Cultural Connection

“Art has to be the best way to build trust between countries.” —Issa Touma, Syrian photographer. ‘Cultural Connection’ provides updates on the Arab and Iranian arts scene from writers across the Middle East and the Western world.



Clarissa Pharr
Written by :
on : Thursday, 17 Apr, 2014

Arab Art’s Social Adjustment

Over the past few years, a sharper lens has been focused on the Arab world’s contemporary arts and culture sectors. But as they have continued to grow across the region they have faced a common challenge: limited access to sustainable support and adequate funding infrastructure. The issue inspired long-time Dubai-based communications and media professional, Vida Rizq, along with her husband Lotfi Bencheikh, to come up with a new way of providing support to this burgeoning creative scene. ...

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Mina Al-Droubi
Written by :
on : Tuesday, 25 Mar, 2014

Heritage in the Right Hands

When US forces captured Saddam Hussein’s intelligence building in 2003, they accidentally uncovered a great treasure: a collection of centuries-old copies of the Torah and the Haggadah, as well as university applications and financial documents and personal photographs, all constituting one of the most comprehensive records of Iraq’s indigenous Jewish community. The documents had been seized from the homes of Jewish families as they fled persecution in the country in the 1970s. Having be...

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Goos Hofstee
Written by :
on : Wednesday, 19 Mar, 2014

A Canvas to Egypt’s Imagination

When, in the beginning of 2011, Egypt was swept up in the momentum of the Arab Spring, the atmosphere was one of hope and optimism. During those heady days in Tahrir Square, fe...

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Faiz Sheikh
Written by :
on : Saturday, 1 Mar, 2014

From Marvel to Reality

As readers, we tend to prefer the subjects we can identify with. In comic books, for example, Peter Parker—whose alter ego is Spider-Man—is a nerdy, awkward child tryin...

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Mina Al-Droubi
Written by :
on : Saturday, 22 Feb, 2014

The Ghost of Saddam

Saddam Hussein, like any other dictator, had the ability to divide society; some loved him while others loathed him for his cruelty. While the media placed emphasis on Saddam a...

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Sheyma Buali
Written by :
on : Thursday, 13 Feb, 2014

Surreal Syria

Ever since he produced his first film in 1970, Syrian auteur Mohamad Malas has had a huge impact on the canon of Arab political cinema. And yet, when he released Ladder to Damasc...

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Ati Metwaly
Written by :
on : Sunday, 2 Feb, 2014

The Arab Film Moment

Without a doubt, the Arab Spring has had a significant impact on Arab filmmakers who document and comment on the unveiling realities in their region. It has also awakened a new...

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Clarissa Pharr
Written by :
on : Thursday, 23 Jan, 2014

Egypt’s Revolution, Squared

Nominated last week for an Oscar for Best Documentary, The Square (El Midan) skillfully captures the cacophonous state of Egypt’s upheaval. Filmed by Jehane Noujaim, creator ...

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Celia Topping
Written by :
on : Saturday, 18 Jan, 2014

Take another Look

Rose Issa has become widely recognized as the doyenne of Arabic and Iranian art and film in Europe and beyond since being inspired to put on a small Arab Film Festival about th...

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Vedica Kant
Written by :
on : Saturday, 11 Jan, 2014

Art’s Islamic Influence

The wide influence of Islamic traditions on contemporary art can be gleaned from the fact that the third edition of the Jameel Prize, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V...

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