artistic communities and Palestinian-led cultural interventions that are working to defy the artificial and violent constraints imposed on cultural life in Palestine. The political economy offers a general framework to understand the dominant architecture shaping the cultural field - namely Israel’s military occupation and spatial reordering of the oPt and intensified processes of de-culturalization; the effects of neoliberal policies on the public sphere; the agenda-setting of foreign investment agendas; and the impact of globalized arts markets on the production, dissemination and reception of Palestinian culture. Fadda’s project also examines the considerable role of the regional Diaspora on the collection, production and exhibition of Palestinian arts and culture.
Fadda was a CBRL research fellow at the Kenyon Insitute in Jerusalem and was awarded the Darat al-Funun dissertation fellowship in Amman 2016. She writes for publications including Ocula and Ibraaz, and has worked on cultural programming and fundraising initiatives in Palestine, Cairo and London. Reema holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Cultural Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies. @reemafadda
Online Content Manager / Photo Editor
Ajay Hothi is a writer and lecturer. He is the editor of A CUT A SCRATCH A SCORE (Art Editions North, 2015), a book on contemporary multimedia performance art, and his writing regularly appears in publications including Art Monthly, Art in America, Artforum and DIS Magazine. Ajay has made documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 2, Serpentine Galleries, Art Basel, and Design Miami, among other international broadcasters and venues. He holds an MPhil from the Royal College of Art, London, and is a lecturer at Kingston University and London College of Communication. All work can be found on ajayhothi.com. Ajay can be found online @ajayhothi.
Partnerships and Special Projects Manager
Aimee Dawson studied Arabic and Middle East Studies at the University of Exeter and holds a Masters in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. She has contributed to a number of publications including Ibraaz, Reorient, Mada Masr and The Mosaic Rooms blog, and regularly writes for The Art Newspaper. She was Writer-in-Residence for Shubbak Festival 2015 and Guest Blogger for Nour Festival of Arts 2015. Follow her on Twitter @amldawson
Amina Diab is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art at the University of York, in partnership with Tate Modern. Her doctoral project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is entitled "Re-displaying the Modern: A History of Art Exhibitions, Artistic Networks and Institutions in the Middle East and North Africa from 1930-1989." She holds a B.A. in History from the American University in Cairo and a M.Phil. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford.
Haig AivazianMonira Al QadiriMarwa ArsaniosLaura CugusiWalter D. MignoloTania El KhouryWafa GabsiAleya HamzaShuruq HarbSamah HijawiNatasha HoareFawz KabraGöksu KunakNat MullerDaniella Rose KingBaşak ŞenovaTom Snow
Haig Aivazian is an artist, writer and curator, currently based in New York. He works with text, sculpture, video, performance and drawing in order to weave in and out of personal and geo-political, micro and macro narratives in the search for ideological loopholes and short circuits. Aivazian was associate curator of the tenth edition of the Sharjah Biennial in 2011 and his writings have appeared in a number of publications, including Bidoun, AdBusters, FUSE, AMCA and The Arab Studies Journal.
Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti visual artist and film maker born in Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East region stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. Her practice explores the relationship between narcissism and masculinity, and is recently expanding towards more socio-political subjects. Al Qadiri has taken part in exhibitions and film screenings in Tokyo, Kuwait, Beirut, Dubai, Berlin, New York and Moscow among others. She is also part of the artist collective GCC.
Marwa Arsanios is a visual artist based in Beirut, Lebanon. She completed her BA in Graphic Design from the Lebanese American University (2001), and obtained her MFA from Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London (2007). She has exhibited in London, Beirut, Athens, Oxford, Lisbon, Santiago de Chile, Rome and Damascus. Her work was shown at Art Dubai in the Bidoun Lounge (Art Park), at Forum Expanded at the Berlinale 2010, at the Homeworks V forum in Beirut and at Tokyo Wonder Site in Tokyo. Her videos have been screened at several festivals and events such as the Rio de Janeiro film festival in 2010, the e-flux storefront in New York, and most recently at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. She is a founding member of the artist organization, and research and project space 98weeks, and one of the organizers of the travelling exhibition project Platform Translation.
