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Regional NGO helps Arab artists gain wider exposure

By Camille Dupire - Aug 29,2017 - Last updated at Aug 30,2017

‘Tajwaal’ provides financial support to artists to increase the visibility and representation of culture and the arts from the Arab region, according to its senior staff (Photo courtesy of the Culture Resource website)

AMMAN — Mobility of Arab artists within the region and internationally is a major challenge due to lack of financial resources, visa issues and lack of exposure to potential partner organisations, according to a regional NGO.

It hinders the ability of Arab artists to gain a wider audience and to collaborate with artists in the region and abroad, therefore limiting the cultural exchanges with their international counterparts, Culture Resource said in a statement.

Founded in 2004, Culture Resource seeks to tackle the mobility issue by supporting artistic creativity in the region through various initiatives, the NGO said.

One of their main projects, “Tajwaal”, provides financial support to artists in a bid to increase the visibility and representation of culture and the arts from the Arab region in other parts of the world.

“Our work emanates from a deep appreciation of the renewable value of Arab cultural heritage, in all its ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity,” the statement said, adding “we have faith in the importance of generating a new Arab spirit of creativity as a key to liberating the imagination and stimulating progress”.

Based on the idea that “artistic and literary activities are a social necessity”, the programme seeks to use mutual cultural exchange to “enhance understanding between the Global North and the South”, according to Culture Resource.

By supporting international travel opportunities, Tajwaal enables Arab artists and cultural players to share their work with colleagues and diverse audiences and exchange ideas and practices in a broader global context.

Launched in 2016, the programme has provided 22 grants so far, including to two Jordanian recipients.

Animation filmmaker Tariq Rimawi is one of them, who received Tajwaal’s support to travel from Jordan to Croatia to participate in Zagreb’s International Film Festival. 

“Tajwaal gave me the opportunity to meet with a large number of animation filmmakers from around the world, in addition to attending presentations, seminars and panel discussions which increased my knowledge of the animation production worldwide,” Rimawi told The Jordan Times.

While each grant,which amounts up to $8000 per application, is given to attend a specific event described in the application form, it also contributes to helping artists develop their career by gaining a wider audience and exposure for their work.

“The participation of my short animated film in an international event like Zagreb International animation festival was a great achievement for me personally, but it was also a success for the industry animation films in Jordan and the Arab world,” the filmmaker said.

He added: “My presence in the event gave me the opportunity to meet a new audience and show the artistic side of the Middle East, especially as ‘Surprise’ is the only Arab film selected at the festival this year,” the filmmaker noted.

Arab artists of all genres, cultural players, members of a cultural initiative can benefit from the programme, according to the Tajwaal website.

Applications, which can be submitted all year round, are short-listed, then forwarded to an independent jury twice a year. 

 

This year’s second round deadline is set to close on October 20.

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