The Arab World Ascendant

FotoFest Sets Theme for Biennial

Catherine D. Anspon  |  Photos by Hassan Hajjaj’s "Eyes on Me," 2000, at FotoFest. Photo courtesy the artist., Chan Hyo Bae’s "Anne Boleyn," 2012, from the Series “Existing in Costume,” at FotoFest International Fine Print Auction. Photo courtesy the artist.
January 17, 2014

Fifty years ago, the Iron Curtain and the Russian threat dominated American foreign policy. Now the front burner is percolating with the rapidly shifting policies of the Arab world, a region steeped in tradition yet at the brink of revolutionary change — a vast territory little understood and often misinterpreted by the West. FotoFest continues its commitment to the prescient and impactful by selecting the Arab arena as the theme for its upcoming Biennial, “View from Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art.” More than 50 artists from the Middle East and Northern Africa, 14 countries in total, converge in Houston this March, via four exhibitions organized by FotoFest’s co-founder Wendy Watriss with lead curator Karin Adrian von Roques, a German-based art historian whose expertise is the Arab sphere. This series of exhibitions — the largest and most in-depth view ever mounted in the U.S. of photographic artists from the Middle East — alongside some 100 accompanying photo shows presented in town, make this 15th Biennial one of the most watched ever. Stay tuned for provocative programming — lectures, film screenings, symposia, artist-curator dialogues, evenings with the photographers, conferences and the first ever Collectors Weekend — as well as the definitive acquisition opportunity in the FotoFest auction (prepare your paddles). More details in our March art issue and via Twitter (@PaperCityCA). FotoFest 2014 Biennial, March 15 – April 27,; FotoFest International Fine Print Auction, Monday, March 24, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Downtown, contact Liz Wickersham, 713.223.5522, ext. 14,