AFAC Introduces the 2019 Visual Arts Grantees
30 Jul 2019

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC is pleased to announce its twenty-four new grantees in the Visual Arts grant program for 2019. The Visual Arts call for applications opened on February 11th and closed on May 7th, 2019, with 257 applications received from 14 Arab countries and Europe, thereby registering a 24% increase in comparison to 2018 (208 applications received). 115 applications passed the administrative check and readers preselection, and were sent to jurors for evaluation.

A three-membered jury committee convened in AFAC offices in Beirut to deliberate on and evaluate the projects. This year’s jury comprised Fatma Kilani, Founder of La Boîte in Tunisia, Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan, and Egyptian artist and professor Hassan Khan.

Following the deliberations and selection, the jurors issued the following jury statement:
“The Jury would like to heartily congratulate all the awarded projects of this edition- it has been a focused, intense and very engaged process that has given us the privilege to reflect upon the visual arts landscape in the region. We have found a consistently high quality as well as a wide diversity in approach. Although many of the topics and concerns were shared it was truly uplifting to notice that individual sensibilities remained pertinent. Applicants reflected a sensitivity to formal languages, a heightened self-awareness and criticality, originality of thought and a seriousness in approach that was remarkable. Our choices do not reflect any one single idea of what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but is rather the result of a long detailed invested discussion where each member of the jury has brought their differing experiences, positions and ideas to the table. It is this process of discussion that helps formulate a vision and a context through which to be able to collectively judge the quality of the proposals as well as its relevance and connection to a wider art discourse. These elements have been significant to the choices we made. It is therefore no surprise that a large percentage of the selected projects give a platform of visibility for artistic practices; we were happy to support books, solo exhibitions, and artist led initiatives along with the process of production. These grants are not just financial incentives they are also a sign of the jury’s confidence in the significance of these practices and a willingness to invest in their continuing evolution.”

This year’s selection addressed key topics of high relevance such as LGBTQ rights, the environment and global warming, displacement and war. Moreover, some of the submitted projects did not restrict themselves to Visual Arts, but rather opened up to new techniques and practices and experimented with new media.

Among the 24 selected artists and institutions, four are previous recipients of AFAC grants, while 20 are receiving support from AFAC for the first time; 9 are female artists versus 12 male artists; 8 are emerging artists while 13 are established ones.

The 24 Projects Selected by the Jurors:
Abandoned Property by Khaled Barakeh (Syria)
Bonne Route by Nassim Azarzar (Morocco)
Cup of Tea with Fathi Mahmoud by Yasmine ElMeleegy (Egypt)
Daftar Asfar by Nahla Tabbaa (Jordan)
Effet de Serre by Farah Khelil (Tunisia)
El-Atlal Air 03 by El-Atlal (Palestine)
Figures of Accidental Loves by Shahira Issa (Egypt)
Heroine by Adel Abidin (Iraq)
Idle Current  by Nadia Kaabi-Linke (Tunisia)
Lubumbashi Biennial by Athar Jaber (Iraq)
Majnoon Field by Temporary Gallery (Germany/Iraq)
Mnēmē - Le Battement des Ailes by Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia)
Proxies, with a Life of Their Own by Iman Issa (Egypt)
Samandal 3000 by Samandal Association (Lebanon)
Sculptures' Trip by Mohamad Omran (Syria)
Shall I Compare You to a Summer's Day? by Mohammad Shawky Hassan (Egypt)
Tahafut - Incoherence Art Exhibition by Sarri Elfaitouri (Libya)
Tea Time: Chemistry of History by Abdelaziz Zerrou (Morocco)
The House Museum of an Unknown Crying Man by Mahmoud Khaled (Egypt)
Thrown into the Sea by Heba Khalifa (Egypt)
Variations on Pressure, or a Thought for Your Penny by Salwa Aleryani (Yemen)
Walid Siti: Artist’s Monograph by Walid Siti (Iraq)
Where is the Fun in Contemporary Art? by Dina Jereidini (Egypt)
______ ______'s Trip Down the Plughole by Shakeeb Abu Hamdan (Lebanon)