Ibraaz Launch Venice
Ibraaz's launch at the 54th Venice Biennale on 1 June 2011 was met with an overwhelming response. Coinciding with the opening of The Future of a Promise (curated by Ibraaz's Associate Editor Lina Lazaar), we launched our web research forum and first publication, the latter being the eponymous catalogue for the show.
Within just a couple hours, over 2000 web-users from more than 80 countries had visited www.ibraaz.org and discovered our first selection of texts, which included Marwa Arsanios and Cecilia Andersson's script for a play on the work of Christian Ghazzi; Raymond W. Baker's essay on systematic cultural cleansing in Iraq; Rachida Triki's essay on the potential of social networking in the Middle East; Ela Greenberg's writing on the impact of G-Town, a hip-hop group formed in Jerusalem's Shu'afat Refugee Camp; and Lina Lazaar's interview with the Muslim scholar Mohamed Talbi.
Ibraaz's editor, Anthony Downey, said he was taken aback by the immediately positive response to the research forum and suggested that the level of interest proved a substantial need for in-depth essays and critical analysis of visual culture in the region.
Our first platform for discussion "What do we need to know about the MENA region today?" – answered by, among others, Tony Chakar, Ghalya Saadawi, Ahlam Shibli, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Chamber of Public Secrets, Ursula Biemann and Shuruq Harb, and Joe Khalil – also proved particularly popular.
We were inundated with comments. Here is a small selection:
"Congratulations on the successful launch of Ibraaz. The website looks great and I look forward to reading it over the coming years."
Murtaza Vali, writer and curator, New York and Sharjah
"I just saw Ibraaz's website and it looks amazing!!"
Dalia Khamissy, photographer, Beirut
"Congratulations on the excellent website!"
Joseph McGonagle, Lecturer in Cultural Studies, The University of Manchester
Ibraaz is now preparing its second platform for discussion - to be officially launched in November 2011. Details will be announced shortly.
The Future of a Promise catalogue is available from the venue (Magazzini del Sale, No. 262 - Dorsoduro, Fondamenta Delle Zattere, Venezia) and will be shortly available to purchase from Amazon.co.uk.
To read selected press on The Future of a Promise please click on the links below.
International Herald Tribune, "Echoes of Political Unrest at Venice Biennale", by Nazanin Lankarani
Le Monde, "Venise galvanisée par le "printemps arabe" et l'Orient", by Philippe Dagen
Financial Times, "A spring in their step", by Rachel Spence
Asian Art Newspaper, by Lucien de Guise
Vogue, Italy by Chiara Donn