None of us knows how things will play out in the near or distant future. As a result, we have all been keeping ourselves busy acquiring new skills to break these loops of uncertainty, from trying to analyze illegible financial forecasts and install solar panels on rooftops, to pulling daily tarot cards. We know better than to engage in future planning. Most of these coping mechanisms have, with time, come apart as futile. At Ashkal Alwan, our institutional ethos was always shaped by our immediate community, as well as the context in which we continue to operate and intervene. Surviving these crippling conditions has taught us to make dynamic and fluid any and all endeavors we take on, in order to directly address collective needs and endure unavoidable contingencies.
For the past decade, Ashkal Alwan has been housed in a two-thousand square meter rehabilitated factory floor generously donated to us by the Philippe Jabre Association. It has allowed us to organize our public events; host our Home Workspace Program (HWP) activities; make available our growing library of publications and audio-visual material; accommodate artists and cultural workers seeking studio and rehearsal spaces; and bring our friends and allies together to dance and get loud. We will always be grateful for the generosity of Zaza and Philippe Jabre. That space was integral to the molding of our identity, and will continue to inform our modes of operation.
This present moment we keep speaking about is now calling on us to once again redefine our work, as well as our virtual and physical spaces, and shapeshift accordingly. Come July 14, 2022, we will open Ashkal Alwan’s new space—and relocate there gradually over the coming months—from where we will continue accumulating new skills, whether futile or generative.
This ongoing exercise in renewal and experimentation can only be made possible with the continuous support of our dedicated Board of Trustees: Carla Chammas, Hoor Al Qasimi, Robert A. Matta, Zaza Jabre.
ANNOUNCING ASHKAL ALWAN’S NEW SPACE
We are excited to introduce you to Ashkal Alwan’s new space, dedicated to fostering and exhibiting contemporary artistic practices from Lebanon, the Arabic-speaking region, and beyond. Located in the heart of Mar Mkhayel in Beirut, the space aims to nurture reflection and exchange by interposing itself within an already dense fabric. It invites local audiences to chance on and come into contact with a year-long cycle of newly commissioned presentations.
A public program of performative and sonic interventions, talks and readings, and film screenings will unfold throughout the year. In keeping with its pedagogical mission, as well as establishing the space as a meeting point for diverse audiences, Ashkal Alwan will continue hosting future editions of HWP in a hybrid format.
The space was designed by architect Christian Zahr, and its visual identity conceived by graphic designer Farah Fayyad, both of whom we owe endless gratitude to.
We would also like to thank Abdul-Halim Jabr, Baris Dogrusöz, Khalil Joreige, Marwan Rechmaoui, Maissa Maatouk, Maxime Hourani, Mohammed Abdallah, Mona Abou Samra, Nada El Khoury, Yasmine Dagher, Zeina Arida, and Zeynep Öz for their invaluable advice.
Last but not least, we want to thank our giving community of artists, cultural practitioners, technicians, educators, friends, and financial supporters, without whom none of what we do would ever come to life in the first place.
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