Whose Gaze Is it Anyway


Fox Reading Room, The ICA – London
2 September – 6 October 2014

The Pheonix Cinema – Leicester
27 August – 24 September 2015

The Potteries Museum – Stoke on Trent
24 October 2015 – 10 Jan 2016

Curated by Omar Kholeif

Abboudi Bou Jaoudeh
Sophia Al Maria with Sam Ashby
Mounira Al-Solh
Maha Maamoun
Raed Yassin

Whose Gaze Is It Anyway? was first exhibited at the ICA as part of The Arab British Centre’s SAFAR Film Festival in 2014, and subsequently toured to The Pheonix Cinema in Leicester and The Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent.

The  exhibition explored the history of Arab pop culture through printed matter – posters, notebooks, diaries and book covers, as well as through film and video, and collectively the works in the exhibition raised pertinent points about how the popular gaze is constructed from within the Arab world.

The inspiration behind the display began with the archive of Abboudi Bou Jaoudeh – a prolific collector whose underground treasure trove located in Beirut holds one of the vastest collections of Arab film memorabilia, from rare Arab film posters to cultural magazines published from the 1930s to the present day.

The exhibition included rare film posters from Bou Joudeh’s archive alongside a newly commissioned work by  Sophia Al-Maria; who presented an imaginary poster and sketchbook for her then unmade film, Beretta;  historic publications from Bou Jaoudeh’s archive, curated by Beirut and Amsterdam-based artist Mounira Al-Solh, Maha Maamoun’s Domestic Tourism II, 2009, and Raed Yassin’s single- channel video work, Disco, 2010.