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What do we need to know about the MENA region today?

Elizabeth Markevitch and Dorothea Schöne
1 June 2011


Sama Alshaibi
Sweep, 2010
Courtesy of Selma Feriani Gallery, London and on air on ikono TV


The question 'What do we need to know about the MENA region today?' poses an important and challenging demand on the respondents. With regards to the art, you can easily point at world heritage: art came from the MENA region and spread throughout the world. But we shall go further, dig deeper into the matter.

Artists from the MENA region today have shown an increasing use of global network technology, spreading their work through numerous channels. Yet the non-MENA countries have still to prove their awareness of the rich, multi-faceted and complex art forms within this region, which sometimes lacks appropriate exhibition spaces or international media coverage. There is still much to be discovered and unearthed: from old masters, which provide us with all the meaning of heritage, to contemporary art works illustrating so well the various forms of political statements, cultural diversity, ethnic self-awareness and such.

What we need to know about the MENA region today is that despite the fact that there is for some the uniting element of language, it is a very diverse and rich culture yet to be acknowledged fully.

Last – and in respect to the most recent political events most importantly – art is both a vehicle as well as a reflection of its socio-political environment. Thus, a virtual, borderless art platform is one way to hear the unofficial, often unwanted voices against the state of being.

Elizabeth Markevitch and Dorothea Schöne

are the Founder of ikono TV and ikono TV’s Head of Content respectively.

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What is a platform?

A platform is a space for speaking in public. It is an opportunity to express ideas and thoughts. It also suggests the formal declaration of a stance or position on any given subject.

Unique to Ibraaz is a 'platform', a question put to writers, thinkers and artists about an issue relevant to the MENA region. This platform is sent to respondents both within and beyond the MENA region and contributions will be archived every 12 months.