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The initiative that provides support and mentorship to photographers from across the Arab region who work across a range of experimental styles of storytelling.

© Ali Al Shehabi

Hailing from 8 Arab countries, the work of these creatives span across a rich diversity of topics, including contemporary youth culture, sense of belonging and identity, cultural and natural heritage, urban development and socioeconomic constructs, as well as war and its impact beyond the battlefields.

The call for applicants to the ADPP spanned from February 1 to April 1, 2022. A three-member jury was invited to evaluate the applicants in order to determine those to support. This year’s jury included: Kristen Lubben, the director of the Magnum Foundation; Nadia Bseiso, a Jordanian photographer and former ADPP grant recipient; and Hrair Sarkissian, a Syrian artist and photographer. 

At the close of their evaluation, the jurors selected 12 photographers as ADPP grantees. The selected photographers hail from Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine.

Commenting on the projects reviewed, the jurors issued the below jury statement:

“This year we saw intriguing projects. The uncertain economic situation and post-Covid world brought into light several projects on identity and belonging: those who stay and those forced to leave home, from the aftermath of the Syrian conflict to personal stories from the Syrian diaspora, as well as documenting migrants from North Africa living in transit, trying to find a place to call home. Other topics delved into male identity in the Arab world and the Gulf, masculinity vs vulnerability, as well as not often discussed topics on mental health and drug addiction.

It was encouraging to see emerging photographers in our region who showed great potential and were keen to document their personal narratives with different approaches, including mixed media, analogue photography, conceptual and traditional documentary photography. The applications also showed a deep awareness of our region’s narratives, including urgent topics like water scarcity.”

The twelve grantees will convene in September 2022 in an initial workshop, during which they will get the chance to present their projects and meet their respective mentors.

The Projects

In “The Nymphomaniacs,” Iman Djamil (Morocco) tells the story of a youth in the small town of Tarfaya who cross the ocean to the Canary Islands before realizing the island’s bitter reality.

In “Exile on a Couch,” Sara Kontar (Syria) explores the lives of Syrians in exile. 

In “The Land of Water, the Land of Thirst,” Karrar Nasser (Iraq) sheds light on the marshes situated in southern Iraq, and the damage they have sustained due to drought. The project also explores the lives of Sumerian men in the marshes and their struggle for water.

InDoumari,” Gabriel Ferneini (Lebanon) documents the surreal darkness that has fallen on Lebanon in light of the ongoing economic and political collapse. 

“You Can See Me, But I Can’t” by Celia Bougdal (Algeria) is a quest for answers about the loss of her beloved grandfather.

But You Won’t Notice” by Mennatalah Khaled (Egypt) explores the fears, thoughts, feelings and nightmares of people, including the photographer himself, who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. 

Gaza the City of Amputees” by Nidal Rohmi (Palestine) documents the lives, ambitions and challenges of Palestinians who lost limbs during the Gaza war. 

In “Indefinitely,” Lamees Saleh (Egypt) documents the lives of the families of kidnapped children in an Egyptian governorate through an investigation map linking the families’ stories to each other.

11 Years under the Sun” by Mohammed Nammoor (Syria) explores issues of social injustice in Syrian society through the journey of two unregistered children living in the heart of Damascus.

Your Life is a Career” by Ahmed Merzagui (Algeria) compares and contrasts two distinctly different Algerian generations. 

Men of the Pearl” by Ali Al Shehabi (Bahrain) presents Bahraini men in their homes surrounded by their possessions and memories in order to explore past, present and future longing and belonging. 

At a Peter Pan Movement” by Sara Younes (Egypt) centers on the community of parkour traceurs/uses in Alexandria.

For more information, please visit the Arab Documentary Programme and the Prince Claus Fund.

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