giovedì 30 maggio 2013

Studio Fouad Adib and Fouad Ghorab Bendali

Born in Jaffa in 1926 and 1929 respectively, and exiled from Palestine in 1948, Adib and Fouad Ghorab Bendali settled in Lebanon. Here they learned photography from their uncle Michel Fakhoury, a photographer established in Jounieh, 15 kilometers to the north of Beirut. Soon they rented a small room at the famous Odeon Cinema in downtown Beirut, where they started working on their own. 

They used that studio as a workspace for their photosurprise business. In 1954, they became the appointed photographers of the Oriental lodge for freemasons and opened a larger studio in Accaoui, which was known as Studio Fouad. Over the years they became renowned for their hand-coloured portraits. They remained there until Fouad’s death in 1996. 

 In an interview given a year before his death, Fouad explained his approach: ‘The work of the photographer consists of controlling light and knowing how to reflect it. I mainly concentrate on essential features in the face, such as the eyes and mouth, which are major determinants of beauty in someone’s face. Then I work on details that are particular to the model’s face, and light the scene accordingly.’

Adib still practices photography in a small studio in Bourj Hammoud. The Studio Fouad collection is the first professional collection acquired by the AIF in 1997.

AIF, March 2000

giovedì 23 maggio 2013

The Battle of the Sexes and Cannes Film Festival

The Source
is a 2011 French drama-comedy film directed by Radu Mihăileanu, starring Leïla Bekhti and Hafsia Herzi.

This dramatic comedy, which was in competition at the Cannes International Film Festival 2011, is set in a remote village in the Artas Mountains of Morocco, the story talks about women, young and old, who fetch water from a distant well far from their village into the arid mountains, while their men sit and watch the world go by. Frustrated by this, a young bride, played by the French-Algerian actress Leila Bekhti, works on her entourage, and urges the other women to strike: No more sex until their men go to work.

The director noted that the release of his film coincides with the massive protests of the Arab Spring. “Revolution isn’t just about the political movement on the streets,” he said, “but how things are at home — and how customs and attitudes need to be shaken up. To have real social equality, democracy has to happen in the home... This is where it starts.

Watch here the full movie:

mercoledì 8 maggio 2013

Jordans first "Arab Women Federation" and its first feminist: Emily Bsharat.

The establishment of the first women’s organization in Jordan goes back to the year 1944, when some women started the so called (Women’s Solidarity Society) with queen Misbah (The wife of King Abdullah (the first), and the mother of King Talal) as the honorary president. The so-called Women’s Solidarity Society focused on helping those in-need by providing financial aid.

Furthermore, the emergence of women’s action in other Arab countries has influenced women and women’s public work in Jordan. Huda Sha’rawi  (1879-1947) first women’s activist from Egypt, paid Jordan a visit in 1944. While meeting with King Abdullah (the first) she asked for his permission in establishing a women’s union branch in Jordan following along the footsteps of women in Egypt and many other Arab countries. The first “Women’s Union Society” was established directly hereafter (1945), and this time with princess Zain Al Sharaf as the active president. This society represented a slight difference from the first Women’s Solidarity Society. It had an office, so that members did not need to meet in houses, and it focused for the first time on fighting illiteracy among women. Apart from fighting illiteracy, the organization followed the same strategies (implemented by the Women’s Solidarity Society), such as offering help to the poor, the refugees, and orphans basing on charity concepts. Later in 1949, the two organizations merged and were then dissolved in the same year because of some conflicts between the members.

The arrival and integration of large numbers of Palestinians who had been active politically against the British Mandate in Palestine prior to 1948 has had a major impact on the history and development of civil society organizations and the women’s actions. The Arab-Israeli Wars have shifted the work of both Jordanian and Palestinian women to another sphere, whereby the focus (this time) was on dealing with the war outcomes, i.e. dealing with the refugees’ problems, and the Palestine question. Their work appeared as a voluntary, cohesive action. Moreover, while women’s activities on other fronts might have been suspect during this period, efforts aimed at addressing the Palestine problem were much more likely to be tolerated and thus served as a focal point around which women might rally to work. On the other hand, the preoccupation with external issue combined with the rivalries between various political groups led to an ignoring of social developments in Jordan itself.

The establishment of the Arab Women Federation (AWF) on June 17, 1954 marked a qualitative change in the type of women’s organizations active in Jordan. As in other Arab countries, women were caught up in the ferment of the 1950s and were activly helping the disabled Palestinians, so that the entire atmosphere was one of political activity. Emily Bisharat, (the first female lawyer in Jordan) was elected president at a founding meeting held in Amman, which was attended by some 800 women.
The main goals of the AWF were; eliminating illiteracy, raising women’s socioeconomic level, and developing friendships between Arab women and women around the world in order to improve the situation at home. The degree of woman’s involvement in broader national issues was clear from the union’s slogan:
Equal rights and responsibilities, Liberating Palestine, and full Arab Unity.