The Visual Arts Festival Damascus was launched in 2010 with a program of exhibitions, screenings, multi-media performances, lectures and talks. The aim of the festival was to create a forum for meetings and debates focused on contemporary visual practice in the Middle East in dialogue with other regions of the world and to facilitate exchange between young artists from Syria and the neighbouring Arab countries.
The next edition of the festival was scheduled for autumn 2012. However, with the current situation in Syria, it is not possible to organize this kind of event in Damascus. For this reason, the the 2012 edition of the festival will be a nomadic event, presented at different locations. The premiere will be as a guest of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. To facilitate this new format, the emphasis in the 2012 edition will be on moving images; film and video, presented as screenings, installations and performance.
By taking the festival into this new dimension, the Visual Arts Festival Damscus continues to offer a forum for the creative exchange of ideas and debates with a strong emphasis on Syrian artistic practice. To offer artists from Syria this kind of “window towards the world” appears especially important at this stage where the country is undergoing dramatic changes and artists are facing severe obstacles to carry on with their artistic projects.
Two programs will be presented in Rotterdam: “Suspended Dreams” that gathers films by Syrian film makers who explore alternative and experimental means of storytelling by through the use of documentary, and “Shifting Shores”, a program of recent video works by Arab artists that comprises video screenings, installations and a video performance.
Films by: Hala Alabdalla, Mohamad Malas, Mohammad Ali Atassi, Reem Ali, Reem Ghazzi, Diana El-Jeiroudi, Rami Farah, Soudade Kaadan, Joude Gorani, Hazem Alhamwi, Ali Sheikh Khudr, Nidal Hassan, Ammar Al-Beik
Videos: Roy Samaha, Basma Alsharif, Ikon, Ammar Al-Beik, Siska, Ali Heraize, Paul Hage Boutros, Sandra Ghosn
Video performance: Lynn Kodeih
Video installations: Larissa Sansour/Youmna Chlala, Ali Cherri, Salah Saouli
Curators: Charlotte Bank & Delphine Leccas