Art Jameel and Gulf Photo Plus announce the return of the popular photography event, GPP Slidefest, to Saudi Arabia

The event allows emerging photographers in the region to collaborate, experiment and develop new techniques. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 21 September 2019

Art Jameel and Gulf Photo Plus announce the return of the popular photography event, GPP Slidefest, to Saudi Arabia

  • GPP Slidefest provides a platform for photographers of all levels to learn, experiment and celebrate the art of photography
  • A special portfolio review session will allow photographers and artists to benefit from the experience of industry professionals

JEDDAH: Works by five local and regional-based photographers will be on show as part of the second Saudi edition of GPP Slidefest, a platform that aims to develop the Kingdom’s growing interest in photography as an art form.

Art Jameel, the heritage, education and arts organization, on Wednesday said that the event, to be held in partnership with Dubai-based Gulf Photo Plus, will allow emerging photographers in the region to collaborate, experiment and develop new techniques.

Projects by Saudi photographers Iman Al-Dabbagh and Abdulsalam Alamri, Kuwaiti photographers Huda Abdulmughni and Mohammed Al-Kouh, and GPP Co-Director and Dubai-based Tanzanian photographer Mohammed Somji will be on show at the event, which begins on Friday, Sept. 27.

GPP Slidefest was launched in 2017 as part of Photography Jameel’s annual program, which focuses on year-round learning and community development with workshops, portfolio reviews
 and talks.

In addition to GPP Slidefest, Art Jameel and Gulf Photo Plus have partnered to present a portfolio review session on Saturday, Sept. 28, which will allow photographers and artists to meet with industry professionals for one-on-one sessions to share their work and receive feedback, advice and exchange ideas.

Photographers Al-Dabbagh and Al-Kouh will provide feedback in both English and Arabic, while Lola Boatwright, managing director of Gulf Photo Plus, and Mohammed Somji, director of Seeing Things and co-director of Gulf Photo Plus, will provide feedback in English.

The portfolio review sessions will run from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. with individual sessions lasting 15 minutes. 

Interested photographers can meet with as many industry professionals as they like, and reviews will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, said the organization’s focus on photography began through its photography award, which “has organically transformed into a grassroots program of workshops, talks and events for photographers across Saudi Arabia.”

Somji said: “Slidefest brings together a myriad of compelling photography projects that help to start conversations, enlighten us about social issues in our region and inspire other photographers to work on stories that matter to them.

“Together with Art Jameel, we held our first international Slidefest in Jeddah one year ago, and have since taken the event to Cairo and Manama, making it a region-wide event. We are honored to return to Jeddah with our friends and partners Art Jameel.”

GPP Slidefest is free to the public and will begin on Sept. 27 in Beydoun Space at 8:30 p.m.


A narrow, airbrushed take on the Syrian war

“Between Two Brothers” screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival. (Supplied)
Updated 20 January 2020

A narrow, airbrushed take on the Syrian war

  • Syrian auteur Joud Said’s latest feature is based on the Syrian war and its impact on two siblings.

CHENNAI: Syrian auteur Joud Said’s latest feature, “Between Two Brothers” — which screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival — is based on the Syrian war and its impact on two siblings.

Khaldoun (Mohammad al-Ahmad) and A’rif (Lujain Ismaeel) see their relationship torn apart by the strife in Syria, leading to agonizing days for their childhood sweethearts, twins Nesmeh and Najmeh.

A’rif goes to war, aligning himself with anti-government forces, while Khaldoun, who had been spending time outside his country, returns to mayhem.

The characters see their world turn upside down when A’rif kidnaps several men and women from the village. Nesmeh and Najmeh are part of the hostages and what ensues is a dilemma that sees A’rif turn  violent and vindictive.

Each brother has his own opinion on what is right and what is wrong about the war and this leads to a chasm opening up between them.

The director, who has come under heavy fire in the past for his supposedly pro-government views, is controversial to say the least.

In 2017, Syrian director Samer Ajouri withdrew his entry “The Boy and the Sea”  from the Carthage Film Festival in protest at the selection of Said’s feature, “Rain Of Homs.” Later, in 2018, Egyptian director Kamla Abu-Zikry accused Said of helming films which represented the Assad government’s viewpoint.

Despite the director defending his films in a clutch of newspaper interviews, it should be noted that “Between Two Brothers” was produced by Syria’s National Film Organization.

Said makes a pitiful attempt to teach the audience that each side has its reasons. But it is not hard to see where the tilt lies — we do not see any state security forces and violence erupts solely from the rebels’ ranks. In a way, “Between Two Brothers” airbrushes the destructiveness of war, with blatant symbolism and a couple of comedy scenes further eroding a subject as grim as this.

Yes, there are some visually arresting shots of the countryside captured with articulation and imagination by cinematographer Oukba Ezzeddine and the actors who played both brothers did a fair turn in their roles, but all in all it was far too narrow a representation of war to be effective.