The Middle East Archive Project

24 Feb 2022


The Arab World has been framed in many diverging ways, often lacking the truth in identity. Over time, photographers have shared their own perspective, sometimes influenced by their own understanding of the culture. However, very few have immortalized or shared its true essence, helping the culture synthetically come to life through the simplest moments. This lack of an authentic eye has reached a turning point, opening possibilities for a new sense of collective memory and identity.

In attempts to reframe the mediatised identity of the MENA region, Romaisa Baddar and Daleen Saah will discuss how the Middle East Archive collaborates with photographers and brings forward their amazing work. Individually the significance of these photographs is essential to the understanding and appreciation of the respective cultures, and what makes it true to its residents and diasporic citizens across the world. Collectively, as a curated set of images that narrate a blossoming life, they serve to recover and preserve instances of the past. The archiving practice, central to the first Middle East Archive book, is what ties together current times, nostalgia and the collective quest to understand the region’s ‘lost identity’. The context of this book is not grounded in historical, political, or economical events, but rather focuses on cultural and individual expressions. This particular narrative provides a glimpse of history’s backstages. MENA as a whole has been represented through its events of unrest, colonial and post-colonial eras, political or economic instability, and many other historical moments overshadowing its beauty and culture.

Romaisa Baddar pursuits involve curating and composing photography and visual work related to the representation of the Middle East and North Africa. As an experienced curator, she organizes exhibitions, makes books, directs and creates various photographic projects and products. In addition, she also co-founded an online platform called Nour Magazine that shares articles, photography and film projects, art and literature works from the Middle East and North Africa through collaborations with various creatives and collectives.

Daleen Saah is a designer and urban planner based in Los Angeles, CA. She seeks to produce work that investigates the socio, political, and cultural impacts of the built environment. As a Palestinian-American, she is equally interested in work that reflects Arab image, identity, and representation. Her collaborations with artists worldwide involve curation, visual art, design, cartography and data visualization.

*promoted by the University of Pittsburgh*

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 24, 2022 - 12:00pm