Two leading figures in the Arab arts world discuss the role of art and artists across the Arab region, particularly in the context of the political turmoil of recent years.
Mr. Oussama Rifahi, the executive director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, has worked with Arab artists to bring their perspectives to audiences around the world. Ms. Lara Baladi, a photographer and multimedia artist, combined art and activism during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Both have witnessed how art became a visible, powerful, and sometimes divisive force during the recent events, and the complicated role it continues to play in the region today.
- Oussama Rifahi joined the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture as executive director in July 2010. Previously, he was managing director for museum development in New York with Global Cultural Asset Management, and provided cultural consultancy services to governments, cities, foundations and private collectors in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As director of special projects for the Guggenheim Foundation, Rifahi led feasibility studies of modern and contemporary museums in Lithuania and France in 2007.
- Lara Baladi is an internationally recognized multi-disciplinary Egyptian artist. Baladi applies investigations of myths, archives, and historical and personal narratives to a multiple range of mediums including architecture, large-scale and immersive installations, photography, collage, tapestry, perfume, and sculpture. During the 2011 Egyptian uprising, she co-founded two media initiatives, Radio Tahrir and Tahrir Cinema. In 2014, Baladi received a fellowship from the OpenDocLab at MIT University (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to create a trans-media project titled Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age.
- Anthony Richter, associate director of Open Society Foundations, moderates.