Amidst major societal transformations, the bulk of visual documentation in the Arab region is funneled through mass media outlets.
There is little opportunity for local documentary photographers to produce creative long -form stories. The Arab Documentary Photography Program was launched in 2014 by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the Prince Claus Fund (PCF), and Magnum Foundation as an intensive three-year initiative to stimulate the production and distribution of compelling and unconventional documentary work.
Each year, a juror’s committee comprised of Arab and international experts selects a cohort of grantees to complete proposed projects with financial support and individual mentorship from expert practitioners. The first ADPP grantees are 9 regional photographers representing 8 countries across the Middle East. Together their projects put forth innovative, personal and surprising explorations of social issues relevant to the Arab World. Their narratives explore the displacement of Syrian refugees, violence against women, tenuous labor conditions, vanishing landscapes and invisible subcultures, offering an in-depth alternative to mainstream journalistic coverage.
Hosted by Athr, “Memory for Forgetfulness” celebrated the completion of the first cycle of workshops, introducing work by the 2014 grantees: Amira Al-Sharif (Yemen), Eman Bedir (Egypt), Faisal Al Fouzan (Kuwait), Hamada El Rasam (Egypt), Natalie Naccache (Lebanon), Omar Imam (Syria), Reem Falaknaz (UAE), Samar Hazboun (Palestine) and Zara Samiry (Morocco).
The ADPP Exhibition is complimented with an extensive Documentary Photography Outreach program. The program is be led by renowned photographer Shahidul Alem, director of Chobi Mela, the festival of photography in Asia. The outreach program includes a panel discussion that is moderated by Oussama Rifahi, Executive Director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.