Arab film posters

Arab pop culture history is being opened up through film posters and other printed ephemera in a new ICA show opening this week.

My Wife Is Hippy / Zowjatee Min al Hibs, inside double page from 1973 magazine
My Wife Is Hippy / Zowjatee Min al Hibs, inside double page from 1973 magazine

The exhibition, entitled Whose Gaze is it Anyway?, is part of the ICA’s Arab film festival Safar, which opens later this month, and presents a series of rare film posters from the archive of collector Abboudi Bou Jaoudeh.

Safar brochure, designed by Smack
Safar brochure, designed by Smack

The identity for Safar, shown in the brochure above, was designed by consultancy Smack, which worked with the Arab British Centre in 2012 to set the branding guidelines to be used for each year of the biennial event.

Roulette Lucky Game
Roulette Lucky Game

His collection in Beirut is one of the most comprehensive archives of Arab film memorabilia, and includes Arab film posters and cultural magazines published from the 1930s to the present day, according to the ICA.

Way To Hell, Tareek Al Khataya, 1968, Arabic cover
Way To Hell, Tareek Al Khataya, 1968, Arabic cover

Accompanying the archive posters will be a new work by Sophia Al-Maria, who has designed a poster and sketchbook for her as-yet-unmade rape revenge film Beretta,  which is set in Cairo.

Maha Maamoun, Domestic Tourism II, 2009
Maha Maamoun, Domestic Tourism II, 2009

As well as printed materials, the exhibition will also feature video works including Maha Maamoun’s 2009 film  Domestic Tourism II. The work uses historic film footage of the Egyptian pyramids to explore how images of the monuments have been used in the global tourism industry, acting, as the ICA says, as ‘as a nostalgic symbol for a flawed modern country’.

Way To Hell Way To Hell / Tareek Al Khataya, 1968, Arabic cover
Way To Hell Way To Hell / Tareek Al Khataya, 1968, Arabic cover

In Disco, Raed Yassin’s 2010 video piece, the artist turns to his ‘disco addict’ father, a fashion designer who left the family to pursue a career starring in  Egyptian horror films. The ICA says, ‘The interplay of image and text explores a generation’s fascination with celebrity, forging a story about abandonment, voyage, longing and stardom.’

Way To Hell Way To Hell / Tareek Al Khataya, 1968, English cover
Way To Hell Way To Hell / Tareek Al Khataya, 1968, English cover

The show has been curated by Omar Kholeif, curator at the Whitechapel Gallery,

Whose Gaze Is It Anyway? runs from 2 September – 5 October at the Fox Reading Room, ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH. Safar: The Festival Of Popular Arab Cinema runs 19 – 25 September.

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