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Mashrou' Laila Band

AFAC awards $320,000 to 18 new grantees from 7 Arab countries

24 Nov, 2012 

AFAC is happy to announce the selection of 18 new grantees, 10 individuals and 8 institutions in Music and RTR (Research, Training and Regional events) for its 2012 General Grant. The call was open for proposals between June 25th and September 15th, and accessible to all Arab artists and cultural institutions with projects related to Arab culture.


The total grant sum for the 18 newly selected grantees is $320,000 USD supporting a range of projects that include classical and contemporary Arabic music compositions and alternative Arabic rock, rap and hip hop, film workshops in Iraq and Egypt, art exhibitions, info-graphics in solidarity with Palestine, and "theatre of the oppressed" workshops in Jordan and Morocco, just to name a few.


This year’s recipients hail from Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Morocco and Jordan. Their projects have been carefully selected following a thorough evaluation process with juror committees composed of regional experts and specialists in the relevant artistic genres. This year’s Music Jury Committee included Zaid Jabri (Syria), Ali Osman (Sudan) and Zeid Hamdan (Lebanon) while the RTR Juror Committee included Ranwa Yehia (Egypt), Ferial Ghazoul (Iraq) and Nidhal Guiga (Tunisia). Scroll below for grantee names and descriptions of the selected projects.


Cinema grantees will be announced on December 13th at the Dubai International Film Festival.


The call for Visual arts, Performing arts and Literature is now open until April 1st, 2013.




Grantee: Ahmed Madkour (Egypt)

Project: Egyptian Contemporary Classical Music Outreach Program
Despite their great talent, Egyptian composers and musicians of contemporary classical music are marginalized in a way that could lead to their ultimate demise. Efforts must be made to support these musicians and understand what they represent in terms of contemporary musical self-expression. Classical music aficionadas and concert-goers need to learn how to appreciate these genres. This project supports the development and the visibility of contemporary classical music ensembles in Egypt.


Grantee: Ramez Fawzi (Egypt)

Project: Music in the Streets – Traveling Music Concerts
This outreach initiative was established by Ramez Ashraf in 2011 together with a group of fellow artists and musicians in an effort to offer live music performances in public spaces in a way that is easily accessible. The project targets marginalized communities as well as the general public and aims to be inclusive of all members of society, especially those not usually engaged in the arts and culture circles. 


Grantee: Riad Abdel-Gawad (Egypt)

Project: Peace Poem
A 45-minute music album that combines the works of three contemporary Egyptian poets writing about spirituality and wisdom from the Islamic, Coptic and Nubian perspectives. The musical composition is based on authentic Arab musical systems, performances practice. Additional instrumental compositions are offered by Abdo Dagher (septuagenarian composer) and Riad Abdel-Gawad.


Grantee: Mashrou’ Laila (Lebanon)

Project: Recording of Mashrou' Leila’s 3rd album
Mashrou3 Leila is a Lebanese alternative rock group of 7 musicians lead by Ahmad Sinno. After releasing their first 2 albums, self-produced in their home studio, Mashrou' Leila seeks to record its latest album in a high quality professional studio (Hotel 2 tango, Montreal). This recording will be followed by a Concert on December 19th at the Mile End Cabaret in Montreal.


Grantee: Khaled Omran (Syria)

Project: 180 Degrees
Due to international pressure, Tanjarit Daght (Pressure Cooker) was founded in 2008 as a music band which gradually evolved into a Syrian Arabic rock band. Pressures increased with the Arab Uprisings, reaching the critical point of 180 degrees, and a new album is brewing to express, in Arabic rock, the desire of young Arabs for a free civil society in the wake of a violent and bloody reality.


Grantee: Khyam Allami (Iraq)

Project: Khyam Allami & National Youth Orchestra of Iraq Ensemble
A workshop and tour of the Arab region by members of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI) in collaboration with Iraqi oud player Khyam Allami, presenting new arrangements of compositions from his debut album Resonance/Dissonance. This workshop and performance also includes new works and arrangements of traditional Iraqi music, composed and arranged by Allami.


Grantee: Katibeh Khamseh (Palestine)

Project: The Traveling Pieces
Free Radicals is a Hip Hop project initiated by Kateeba Khamsa. Arab rap singers and musicians from across the region will come together to create a music album that addresses the issues of patriarchal society and social behavior especially as it manifests in prisons and detention cells. A story-telling approach will be used in the making of these music pieces.


Grantee: El Mastaba Centre for Egytian Folk Music (Egypt)

Project: DamNation
An album (CD/DD) recording of acoustic Nubian music by the band Nuba Nour featuring traditional songs from antiquity alongside specially commissioned contemporary folk songs to be performed on traditional instruments. The album is a reflection on the ongoing struggles of life in exile for the Nubian people in Egypt, following the loss of their ancestral homelands during the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.




