On revival, borders and multi-sensory experiences: Announcement of Performing Arts 2022 grantees
26 Jul 2022

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC is pleased to announce the 21 projects that have been selected by the jury committee to receive support through AFAC’s Performing Arts grant program.

This year’s jury — composed of Moroccan playwright and scholar Kamal Khalladi, Lebanese artist performer Mounzer Baalbaki, and Egyptian scholar and performer Nora Amin — met over the course of two days at the close of June to evaluate the 108 applications submitted to the program.

The 21 selected projects are made up of artists and collectives practicing in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Syria.

In their jury statement, Khalladi, Baalbaki, and Amin noted the diverse themes that color the group as a whole, highlighting a focus on practices that are seeking to revive forgotten spaces and memories, probing virtual and physical borders (including the body and its limitations), and offering innovative multi-sensory experiences through the use of audio, video, and virtual reality.

Read the full statement below:

It was an honor to be the jury for this year's AFAC Performing Arts Grant, which witnessed a rather difficult and delicate selection process, as many exciting and distinctive projects were submitted by individuals and institutions from most parts of the Arab world and the diaspora. And most of these projects deserved support.
Taking into consideration the ongoing economic and political challenges, we unanimously agreed to employ criteria that would offer opportunities to most of the applications submitted, assessing primarily the clarity and the originality of the questions posed by the project. Further, we wanted to support promising projects that may not otherwise obtain fair funding opportunities, which are exactly the class of projects we hope to receive more of in the future.
Therefore, we have, carefully and transparently, adopted the following criteria: quality, innovation, originality, relevance and contextualization.
In the projects that were presented, we witnessed variations in the quest for innovation, experimental creativity and intellectual research, as well as mixing between classical forms and deviating from them, something that happened sometimes even within the same project.
In general, the projects this cycle focused on social and political issues, whether related to memory, identity, personal and collective history, or gender-based violence and discrimination. A number of projects showed a remarkable interest in the presence of the body not only as a medium of expression, but also as a document and an experiment.
The projects’ preoccupation varied between traditional spaces — open public space, closed theater buildings, theater gatherings — as well as historical and archaeological spaces. A focus on heritage, folk and spiritual rituals has re-emerged in an innovative and contemporary form. A number of projects also situated the performative space as a site for recovery and change.

The 21 projects selected by the jurors