Arab Documentary Photography Program 2021 Announces the Winners

Arab Documentary Photography Program, a joint initiative with The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and the Prince Claus Fund announce eleven new projects for the year 2021.

The ADPP call opened on February 15, 2021, and closed on April 30, 2021, with 82 applications received from 14 Arab countries. Out of all the projects received, 75 passed the administrative check and were sent to the jurors for evaluation.

Selected grantees receive production support in the amount of $5,000 USD to produce long-term creative projects within an eight-month mentorship program with Randa Shaath, Eric Gottesman, Tanya Habjouqa, and Peter van Agtmael. Over the course of their project development, grantees come together for two intensive workshops in Beirut, where they have the opportunity to connect in person with each other and their mentors to edit and consider avenues for distribution.

This year, Lebanese photographer Dalia Khamissy joined as a juror, in addition to Magnum Foundation director Kristen Lubben and Iraqi photographer and journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. The deliberations that took place virtually over two days, resulted in the selection of 11 photographers hailing from Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

The eleven projects we selected are reflective of the pool of applicants as a whole.

The jury was drawn to projects that focused on an important story through a new or surprising lens, such as talking about displacement and urbanization through the lens of the photographer’s grandmother.

The jury issued the following statement:

We were impressed by the wide range of topics covered in the 75 applications we reviewed. We saw projects that spoke directly about global issues that are playing out in the region, and classical topics for documentary photography: migration, urbanization, and conflict. But we also saw many others that explored issues in surprising new ways, often indirectly: feminism, harassment, patriarchal societies, economies, youth questioning the future, oppression, water, art, health, queer issues, history, archives. Particularly in the context of the pandemic, many documentary photographers turned to intimate issues within the home or even within the self.

The applications received for the 2021 cycle cover a range of personal, social, environmental, and political issues. On the one hand, stories about identity, personal struggles, gender issues, family, and motherhood are shared. On the other hand, a significant number of applicants reflect on war, displacement, exile, and migration.

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC was founded in 2007 through the initiative of Arab cultural activists as an independent foundation to support individual artists, writers, researchers, intellectuals, as well as organizations from the Arab region working in the field of arts and culture. Based in Beirut, AFAC works with artists and organizations all over the Arab region and the rest of the world.

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