Panel Discussion Re-Seeding Culture: Syrian Artists in Berlin

Exile © Middle East Institute

Wed, 06/23/2021


The Goethe-Institut is pleased to collaborate with The Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Center on a conversation about the development and influence of a thriving Syrian creative community in Berlin over the past decade.
Featuring Berlin-based Syrian contemporary artist Khaled Barakeh, actor Kinan Hmeidan and filmmaker and producer Diana El-Jeiroudi, the panel will explore the impact of the relocation of Syrian artists and creatives to Germany, particularly Berlin, in response to the Syrian conflict.
How did Berlin emerge as a new hub of Syrian arts and culture in diaspora? What challenges did Syrian artists face? How did they adapt and engage with this new artistic landscape? And what sort of influence has this exchange of cultures had on Berlin's artistic community and cultural institutions?
London-based writer and editor Malu Halasa will explore these questions and more in conversation with the three artists.
RSVP Speakers:
Khaled Barakeh’s practice is driven by his recurring observations of long-standing social injustice, approaching his creative practice as a tool for societal change; manipulating commonplace visual and cultural touchstones to expose and undermine stagnant power structures within the ever-changing political and social landscape. Barakeh recently founded nonprofit coculture to address the many challenges faced by displaced cultural producers in the Middle East, Europe, and beyond. With a suite of initiatives that leverage artistic thinking to directly address issues of contemporary mass migration.
Documentary filmmaker, editor and screenwriter Diana El Jeiroudi's films encapsulate sociopolitical tensions and contradictions extending over time. She is best known for Dolls - A Woman from Damascus (IDFA 2007) and Morning Fears, Night Chants (IDFA 2012) as well as for producing Silvered Water - Syria Autoportrait by O. Mohamad & W. S. Bedirxan (Cannes 2014), and The Mulberry House by Oscar-nominated Sara Ishaq (IDFA 2013). Alongside partner Orwa Nyrabia, she founded and leads several documentary film initiatives including Proaction Film (Damascus), No Nation Films (Berlin), the International Documentary Film Festival in Syria DOX BOX and most recently DOX BOX e.V. (Berlin). El Jeiroudi is currently working on upcoming feature-length documentary Republic of Silence (2021).
Actor and performer Kinan Hmeidan was born in Damascus in 1991. After graduating from the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts in 2014, he performed with independent Syrian directors Oussama Ghanam, Samer Omran, Jihad Sa’eed. He has been cast in both TV series and films, and is known for his role in the movie Témoins (The Witnesses, 2016). Besides acting, Hmeidan engaged as a DJ in the Damascene music scene. He is also interested in performances in alternative spaces and has been part of X Shared Spaces, a project that explores the question of how digital business models permanently change the world. Hmeidan has been a part of the Open Border Ensemble at the Münchner Kammerspiele since 2017 and a member of the Maxim Gorki Theater ensemble in Berlin since 2020. Recent performances at the Gorki include DIE HAMLETMASCHINE and SCHWARZER BLOCK.
Malu Halasa is the coeditor of five anthologies on the culture and politics of Syria, Iran and Lebanon, including Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, with Zaher Omareen and Nawara Mahfouz; The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design, with Rana Salam; and Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations, with Maziar Bahari. She is a contributing editor to The Markaz Review. Her novel Mother of All Pigs was published in 2017.