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Indepth Arts News:

"DisORIENTation: Contemporary Artistic Productions from the Near East"
2003-03-20 until 2003-05-11
House of World Cultures
Berlin, , DE Germany

The program of DisORIENTation provides Germany's first comprehensive introduction to a new generation of Arab artists and intellecutals. In the concrete encounter with this art scene, DisORIENTation will open up new perspectives on the Mideast. There is perhaps no region so much the focus of world attention today as the Middle East. Public perception is dominated by a combination of issues from the widest range of interests: Arab nationalism, religious fundamentalism, socialist party politics, the interests of minorities.

Is there such a thing as contemporary Arab art? What does the term Arab mean to us today? How severely have the attacks of 11 September shaken our perception of the Arab world? The DisORIENTation exhibition examines old and current views of the Orient, which have become topical again since 11 September. In the exhibition thirteen Arab artists give individual answers to attempts at collective generalisation. They want neither to be representatives of a national art - which continues to be cultivated in their countries - nor to allow themselves to be marginalised into the ethnic ghetto of exoticism and differentness. What unites their works in their singularity is the attitude "to resist and fight stereotyping and consequent death of genuinely living things", writes the curator of the exhibition Jack Persekian, who lives in East Jerusalem.

All the artists will be represented in two sections at the House of World Cultures, new output and work that has already been shown in the region. The work created in Berlin will relate to the local situation and take into account the criteria of communication and perception for pictures from the so-called Arab world. Some of the artists will further develop their work in laboratories with Berlin artists, art students and other participants. Through discussion forums, workshops and artistic collaborations, these labs are designed to reach a specialist public even before the exhibition opens and bring out the project's character of process.

With work by Ahlam Shibli (Haifa), Susan Hefuna (Germany/Egypt), Ali Jabri (Amman), Khalil Rabah (Ramallah), Jumana Emil Abboud (Jerusalem), Lara Baladi (Cairo), Moataz Nasr (Cairo), Walid Raad (Beirut/New York), Akram Zaatari (Beirut), Lamia Joreige (Beirut), Roza El-Hassan (Budapest), Jananne Al Ani (London), Salah Saouli (Berlin, Beirut)

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