After a successful first iteration in 2015, the Biennial of Photography in the Contemporary Arab World returns on 13 September in Paris. Held simultaneously in eight Parisian venues – the IMA, the MEP, the Cité Internationale des arts, the Mairie of the 4th arrondissement, the Galerie Thierry Marlat, the Galerie Photo12, the Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, and the Galerie Binome – the biennial offers a diverse itinerary through the perceptions of the contemporary Arab world.
Each exhibition venue will display works by photographers from the Middle East who are either living in their native country or working abroad, in addition to works by foreign photographers (mostly European) who have witnessed and reported on the contemporary situation in Arab countries. In so doing, the biennial emphasises the importance of cultural diversity through art.
Roger Grasas. Falaj al Harth. 2013. Série Min Turab. Sultanat d'Oman
Taking a more selective approach than the first edition, the 2017 Biennale decided to focus on two countries in the Maghrib region: Tunisia and Algeria. A tribute will also be paid to Leila Alaoui, who, very sadly, passed away while her portraits of Moroccans were being exhibited in the first Biennial (2015).
Among the highlights is a collective exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe organised by Olfa Feki, an independent exhibition curator based in Tunisia. Here she will reveal a selection of works by little-known talents from the Arab world as well as several Tunisian photographers. The exhibition will emphasise a diversity of artistic approaches – ones that are plastic, conceptual and poetical.
Hela Ammar. Hidden Portrait IV. Série Hidden Portraits. 2014
At the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, there will be a presentation of photographs on various themes and in different styles by Hicham Benohoud, Farida Hamak, and Xenia Nikolskaya, shot in Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco respectively. Meanwhile, the Cité Internationale des Arts will stage an overview of emerging Algerian photography, bringing together 20 photographers in an exhibition curated by Bruno Boudjelal, and organised by the Ville de Paris, the Agence Algérienne pour le Rayonnement Culturel (AARC), and the Institut Français in Algeria. At the Mairie of the 4th arrondissement, works by the photojournalist Michel Slomka will offer an insight into the plight of the Yazīdī community, which has been the victim of Islamic State jihadists in Iraq.
Participating galleries will present photographs by artists including, Mustapha Azeroual and Sara Naim (Binome), Daniel Aron (Photo12), Marco Barbon (Clémentine de la Féronnière), and Randa Mirza and Zad Moultaka (Thierry Marlat).
The Biennial will run until 12 November at all venues except for the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) that will close on 4 November 2017. For more information, visit www.imarabe.org and www.mep-fr.org