Akram Zaatari is a Lebanese video artist and curator. He’s also the co-founder of The Arab Image Foundation who contains more than “600,000 historic images of daily life in the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora”, and is the one who discovered Hashem el Madani’s work and decided to partner with him and show Studio Shehrazade’s photographs to the whole world. I posted about Studio Shehrazade back in February and it’s one of the most amazing stories I’ve covered so far.
ArtReview, which is one of the world’s leading international contemporary art magazines, has placed Zaatari among the top 100 most powerful contemporary artists in the world. Check out the full list [Here].
Zaatari, whose work involves a self-reflective examination of photography and documentary, has been busier than ever these past 12 months. His use of archival research and history as both subject and material, with a deft nod to the longstanding political turmoil of the Middle East, has won him curatorial fans far beyond his base in Beirut. Besides 2014 shows at Salt, Istanbul, and the Power Plant, Toronto, he had a survey at Wiels, Brussels, centring on the artist’s recurring motif of the letter. Last November he had a well-received exhibition of photographs and multimedia installations at Thomas Dane, London. That show included the 38-minute film On Photography People and Modern Times (2010), which, in part, is a portrait of the Arab Image Foundation, an expanding collection of over 600,000 vernacular and studio photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora, which the artist cofounded in 1997.
Madani and Zaatari