Grantee: Nizar Al-Rawi (Iraq)

Project: Iraqi National Festival for Short Films
The Association of Contemporary Visual Arts in Iraq founded the Iraqi National Festival for Short Films in 2005 following the inspiration of Iraqi filmmakers and local producers all of whom are in dire need to visibility, events, screening spaces and wider audiences. The festival is therefore not only a cultural event but also an industry mechanism to cultivate a network of directors and production companies, grant-making organizations and donor foundations.


Grantee: Kristine Khouri (Lebanon)

Project: The International Art Exhibition in Solidarity with Palestine: A documentary exhibition
This project will present the history of an undocumented and seminal art exhibition (Beirut, 1978). Its history has been lost from the memory of modern Arab art history though it marks not only Arab, but international support for the Palestinian cause through art. Our project is to reconstitute this exhibition through archival material and video in an exhibition format.


Grantee: Nora Amin (Egypt)

Project: Training workshops for theatre activists & launching of the Arab Theatre of the Oppressed
We aim to offer a series of “Theatre of the Oppressed” workshops in both Morocco and Jordan so as to create units of activists in both countries that would then present public performances throughout the year and also train new groups of children, youth and adults in theatre. This project is a step towards establishing a pan-Arab network for Theatre of the Oppressed (an initiative first launched nation-wide in Egypt by Nora Amin/"The National Project for Theatre of the Oppressed".


Grantee: Johnny Farraj (Lebanon)

Project: Book/ Arabic Music, Theory And Practice
An English publication about Arabic music theory and practice from the perspective of a practicing musician and native Arab (from Lebanon). The book is based on the author’s website, www.MaqamWorld.com, and aims to fill a gap in the market of cultural resources on musical knowledge by offering an informal, non-academic publication that is user-friendly and accessible to wider readership: musicians, academics and Arabic music fans.


Grantee: The Image Festival Association – Zakira (Lebanon)

Project: Photography Training Workshops at Barbar Khazen Women's Prison
The goal of this project is to improve the living conditions of women prisoners at the Barbar Khazen prison in Lebanon by developing their technical and interpersonal skills through photography workshops. The project aims to help prisoners overcome the psychological difficulties they face through a multi-beneficial means of expression and prepare them to re-integrate in society once they are released from prison. An exhibition and photography publication after the completion of the workshop will also serve to share the hidden reality of prison life to a wider public.


Grantee: Yante Youth, Art & Levante (Palestine)

Project: “I Can Move” Community Dance Palestine
This project is a 3-year program aiming at creating the first Community Dance movement in the region as a tool for addressing specific social development obstacles through participatory dancing. The thematic performances are prepared in cooperation with renowned experts in the field who will also train local dancers on the methods of community dance through the Training of Trainers Program.


Grantee: Cimatheque (Egypt)

Project: Cahiers de la Cimatheque
“Kurrasat Al-Cimatheque” is a training program for 12 participants addressing methods of review writing and film programming with a focus on alternative cinema. It is combined with thematic weekly screening programs that are open to the public. Facilitated by 6 experienced film critics and programmers, the project will result in the regular publication of a film review periodical dedicated to Arab alternative cinema.


Grantee: Sada for contemporary Iraqi art (Iraq)

Project: 2013 Baghdad Art Education and Beirut Spring Intensive
This 2013 education program targets young and emerging Iraqi artists. Seminars and lectures during the academic year in Baghdad will culminate in an intensive one to two-week program in Beirut. The Beirut Intensive will host up to ten students from Baghdad in Beirut for lectures, workshop and critique sessions with teaching artists as well as site visits of local arts institutions.


Grantee: Visualizing Justice (Jordan)

Project: Visualizing Palestine
A change in persistent injustices requires very crisp grasp of the facts beyond political and mainstream media bias. Through thorough research and creative visual media – infographics & animation - Visualizing Palestine aims to relay an accurate and comprehensive narrative about Palestine towards social justice. VP uses social media to spread facts and seeks to become a reliable source of information and a key resource in the movement towards social justice.


Grantee: Arab Media Lab (Morocco)

Project: The 3rd Digital Marrakech Festival
DMF3 is an international digital arts festival aiming to present diverse trends and practices in the following fields: film and video, multimedia performance, video installation, digital mapping and interdisciplinary practice. The program includes: workshops, performances, screenings, lectures and an exhibition. Participating artists present their latest practices and technologies, as well as showcase important achievements in the development of digital arts practices.

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