The International Jury

Azra Akšamija

© Dietmar Offenhuber

Azra Akšamija is an artist and architectural historian, Director of the MIT Future Heritage Lab and an Associate Professor in the MIT Art, Culture and Technology Program Her recent academic research focuses on the representation of Islam in the West, destruction and restoration of cultural heritage in the Balkans and the MENA region. In her artistic practice, Akšamija combines cultural heritage from different contexts towards the creation of new art forms and future heritage.

Ms Aksamija’s projects explore creative responses and proposes artistic research and curatorial work that connect Arab and non-Arab communities across borders and advance dialogues across different belief systems and disciplines. She approaches Arab and Islamic culture from an understanding of their inherent hybridity, highlighting their dialogical dimensions and contributions to the diversity of the American, European, and/or global cultural landscapes.

Emily Jacir

© Sarah Shatz

Renowned for work that is as poetic as it is political and biographical, Emily Jacir has built a complex and compelling oeuvre through a diverse range of media and methodologies that include unearthing historic material, performative gestures and in-depth research.

Her work investigates personal and collective movement and its implications on the physical and social experience of trans-Mediterranean space and time in particular between Italy and Palestine.

Her projects often uncover silenced historical narratives, and investigate movement, transformation, exchange, and resistance through film, photography, social interventions, installation, performance, writing and sound amongst other media.

Jacir is the recipient of several awards, including a Golden Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); a Prince Claus Award (2007); the Hugo Boss Prize (2008); the Herb Alpert Award (2011); and the Rome Prize (2015).

Salah M. Hassan

© Africana Studies and Research Center

Salah M. Hassan, a Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in Africana Studies and Research Center, and Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), Cornell University.

He is also an art historian, art critic and curator. He is an editor and founder of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (Duke University Press) and served as consulting editor for African Arts. He currently serves as member of the editorial advisory board of Atlantica and Journal of Curatorial Studies. He authored, edited and co-edited several books.

He is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, such as the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship, as well as major grants from the Sharjah Art Foundation, Ford, Rockefeller, Andy Warhol and Prince Claus Fund foundations. In his capacity as a historian and contemporary art comparatist Hassan made foundational contributions to the modernist movements in Africa and the Arab world.

Mohammad Malas

© Karim Sahib - Archives AFP

Mohammad Malas is a prominent Syrian filmmaker. Malas directed several documentary and feature films that garnered local and international recognition. Mohamad Malas nurtures the collective memory from his own memory. His native town is present in several of his films. In ‘Quneitra 74’ (1974), he shows how the city was destroyed when the Israeli troops of occupation left, and he revives the city through cinema in ‘The Night’ (1992).

For him, cinema is a motherland and a home. Through his art, he extends a personal memory and an intimate world. “I talk of what is lost, of what I cannot find in life anymore. Then, I revive it through cinema, by looking for its intimate space.”

In addition to these films, Mohamad Malas made three more features. ‘The Door of the Sanctuary’ (released in 2005 in France under the title ‘Passion’) is the adaptation of a news item about a woman victim of a “crime of honor”. Then follow ‘Al-Mahd’ (‘The Origin’, 2008) and ‘A Ladder for Damascus’ (2013), where the backdrop is the Syrian insurrection of spring 2011.

Maria Olga Samame

© Maria Olga Samame

María Olga Samamé Barrera received a Ph.D. in Literature, with a concentration on Chilean and Latin American Literature, as well as an M.A. in Literature and a B.A. in Philosophy, with a concentration on Arabic language from the Universidad de Chile. She is an associate professor of Arabic literature, at the School of Philosophy and Humanities at the Universidad de Chile. She has participated in numerous conferences and symposia in Chile and abroad. She wrote extensively on issues pertaining to Arabic immigration, exile and identity. She has specialized in the literature of immigrants and descendants of Arabs in Chile and the Americas.

She has also worked in-depth on the Presence of the Arab imaginary in Chilean and Latin American literature and Orientalism in Chilean and Latin American literature. Samamé Barrera has published articles in Chilean and Latin American academic journals focused on Arabic and Latin American cultures. She currently serves as external consultant and member of the editorial board of several Chilean academic journals, and is a member of the Sociedad Chilena de Estudios Literarios (SOCHEL).

Former International Jury Members

Back to top