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SAF announces online screening of ‘Genealogies in the Middle East and Latin America’

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Sharjah Art Foundation announces Genealogies in the Middle East and Latin America, an online screening program featuring 21 video and film artists and collectives from the two regions.

Taking place from 1 June to 11 July, the project explores historical and contemporary relationships between artists in the two regions in order to consider their shared histories of colonization and the close links developed through several cycles of migration over the last 150 years from nations such as Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq to countries in Central America, Peru, Chile, Mexico as well as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela.

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The impact of this shared history on their respective cultures, although the circumstances varied historically and regionally, is reflected in the transnational territorial subjectivities of many of the participating artists and their work.

Jointly organized by Sharjah Art Foundation and curator Anna Goetz, the project was initiated to reflect on different spheres of influence that have shaped artists in the two regions over the years.

Goetz invited the artists to ponder over what has influenced their thinking and ways of working. What were the immediate and specific societal relations, the everyday living and working conditions and the central sources of inspiration that have shaped them and their practice?

Over 21 days, the project will release one video or film work every day. Following the playful format of a chain letter, artists were invited to nominate other artists with a work of theirs. Thus, the program’s threads unfold along narratives revealed by the artists’ personal accounts, which provide critical alternative perspectives and insights.

Many of the artists chose to nominate works that were influential early in their careers, whether for formal considerations or for reasons that reveal the limited access to film and video outside their immediate environment.

The chain begins with Alia Farid’s ‘Theater of Operations’ (The Gulf War seen from Puerto Rico) (2017), which critically reflects the artist's biographical and artistic background rooted in and between Latin America as much as the Middle East. Farid will then launch the series by proposing two works from these regions that have left a lasting impression on her practice. The video works will be presented consecutively, with each of the respective artists inviting the participation of another artist to follow.

Artists taking part in the project include Mounira Al Solh, Francis Alÿs, Claudia Aravena Abughosh, Arias & Aragón, Guillermo Cifuentes, Alia Farid, Gilda Mantilla & Raimond Chaves, Óscar Muñoz, Enrique Ramírez, Elena Tejada-Herrera, Maya Watanabe, and Akram Zaatari, amongst others.

The remaining artists and their featured works will be announced via the Foundation’s social media and digital platforms as the project progresses.

How to watch the screenings

The films will be screened via the Foundation’s virtual screening platform. One film will be released every day throughout the program period (1 June to 21 June). Each film will be available to stream for 21 days. The program ends on July 11.

Read more: Unsettled Objects : ‘There is art all around us, all the time,’ says Omar Kholeif