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Abir Boukhari

The mysterious city

My name is Abir Boukhari and I am the Travel Guide for Damascus on and curator of the Damascus pavilion in the Amsterdam Biennale 2009 at Mediamatic.

I am the founder of All Art Now, which consider as the first independent collective space for contemporary and visual art.

I would like to invite you to visit Damascus, you won't find many things for contemporary art but people here they are looking forward to seeing new activities. Damascus is so a nice city, people they are so friendly here, but the city it looks like the Damascene house: outside so simple but when you enter you discover how much is beautiful inside.

If you want to discover the city, you need to now someone to let you in.

Then you will discover its mysterious...

All Art Now

AllArtNow was initiated as a reaction to a series of different limitations for artists and cultural production in Syria.

  • Fragmented cultural ecology, from education to production to distribution.
  • Art education do not extend to contemporary art and practices.
  • Under-appreciation of new media and new technologies in fine art training/education arts.
  • Lack of professional and training in arts management, curation and production.
  • Lack of spaces to create , research (e. g. libraries) and exhibit work
  • Being an artist is not an accepted profession.
  • Negative images about arts generally in Syria

In the face of all these problems, something positive made us move on:

In Syria, we have enthusiastic artists who insist to work in art, in spite of all the difficulties they have found and they are working hardly to learn more about arts and to improve their skills. So we decided to begin from Zero, maybe some day, our work will encourage other groups to take the same way.

We were only two people who established this initiative and one means of financial support. Independently, we organized our first activity, where we participated in 14th Istanbul Art Fair “Artist 2005”. From then till now, we have succeeded in organizing many activities.

We move on to develop our work and to learn more...

Some of our programs focus on emerging artists, traditional arts to develop it, to develop skills of children through the creation of art in non-traditional spaces. One project after another, they convinced us of the benefits in developing our skills and providing the right opportunities for artists to flourish. Today we have succeeded in encouraging artists to work in a contemporary way.

As a result of our program, some of our artists have participated in many international festivals and workshops and have begun to explore new media such as video art.

We strongly believe that by working in partnership and facilitating exchanges, we can develop our artistic potential and create new relationships. In 2008, the organization obtain a neglected space, where we show now different project for installation, video art, grafitti, artist talks, etc... We also established the Festival of AllArtNow for Contemporary art.

It's not easy to work in art, so we are trying to support our activities by different resources and touristic culture. One of them, is to give support in different services.

Our space always opens to different artists from different places of the world to work, contact and meet local artists. We believe that by working with others, in partnership, we can improve the ecology of the arts.

We aim to continue developing new collaborative approaches with organizations in & out of Syria. By doing this, we aspire to create opportunities for artists, from training to residencies to exhibitions, and for audiences, from participation to exchange.