We are pleased to invite you to an evening with writer and critic Omar Berrada, in conversation with writer, editor and Mada Masr’s co-founder Lina Attalah, as part of the Townhouse Salons x Rewriting Criticism public program.
The discussion will take as its point of departure the question of race in the Arab world. Prompted by recent instances of violence against Black Africans in Morocco, Omar Berrada has been investigating histories of trans-Saharan encounters as they appear in administrative documents, literary language, and musical forms. Why does Arabness seem to preclude Africanity? How did national identity become racialized? When did the desert turn into a border? This is a story of tangled temporalities. The migrants of today, the slaves of yore, and the colonialists in-between. It is a tale of willful ignorance, of silences and unspoken pasts irrupting into the present.
The talk will be held in English next Saturday, 8pm at Townhouse Rawabet.
Townhouse Salon is a monthly series of informal conversations led by a writer, an artist, or a critic – who is invited to curate a topic and share relevant texts with the public. This season, the salons are running in conjunction with (Re)writing Criticism, a six month writing-intensive program which aims to build on current practices of criticism in Egyptian contemporary culture.
Omar Berrada is a writer and curator, and the director of Dar al-Ma’mûn, a library and artists residency in Marrakech. His translations (into French) include books by Jalal Toufic, Stanley Cavell and Joan Retallack. He recently edited The Africans, a book on racial politics in Morocco, and curated group exhibitions centering on the archive of writer and filmmaker Ahmed Bouanani. Currently living in New York, Omar is a co-editor of Sharjah Biennial’s tamawuj.org and the guest curator of the 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize.
Lina Attalah is the co-founder and publisher of Mada Masr, Cairo-based news website. Before that, she was the chief editor of Egypt Independent, a flagship media voice in Egypt. On the fringes of journalism, she produced work through different research and art practices surrounding the themes of technology, migration and intellectual history. She is the co-founder of the artistic collective Take to the Sea, which latest work is showing at the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded.