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54th Venice Biennale
4 June - 27 November 2011

Venice Biennale / 2011 / Special Features



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Magazzini del Sale, No. 262
Fondamenta delle Zattere

Vaporetto line 1, station Salute

The Future of a Promise

2 June - 20 November 2011
Tu-Su 11am - 6pm
Closed on Mondays. Admission free.

Press preview: 1 June 2011, 5pm - 6pm
Private view: 1 June 2011, from 6pm

22 artists - see the list below

Curator: Lina Lazaar
Biographical data - see below

The Future of a Promise will be the Venice Biennale's largest Pan-Arab exhibition of contemporary art. From Tunisia all the way to Saudi Arabia, this landmark exhibition brings together more than twenty-five recent works and commissions by some of the foremost artists from the Arab world.

Presenting important works that range from installation, performance and photography, to video, sculpture and painting, The Future of a Promise includes the following artists: Ziad Abillama (Lebanon), Manal Al-Dowayan (Saudi Arabia), Ahmed Alsoudani (Iraq), Ziad Antar (Lebanon), Ayman Baalbaki (Lebanon), Lara Baladi (Egypt/Lebanon), Fayçal Baghriche (Algeria), Yto Barrada (Morocco), Taysir Batniji (Palestine), Abdelkader Benchamma (France/Algeria), Ayman Yossri Daydban (Palestine/Jordan), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), Abdulnasser Gharem (Saudi Arabia), Mona Hatoum (Lebanon), Raafat Ishak (Egypt), Emily Jacir (Palestine), Yazan Khalili (Palestine), Ahmed Mater (Saudi Arabia), and Driss Ouadahi (Algeria), as well as three Abraaj Capital Art Prize Winners, Jananne Al-Ani (Iraq), Kader Attia (Algeria), and Nadia Kaabi-Linke (Tunisia).

The exhibition is being curated by Lina Lazaar, produced by Edge of Arabia and supported by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives and Abraaj Capital, three newly partnered organisations whose commitment to contemporary art practice in the Middle East is at the heart of a current artistic renaissance in the region.

The Future of a Promise examines the way in which an idea is made incarnate in a formal, visual context and how a promise opens up a horizon of future possibilities, be they aesthetic, political, historical, social or critical. With the events currently unfolding in the Middle East, the question of the future and the promise inherent within culture has assumed an even more acute degree of pertinence. It is with this in mind that the exhibition enquires into the promise of visual culture in an age that has become increasingly disaffected with politics as a means of social engagement. Whilst the artists included in The Future of a Promise are not representative of a movement as such, they do seek to engage with a singular issue in the Middle East today: who gets to represent the present-day realities and the horizons to which they aspire?

"Through the artworks selected, I wanted to investigate how artists from this diverse, fragmented region have responded to the often contradictory promises that have defined our history," says curator Lina Lazaar. "I am incredibly proud and honoured to be putting together this exhibition in 2011, at such critical times for the Arab world, and I very much hope to create the rightful platform for these voices to be heard."

From a Press release


Ziad Abillama
* 1969 Lebanon. Lives in Lebanon.
more info & photos

Jananne Al-Ani
* 1966 Kirkuk, Iraq. Lives in London, United Kingdom.
more info & photos

Manal Al-Dowayan
* 1973 Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; lives there.
more info & photos

Ahmed Alsoudani
* 1975 Baghdad, Iraq. Lives in New York, USA.
more info & photos

Ziad Antar
* 1978 Saida, Lebanon. Lives there and in Paris, France.
more info & photos

Kader Attia
* 1970 Dugny, France (Algerian origin). Lives in Berlin, Germany.
more info & photos

Ayman Baalbaki
* 1975 Odeissé, Lebanon. Lives in Beirut, Lebanon.
more info & photos

Lara Baladi
* 1969 Beirut, Lebanon. Lives in Cairo, Egypt.
more info & photos

Fayçal Baghriche
* 1972 Skikda, Algeria. Lives in Paris, France.
more info & photos

Yto Barrada
* 1971 Paris, France. Lives there and in Tangier, Morocco.
more info & photos

Taysir Batniji
* 1966 Gaza, Palestine. Lives in Paris, France.
more info & photos

Abdelkader Benchamma
* 1975 Mazamet, France (Algerian origin). Lives in Paris, France.
more info & photos

Mounir Fatmi
* 1970 Tangier, Morocco. Lives in Paris, France, and Tangier.
more info & photos

Abdulnasser Gharem
* 1973 Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia; lives there.
more info & photos

Mona Hatoum
* 1952 Beirut, Lebanon (Palestinian origin). Lives in London, United Kingdom, and in Berlin, Germany.
more info & photos

Raafat Ishak
* 1967 Cairo, Egypt. Lives in Melbourne, Australia.
more info & photos

Emily Jacir
* 1970 Bethlehem, Palestine. Lives in Ramallah, Palestine, and New York, USA.
more info & photos

Nadia Kaabi-Linke
* 1978 Tunis, Tunisia. Lives in Berlin, Germany
more info & photos

Yazan Khalili
* 1981 Syria (Palestinian origin). Lives in London, United Kingdom.
more info & photos

Ahmed Mater
* 1979 Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Lives in Abha, Saudi Arabia.
more info & photos

Driss Ouadahi
* 1959 Casablanca, Morocco. Lives in Düsseldorf, Germany.
more info & photos

Ayman Yossri Daydban
* 1966 Palestinian with Jordanian nationality. Lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
more info & photos

Lina Lazaar

Curator: Lina Lazaar
Lina Lazaar has an M.A. in Statistics and M.A in Art History and is a specialist at Sotheby's London in Post War and Contemporary Art. Her passion for Arab and Iranian Contemporary Art led Sotheby's to hold their first European auctions in this category in 2006. Since then she has curated these sales annually and significantly increased the international exposure and discussion of Middle Eastern contemporary art. Lina is the associate editor of the publishing forum Ibraaz and member of the Middle East North Africa Acquisitions Committee of the Tate in London.

Production partner: Edge Of Arabia

Catalogue partner: Ibraaz

More information about the exhibition, organizers, partners, press contacts, etc.:

>> Press release

>> Website: www.thefutureofapromise.com

Nafas Art Magazine
Contemporary art from the Maghreb to the Middle East, from Central to Southeast Asia. Online magazine, published since 2003 by the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa, Germany) in cooperation with Universes in Universe. In Arabic, English, German.

Edge of Arabia in Venice 2009
Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia. Curator: Stephen Stapleton; co-curators: Ahmed Mater, Abdulnasser Gharem. Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo Polignac. Collateral exhibition, 53rd Venice Biennale 2009.



54th Venice Biennale 2011
54th International Art Exhibition, 4 June - 27 November 2011. Artistic director: Bice Curiger. Theme: ILLUMInations.


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Venice Biennale / 2011 / Special Features