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Emerging Arab artists to get international shows through new commissioning initiative

Six partner institutions including the Hammer Museum are behind collaborative art production model

Clockwise: Yazan Khalili, Basma Alsharif, Shadi Habib Allah, nasa4nasa, Maurice Louca, and Jasmina Metwaly Khalili: © Victoria Ushkanova; Louca: © Louis Lacroix; Metwaly: © Christina Rizk

Several high-profile contemporary art institutions worldwide have thrown their weight behind a new initiative enabling emerging Arab artists to produce new works. The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin are among six partner organisations involved in Consortium Commissions, a scheme coordinated by the Brussel-based, non-profit organisation Mophradat.

The artists selected for the inaugural awards are: Basma Alsharif, a Palestinian-US artist; the Palestinian artist Shadi Habib Allah; the Palestinian architect Yazan Khalili; Maurice Louca, an Egyptian musician; the Egyptian-Polish filmmaker Jasmina Metwaly; and nasa4nasa, a duo of Egyptian choreographers and dancers (Salma Abdel Salam and Noura Seif Hassanein).

“Mophradat is providing each invited artist with a grant of up to US$22,000, to cover the production of their new project, which will be presented at two of the prestigious partners’ venues,” a project statement says. All of the works are funded and curated by the partner institutions. “It’s an interesting new model bringing together global organisations as a consortium to select, support and exhibit artists together,” a spokesperson adds.

The new works are due to be developed and presented over the next two years. Alsharif’s piece The Philistine (2018) is, for instance, due to be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, in February next year and at the CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow in February 2020 (both are partner venues). Habib Allah’s work, which focuses on US government welfare policies and marginal communities in Miami, will be shown at the Hammer Museum in September and in Glasgow early next year.