Arab Arts Focus

Palestinian dancer and choreographer Farah Saleh presents her show Gesturing Refugees. It is an interactive performance mixing video and dance. The show is based on the story of the refugees. The choreographer uses refugee dancers, the public, and archives. The show is also nourished by real or fictional testimonies, past, present or future stories of refugees and questioning the collective responsibility. In fact, Gesturing Refugees seeks to find appropriate bridges between the past and the present. The performance thus attempts to reclaim the refugee narrative and develop a collective gestural identity that contradicts the passive victim image often attributed to refugees.

The First Palestinian Associate Artist at

Dance Base in Edinburgh, UK

“The work comes from a resident of Edinburgh. I was working with two refugee dancers: a Syrian refugee refugee currently residing in Berlin (Fadi) and another Palestinian living in the West Bank (Hamza). The two could not be present in Edinburgh for a visa issue. So we worked on the internet. Our discussions and dance sessions were made on Skype conversations. The project is based on stories of refugees, our own stories (Fadi, Hamza and myself since I was originally born in a refugee camp in Syria), dance and movement videos, as well as some anecdotes that reflect a different aspect of the refugee situation to the public”says Farah Saleh

For Saleh, the work of accumulating archives, recording the movements and gestures of refugees is an ongoing process. The show also focuses on interaction with the audience. Saleh offers to share with refugees their status and problems.

Orient Productions and the D-CAF Festival, with technical support from Tarmac, Focus Arab Arts is produced by Orient Productions, Cairo – Egypt. Off’s performances are supported by the Ford Foundation (MENA) and the Emad Eddin Foundation Studio (Sweden).

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