The Rise of the “Arab spring Art”

In line with the political spring in the Arab world comes the spring of art, and the artistic explosion of ideas. Young Arabs are rediscovering the internet and its possibilities all over again; everyone knows that no one is using the web as the Arab youth is using it today. Art in every form is being pushed to its limits; we are seeing extraordinary music, painting, cartons, poetry, small moves, internet shows, photography, and last but not least graffiti. We are seeing art collectors and festival realizing the fresh sense of the Arab spring art, finding new frontiers to break and breaking the static ideas for the last 20 years in the art scene.

Arab revolution art

Where all this art came from?
 No idea!!! Even the ones how lived it don’t know, it may be hope?
It does seem that some kind of distance – whether in terms of time, space or simply a different perspective – does contribute to making great art and doing justice to the complexity of every situation
Niamh Cullen

Film making
IDFA offers online films on “Arab Spring” The International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), the largest of its kind in the world, under the heading “Arab Spring.” The four films, available online for the first time, look at a beauty contest in Libya, a Cairo cemetery home to a million homeless people, Moroccan courier-smugglers, and the impact of satellite television in the Middle East, respectively. With the corporate media’s attention quickly shifting away from the slaughter in Syria and the struggle in Libya toward the gag-inducing Royal Wedding, this offering from IDFA couldn’t be better timed.

It may not always be true that revolutions produce the best art, but in this case the Sharjah Biennial has metamorphosed into a global event.
The current Arab revolutions have given the work of the artists on show, who no longer seem to look to the West for inspiration, a compelling urgency.
Even more prescient was the funding of works by the Sharjah Art Foundation, which runs the Biennial, such as Manual for Treason, a box set of booklets – suggesting that the Biennial is far closer to the Arab street than the high-profile, hugely expensive museum projects for which the Gulf has been famed.

“Art of the Arab Spring, Now in Venice”
Young Arab artists are playing a huge role in the representation of the region at the contemporary art world’s largest event, the Venice Biennale. The Venice Biennale, founded in 1895, is the oldest and more important art biennale, and as its name suggests, is held in Venice, Italy every other year. In 2011, there are 86 nations represented (if you want to read about all the pavilions) including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. There’s also a pan-Arab exhibition: Future of a Promise, which seems like it could be a tantalizing glimpse of the evolution of art post-Arab spring.

“The Politics of Art: Writing the Arab Spring” By Niamh Cullen
Making sense of politics in art and literature is not a simple or straightforward task. It is no longer a question of harnessing oneself to a particular ideology and making everything fit that world view; political engagement through art seems today to be both more liberating and more complex. And despite the perceived need of the public, responding to politics or conflict immediately through art or confronting it head on, can be dangerous – potentially distorting both politics and art.

The Arab Spring in Contemporary Art
Art Dubai is the largest and most established contemporary art fair in the Middle East, taking place every year in March at the Madinat Jumeriah, Dubai. The fair is held under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and is owned and run in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Popular Cannes film reflects Arab Spring spirit
A film about a woman taking a stand against men in a North African village won cheers in Cannes Saturday, with some viewers moved by its expression of the spirit of the “Arab Spring” uprisings.


Contemporary dancers are finding their feet in the Arab world, as the art form renowned for freedom of expression blossoms at a time of regional upheaval.
The just-ended (dance blooms in Beirut ‘Arab Spring’), two-week festival included performances by dance heavyweights such as the United States’ William Forsythe, Belgian Alain Platel and British-born Akram Khan. “This year’s performances… echo issues that are at the heart of the lives of Arab citizens, such as freedom,” said Rajeh, who did a masters in dance studies at Britain’s University of Surrey and heads Lebanon’s Maqamat Dance Theatre.
For Mahmud Rabii, an Egyptian freelance dancer, emphasising dance as a universal language risks effacing individual identities.

By renouncing our identities under the pretence of an international language, we lose our own languages,” he said, adding he hoped schools and even governments around the region would begin to support the budding art form.
Like many of his compatriots, for Rabii, the popular uprising of Egypt as well as countries around it can be an endless source of inspiration.

“After the revolution in Egypt, I saw that things could change, but I do not delude myself, it will take time,” said fellow choreographer Shafik.

“The revolutions must flow through our veins, in our blood. Tomorrow, one day soon, something will come of it.”

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