Leading an institution like the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture is both a passion and a responsibility. We are young but established; modest in size but instrumental for the independent arts and cultural scene in the Arab region and Diaspora. Looking back at the past ten years, we have received overwhelming, heartwarming feedback from our artists, grantees, jurors, donors, board members, partners and cultural practitioners about the impact and the standards that AFAC has set.
We have been privileged by the surge in creativity that the Arab region has been witnessing for more than a decade. The artists we have supported have steadfastly defended freedom of expression, tolerance and justice. They have created a body of work rich with fresh narratives speak to the complexity of our region—a perspective often eclipsed by reductionist portrayals in mainstream media. Because of these artists and intellectuals, we hold our grounded belief that the arts are profoundly meaningful and impactful. Their projects, inquisition, creative expression and imagination holds the key to the future of our region, and we know that by giving them a platform we help shed light the Arab world’s diverse perceptions and perspectives.
AFAC’s indispensable role in creating spaces for artists to grow, explore and experiment compels us to continue this momentum and also to reflect on the future of AFAC. We want to keep our finger on the pulse of the cultural arts scene and strive to remain relevant in how we respond to realities and priorities.
We have achieved a lot in the past ten years, processing more than 10,000 applications and supporting 1,130 projects to date. And we can achieve even more with your support. We want to strengthen distribution and outreach; encourage and foster more arts and cultural research; offer cultural institutions entrepreneurial and innovative mentoring and support; and create programs for under-financed fields such as critical and creative writing. We want to do all of this and more in the coming years; and we hope we can rely on a growing network of supporters, big and small, in our efforts.
We appreciate our generous contributors—both individual and institutional—without whom this independent art scene, and this organization, would not exist. We marvel at the passion and engagement of artists and cultural institutions; and we are grateful for the thoughtful insight of our jurors. Investing in our mission is an investment in the future of our region. By supporting the arts, you empower one of modern society’s only possible spaces for dialogue, criticism, diversity, tolerance and understanding.
Rima Mismar, November 2017