Laura Cugusi was born in Sardinia and lived in and out of Cairo since 2008. After completing her studies in media theory and social sciences at the University of Bologna and Santiago de Compostela, she has been involved in multiple research projects focusing on irregular migration via the Mediterranean Sea, and on mapping informal urban practices in Egypt, which she worked on in collaboration with the American University in Cairo and the Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research respectively. Together with Lina Attalah and Nida Ghouse, she co-founded the independent research based art collective Take to the Sea. They exhibited in Manifesta 8 in Murcia (2010), the Hydrarchy show at the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo (2012), the Yogyakarta Biennale (2013) and had their first solo show in Cairo at Nile Sunset Annex in 2013. Her writing and photography have been featured in several publications, among others Ibraaz, Nafas Art Magazine, Canvas, Mada Masr, Jadaliyya, Egypt Independent, The Exorcist (Van Abbe Museum), PhotoCairo5 Catalogue, "E ntry Points. The Vera List Center Field Guide on Art and Social Justice" (forthcoming) and "Dissonant Archives: Knowledge Production and Contested Narratives in the Middle East".
Walter D. Mignolo is an Argentine semiotician (École des Hautes Études) and professor at Duke University, who has published extensively on semiotics and literary theory, and worked on different aspects of the modern and colonial world, exploring concepts such as global coloniality, the geopolitics of knowledge, transmodernity, border thinking, and pluriversality.
Tania El Khoury is an artist working between London and Beirut. She creates interactive and challenging performances in which the audience is an active collaborator. Tania's solo work has toured internationally in venues such as ICA, Artsadmin, Watermill Center, Tanzquartier Wien amongst others, and for which she is the recipient of the Total Theatre Innovation Award and the Arches Brick Award. She is the co-founder of Dictaphone Group, a research and performance collective aiming at questioning our relationship to the city and its public space.
Wafa Gabsi was born in Tunisia and studied Fine Art in Tunis, before completing her Masters in Cultural studies from the University of Paris1, La Sorbonne. She is currently carrying out doctoral research on contemporary southern Mediterranean artists on the international circuit of art and cultural globalization. She has published writing in a number of journals and publications, including a report on the art scene in Tunisia for the book Moment's Notice: Collected Encounters, published in Berlin and Manila; Case study in Tunisia in REDES; La singularité artistique face au danger de l’apanage identitaire, in collaboration with the National Center for Scientific Research of Paris; and contributed to The Changing Room: Arab Reflections on Praxis and Times.
Aleya Hamza is an independent curator based in Cairo. Since completing her MA in History of Art at Goldsmiths College in 2001, she has lectured in contemporary art at the American University in Cairo, and worked as a curator at Townhouse Gallery and the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo. Her projects and exhibitions have been featured internationally in Alexandria, Amsterdam, Beirut, Berlin, Bonn, Budapest, Cairo, London, Odense and Rabat. She co-curated the third and fourth editions of PhotoCairo, and her most recent exhibition Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear (2013) was on show at the Tate Modern in London and the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo in 2012-2013. She is the founder and director of Gypsum, a new international contemporary art gallery established in Cairo in 2013 – www.gypsumgallery.com.
Shuruq Harb is a visual artist and writer based in Ramallah, Palestine. Her work has been exhibited internationally, most notably at Ikon Gallery, Istanbul Biennial, Gwangju Biennale. She co-founded a number of independent initiatives: ArtTerritories, an online publishing platform, and 'The river has two banks' an ongoing initiative connecting artists across Jordan and Palestine.
Samah Hijawi is a multi media artist, writer and curator living and working between Jordan and Belgium. Since 2005 she has collectively managed Makan Art Space in Jordan with Ola El Khalidi and Diala Khasawnih, and co-curates the on-going platform The River has Two Banks with Toleen Touq and Shuruq Harb. Her artistic projects have been presented in Darat Al Funun; the Khalid Shoman Foundation, Jordan, MoMA, USA, Beirut Art Center, Lebanon and Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Germany among others.
Natasha Hoare is a curator at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam since 2014. Hoare has co-curated exhibitions including Art In the Age Of… Energy and Raw Material (2014); No Humans Involved (2015) by HowDoYouSayYamInAfrican?; Art In The Age Of… Asymmetrical Warfare (2015); Relational Stalinism – The Musical (2016) by Michael Portnoy; and the series Para | Fictions (2016–2017) with artists Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Lucy Skaer, Oscar Santillan, Mark Geffriaud and Laure Prouvost. She holds an MA in Curating from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, and a BA in English Literature from Edinburgh University. Prior to joining Witte de With she worked as Assistant Curator for the Visual Arts section of the Marrakech Biennale 5 (2014) and for On Geometry and Speculation, a parallel project for the Marrakech Biennale 4 (2012). She has previously worked as Studio Manager for artist Mark Wallinger, and Special Projects Manager for artist Shezad Dawood.
