FotoFest 2014 Biennial
















FotoFest 2014 Biennial

Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art

FotoFest's own exhibitions for the 2014 Biennial will focus on Contemporary Arab Video, Photographic Art, and Mixed Media installations.

The 2014 Biennial Arab exhibitions will be open to the public March 15 - April 27, 2014, and are accompanied by a book on Contemporary Arab Art, co-published with Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam. Guided tours are available.

FotoFest's VIEW FROM INSIDE Arab Exhibitions are on display in four venues:

Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street, Houston, TX 77007
Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX 77007
Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards Street, Houston, TX 77007
Williams Tower, 2800 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056

These presentations of contemporary photo and media-related art from the Middle East and North Africa will be the largest program of its kind in the United States in more than a decade.

Lamya Gargash, Pink Ninja, 2005-2006. From the series Presence
Courtesy of the artist and The Third line Gallery, Dubai

(alphabetized by last name with country of origin)

Ebtisam AbdulAziz (UAE)
Khalil Abdul Wahid (UAE)
Ammar Al Beik (Syria)
Manal Al Dowayan (Saudi Arabia)
Shadia Alem (Saudi Arabia)
Reem Al Faisal (Saudi Arabia)
Sadik Alfraji (Iraq)
Tarek Al-Ghossein (Palestine/Kuwait)
Boushra Almutawakel (Yemen)
Khalifa Al Obaidly (Qatar)
Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad
    Bin Ahmad Al-Thani
Jowhara AlSaud (Saudi Arabia)
Sama Alshaibi (Iraq)
Karima Al Shomely (UAE)
Sami Al-Turki (Saudi Arabia)
Tammam Azzam (Syria)
Lara Baladi (Egypt)
Hicham Benohoud (Morocco)
Ayman Yossri Daydban (Saudi Arabia)
Shady El-Noshokaty (Egypt)
Ayman El Semary (Egypt)
Lalla Essaydi (Morocco)
Mounir Fatmi (Morocco)
Lamya Gargash (UAE)

Abdulnasser Gharem (Saudi Arabia)
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon)
Khaled Hafez (Egypt)
Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco)
Rula Halawani (Palestine)
Nermine Hammam (Egypt)
Hazem Harb (Palestine)
Hazem Taha Hussein (Egypt)
Georges Fikry Ibrahim (Egypt)
Noel Jabbour (Palestine)
Ahmed Jadallah (Palestine)
Mohamed Kanoo (Bahrain)
Mohammed Kazem (UAE)
Huda Lutfi (Egypt)
Maha Malluh (Saudi Arabia)
Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia)
Hassan Meer (Oman)
Samer Mohdad (Lebanon)
Youssef Nabil (Egypt)
Ayman Ramadan (Egypt)
Steve Sabella (Palestine)
Faisal Samra (Saudi Arabia)
Wael Shawky (Egypt)
Camille Zakharia (Lebanon)


Huda Lutfi, Cactus Walk (detail), 2013


VIEW FROM INSIDE features artists living and working in 13 countries – Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. Some of the artists will be exhibiting their work in the United States for the first time. Seventeen of the artists are women. Many of the artists will travel to Houston to participate in lectures, tours, and other programs during the Biennial.


FotoFest 2014 Biennial Curator, Karin Adrian von Roques.
Photo by Franz Fischer

FotoFest has commissioned German curator Karin Adrian von Roques as the Lead Curator for the Biennial. Ms. von Roques is known for her work, over the past 20 years, bringing contemporary Arab art to international museums and galleries throughout the world. She is working with FotoFest Co-Founder and Senior Curator Wendy Watriss to organize the 2014 Arab exhibitions.

“Our focus on Arab art was not motivated by opportunism related to the Arab world’s current prominence in the media, but rather by a genuine conviction that the U.S. and Western audiences should have the opportunity to hear from more voices in the region and see the Arab world in more nuanced ways,” says Ms. Watriss. “Finding high quality art from around the globe that engages with the issues of our world is what FotoFest does.”

The Arab artists in the FotoFest 2014 Biennial address issues ranging from the regionally specific to the global. The themes are multi-layered, addressing fundamental issues from an inside perspective; from Arab artists who live and work in the region.

“The exhibitions are not about the curator’s voice,” says Ms. von Roques. “They are about the artists and what is important to them. The diverse range of works that we will exhibit during the Biennial is not easy to categorize because we did not impose any agenda on the project other than to show the very best contemporary work from the region that we could find.

“It was only when looking at the final selection, after four years of research and viewing the individual works, that we discovered how many of the works explore similar concepts and themes. These are themes that are not unfamiliar in the West or the rest of the world. What differentiates the works is the particular ways in which individual Arab artists address the concerns and issues of their own cultures.”

Many of the artists deal with the region’s diverse and shifting identities. Change features prominently in their works. The dramatic and tumultuous changes of the past century caused vast upheaval in the social, political, economic and geographic structures of the region. As access to modern communication technologies has exposed more of the region to constant and instantaneous contact with Western and other cultures through satellite television, the internet, digital photography and social media, the pace of change has increased.

These changes, and the speed with which they occur, have affected their traditional relationships with “homeland” and family, and has generated widespread experience with diaspora and displacement. Memory and loss of place and family play a large role in many of the artists’ works. Other themes include: questions of gender; religion; historical heritage; the legacy of colonialism; and political upheaval.



The Contemporary Arab Photographic Art exhibitions will be accompanied by the non-thematic, biennial Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibition of works by 10 artists selected by multiple curators from the FotoFest 2012 portfolio review.

Over 100 museums, art galleries, non-profit art centers and corporate spaces will participate in the FotoFest 2014 Biennial.


The best way to receive news and information on the FotoFest 2014 Biennial, the 2014 Meeting Place and Inter-Biennial exhibitions is by joining the FotoFest Email List.