For the second year in a row, Arab Arts Focus (AAF) takes part in an international arts festival and marks Arab participation at the French Festival d’Avignon (Avignon Off Festival).
The participation marks celebrating the fifth anniversary of establishing AAF, and its second international participation after it took part in the world’s biggest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, last year.
AAF is an artistic programme with the participation of several Arab artists. It presents different aspects of Arab political and social dilemmas through art.
From contemporary theatre and visual arts to dance performances and spellbinding talks, the programme witnesses the participation of young talents from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Morocco.
With five different performances, each from a different country, artists aim to change the stereotypical image Arabs have worldwide and replace it with heart-touching performances that tell many of the struggles they have to deal with on daily basis.
The programme comes as a promising result of an intensive collaboration between Cairo’s finest art production platform—Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF)—with the Tamasi Collective and Orient Productions.
With the aim to spread their wings internationally and let the world know about their talents, Ahmed El-Attar, the founder of D-CAF and Orient Productions, said that the Festival d’Avignon allows them the opportunity to showcase their talents globally, adding, “it is like a market where we present new productions, musicals, theatricals, or other, and where programmers from around the world are invited to do their shopping. It is also a moment of networking and contacts between Arab artists and the world of international programmers,” he said in a press release.
AAF aims to increase awareness on the diversity of Arab art through challenging current stereotypes and encouraging positive discussions on the work of Arab artists, in an effort to create a wider understanding of the region at a time when it is most needed.
The shows reflect young people’s interest in the political challenges facing the Arab world today, the press statement reads.
“Jogging,” “Without Damage,” “Perfect Delirium,” “Gesturing Refugees,” and “As Far As My Fingertips Take Me” are the five shows to take part in the festival.
In their participation at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, six of the artists won nominations for their impressive work, and they won four international awards and targeted an audience of over 5,000 people.
“Without Damage,” the Egyptian participating performance was first shown in this year’s edition of D-CAF.
During the interactive play, members of the audience are asked to join the stage at various points. With attendees participating in the different parts of the show, audiences lined up to watch “Without Damage” on its second day, which was sold out, while people waited for the break to see if someone would leave so they could join.
The 45-minute world premiere contemporary dance show is performed by Mohamed Fouad, the lighting is designed by Saber El Sayed, and its music is by Ahmed Saleh.