Fawz Kabra is a writer and curator currently based in New York. She completed her MA at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (2013), and received her BFA in Studio Arts at Concordia University in Montreal (2004). She has worked with the Emirates Foundation, Abu Dhabi (2007), and continued on to curate public programs at the Cultural District, Abu Dhabi from 2008–2011. She co-curated the ongoing project, Brief Histories (Sharjah, UAE, 2011) exploring responsive practices to the rapidly shifting contexts and meanings in current global issues. Fawz worked with the Park Avenue Armory for WS: Paul McCarthy (2013).
Göksu Kunak (1985, Ankara) is a writer based in Berlin. S/he received a BA degree in Interior Architecture and Environmental Design from Bilkent University. Before Berlin, s/he worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Art History at Hacettepe University where s/he has her/his MA as well. Besides working in the editorial team of quarterly interview magazine mono.kultur, Göksu has been contributing to several magazines and blogs such as frieze d/e, Ibraaz, Paper Journal, Freunde von Freunden, Berlin Art Link, sleek, e-skop, crap=good, Istanbul'74. Between 2012-2014, s/he has worked as a writer and project developer as a part of Apartment Project Berlin. She will start her PhD soon on queer chronopolitics in relation to performance art and contemporary dance. Göksu's short stories and poems can be read via goksukunak.tumblr.com.
Nat Muller is an independent curator and critic based in Amsterdam. Her main interests are the politics of representation, contemporary art from the Middle East, and food. She has written numerous catalogue and monographic essays on artists from the Middle East and has curated exhibitions, screening programs and other projects internationally. www.natmuller.com
Daniella Rose King is a curator and writer currently resident in London. Most recently she was Program Curator at MASS Alexandria, an independent study and studio program for artists in Egypt. While in this role she curated the program of workshops, lectures, screenings and discussions at MASS Alexandria and Exhibition 2, a group show featuring the work of 18 students who took part in the 2012 program. King holds a BA in History of Art from the University of Manchester and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art in London. She recently contributed to Adel Abidin's exhibition catalogue Symphony at Lawrie Shabibi Gallery (Dubai 2013), Hatje Cantz's On One Side of the Same Water: Artistic Practice between Tirana and Tangier (Germany, 2012) and The Right Dissonance (London, 2011) a collection of interviews between emerging curators and artists. She has written for Frieze, Art Monthly, Universes in Universe – Worlds of Art, Portal 9, and Harper's Bazaar Art. Between 2009 and 2011, King worked as Assistant Curator in Nottingham Contemporary's Exhibitions and Public Programmes departments.
Başak Şenova is a curator and designer; studied Literature and Graphic Design (MFA in Graphic Design and Ph.D. in Art, Design and Architecture at Bilkent University) and attended the 7th Curatorial Training Programme of Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam. She has been writing on art, technology and media, initiating and developing projects and curating exhibitions since 1995.
Senova is is an editorial correspondent for ibraaz.org; Turkish correspondent of Flash Art International, and one of the founding members of NOMAD, as well as the organizer of ctrl_alt_del sound art project and Upgrade!Istanbul. She curated Zorlu Center Collection for two years (2011-2012). Senova is an advisory board member of the Istanbul Biennial (2014-present). As an assistant professor, she lectured in various universities in Istanbul such as Kadir Has University, Bilgi University, Koç University and Bilkent University. At the moment, she is lecturing at Ankara Social Sciences University and the resident fellow at the University of the Arts, Helsinki in co-operation with HIAP. Senova was the curator of the Pavilion of Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennale. She co-curated the UNCOVERED (Cyprus) and the 2nd Biennial of Contemporary Art, D-0 ARK Underground (Bosnia and Herzegovina). In 2014, she acted as the Art Gallery Chair of (ACM) SIGGRAPH 2014 (Vancouver) the curator of the Helsinki Photography Biennial 2014 and the Jerusalem Show. In 2015, she curated the Pavilion of Republic of Macedonia at the 56th Venice Biennale and in 2016, Lines of Passage (in medias res) Exhibition in Lesvos.
Tom Snow is writer and PhD candidate in the History of Art Department, University College London. His current research focuses on tensions between social movements, critical art practice, and the neoliberal institution, with a particular focus on Istanbul between 2009 and 2013.