The ninth Ajyal Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute, is saluting the steely determination and resilience of the Palestinians through its compelling, not-to-be-missed Ajyal Art Exhibition held at Sikkat Wadi Msheireb for an extended period from Nov. 8 to Dec. 18.
Drawing inspiration from the Al-Kurd family living in the embattled Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, this year’s exhibit ‘We Will Not Leave’ derives its name from their defiant and now iconic graffiti art. Curated by Sheikh Khalifa Al-Thani, the multi-media exhibit presents the works of 27 artists who express the harsh realities of the Palestinians through powerful brushstrokes and creative modes of modern expression.
Last year's exhibition "Outbreak" was also curated by Al-Thani and was the centrepiece of last year's part virtual, partly in person edition of the festival.
Offering a powerful and much needed tribute to the Palestinian people, the exhibition is open to the public for free – from 10 AM to 10 PM daily and from 2 PM to 10 PM on Fridays. The event is complemented with the Artists Exhibition Talks, a series of insightful sessions that will shine a light on important topics related to the struggle, from Nov. 8 to 13, also available to the public at no charge, at Sikkat Wadi Msheireb. Visitors are encouraged to reserve a ticket for entry, taking into consideration the safety protocols being followed.
During this year's festival, acclaimed filmmaker and DFI artistic advisor Elia Sulaiman, as well as Oscar nominated filmmaker Farah Nabulsi and activist/journalist Muna El Kurd will take part in the Artists Exhibition Talks and share their personal experiences and shed light on the Palestinian struggle.
Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Festival Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “The Ajyal Art Exhibition, over the past years, has presented bold themes that demonstrate not just the creativity of the artists but also their anguished response to important societal issues and global injustice. We have always believed in the power of dialogue and creative expression to build bridges and promote peace and harmony. In doing so, we believe it is important to amplify the voices of those who are marginalised or silenced, through cinema and other artistic expressions, so that a wider audience understands their plight and are able to see their humanity.
“Words such as ‘resilience and ‘adversity’ have often been used to describe the era of the pandemic, but for centuries now, Palestine has shown us what it truly means to survive amidst the most difficult conditions. This year’s exhibition will bring attention to the everyday struggle of the Palestinian people -- through moving pieces by Qatar’s creative community, who have come together in a spirit of solidarity, support and kinship for our Palestinian brothers and sisters to present a sensory experience that manifests both the poignant beauty and affecting hardships of their current subjugation.”
Participating artists this year include: Jumanah Abbas, Abdullah Ahmadi, Hanof Ahmed, Ibrahim AlBaker, Shaikha Al-Elaiwy, AlAnoud Al-Ghamdi, Reem Al-Haddad, Anfal Al-Kandari, Sharefa Al-Mannai, Saad Al-Mslamani, Noof Al-Naama, Amira Alnamla, Hazem Asif, Maryam Al-Tajer, Buthaina Al Zaman, Nour El-Basuni, Sumaia El Kilani, Yousef Fakhroo, Ahmad Tariq Hamad, Obada Jarbi, Fatima Javed, Arman Mansouri, Hayyan Monawar, Lana Shaheen, Tanya Shamil, Haytham Sharrouf and Mala Waseem.
In addition to the Ajyal Art Exhibition, the Artists Exhibition Talks will be headlined by "In Conversation" between acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker, Elia Suleiman -- who has used film to tell melancholy tales of his roots touched with inimitable irony and humour, and film producer Jovan Marjanovic, on Nov. 8 at 7 PM.
Palestinian-British Farah Nabulsi, whose award-winning film The Present, supported by DFI, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film will discuss “Cinematic Hope: The Present and Future of Palestinian Filmmaking”, moderated by Rafia Hussain Oraidi on Nov. 10 at 7 PM.
You can watch some of Suleiman's work, as well as Nabulsi's Oscar-nominated short, on Netflix, as part of their "Palestinian Stories" curated content.
Also on hand during Ajyal will be Palestinian journalist Muna Hawa, Time magazine 100 most influential people of 2021-journalist and Sheikh Jarrah activist Muna El-Kurd and researcher Tarek Bakri who will together be the speakers for “Amplified Voices: The Rise of Digital Advocacy” on Nov. 11 at 5PM, moderated by Salam Hindawi.
Filmmaker and visual storyteller Ala Hamdan will discuss “Inescapable Truth: Palestine Online” on Nov. 12 at 7 PM. The talk will be moderated by Emmy nominated journalist and Palestinian activist, Ahmed Shihab Eldin.
Last, but not least, journalist and poet Sana Uqba will moderate a public open mic evening titled “The Poetry of Palestine” on Nov. 18 at 7 PM.
For all info and tickets visit the Ajyal link on the DFI website.