Curatorial Statement

In this era of revolutions, turmoil, exclusion and individualism, photography can play a critical role in building bridges among communities in the Middle East and North Africa.

This exhibition is the product of visual reciprocity between members of seven MENA cities — Baghdad, Beirut, Marrakesh, Tehran, Dubai, Istanbul and Algiers — presenting a counter-narrative to the contested political images of their native cities. Bringing together seven photographers capturing portraits of their cities, along with impressions and reflections of their homes and surroundings, the exhibit explores themes of transcultural narratives, social difference and national identity.

In our age of globalization and modernity, transculturalism has become a term that attempts to define the complex relationships between cultures, communities and individuals outside the often divisive limits of national borders. As the cities in the MENA region are each unique to their own experiences, there are nevertheless significant similarities that bind us together, through shared histories of colonization and language.

The goal of this project is to explore the differences and similarities found in each city and celebrate their diversity and complexity. To illustrate this, each photographer brings with them their own representation of their city and society they reside in, creating a transcultural narrative of the MENA region through their equally unique and overlapping perspectives.

Roï Saade