January 8, 2009 - Tate - Contemporary Art in the Middle East symposium at Tate Britain & Modern
January 8, 2009

Contemporary Art in the Middle East symposium at Tate Britain & Modern

Contemporary Art in the Middle East
Thursday 22 January 2009,
Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG

Friday 23 January 2009,
Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG


How do we define the Middle East? How does the interpretation of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East and its diaspora affect its understanding at home and abroad? How have ideas about tradition and modernity emerged in art practice? What will be the impact of new and emerging spaces for modern and contemporary art in different parts of the region? This two-day symposium – which begins at Tate Britain and moves to Tate Modern – brings together artists, curators and writers to discuss recent developments in contemporary art from the Middle East and its diaspora.

The symposium revolves around five discrete sessions: Defining the Middle East;
Writing and Translation; Art Now – Recent Exhibitions; Tradition and Modernity;
The Politics of Space.

The distinguished group of panelists includes Anas Al-Shaikh (artist and curator), Oreet Ashery (artist and fellow at Queen Mary University), Negar Azimi (senior editor, Bidoun magazine), Yto Barrada (artist and founder of Cinemathèque de Tangers), Pat Binder (artist, curator, publisher, Nafas Art Magazine), Gerhard Haupt (art-historian, curator, publisher, Nafas Art online magazine), Stuart Comer (curator, Tate Modern), Suzanne Cotter (chief curator, Modern Art Oxford), Catherine David (chief curator, Direction des Musées de France), David Elliot (artistic director, Sydney Biennale), Dr Khalid Khreis (director, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman), Vasif Kortun (curator and director, Platform, Istanbul), Rahraw Omarzad (editor, Gahnama-e-Hunar and founder, Centre for Contemporary Art, Afghanistan), November Paynter (independant curator), Jack Persekian (artistic director, Sharjah Biennial & director, Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art), Khalil Rabah (artist and director, Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah), Michael Rakowitz (artist), Dina Ramadan (art historian and critic), Andrew Renton (director of curating, Goldsmiths College), Zineb Sedira (artist), Nada Shabout (associate professor Art History, University North Texas), Abdul-Raheem Sharif (founder, The Flying House, Dubai), Wael Shawky (artist), Suha Shoman (founder, Darat al Funun, Amman), Christine Tohme (curator and founder of Ashkal Alwan) Issa Touma (artist, curator & founder of Le Pont Art Organization and Gallery, Aleppo, Syria), William Wells (director,Townhouse Gallery, Cairo), Eyal Weizman (director, Centre for Research Architecture) (tbc).

The symposium is organised by Tate and the International Curators Forum in association with NAFAS online magazine. It is supported by the Arts Council and the World Collections Programme, a collaborative initiative between six UK organisations which aims to develop greater access to their collections and expertise by building partnerships with organisations in Asia and Africa.


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