As part of ICA’s Off-Site programme, Cinema on the Steps began a three-night run last night, bringing an exciting selection of contemporary Middle Eastern artists’ film to an outdoor cinema on The Mall. Sitting on the Duke of York steps, yesterday’s audiences enjoyed a screening of Ala Eddine Slim, Ismaël and Youssef Chebbi’s video essay Babylon (2012), selected by the first of three curators for the evenings, Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.
Tonight’s curators are Alia Al-Senussi, who currently holds a number of posts including VIP Relations Manager Middle East for Art Basel worldwide and Executive for Generation Three Family Partners, and Abdullah AlTurki, a leading figure in Saudi Arabia’s contemporary art scene. Their dynamic programme includes Manal Al Dowayan’s silent mix of belly dancing The Legends, three short films by Ziad Antar, and the main feature, Rania Stephan’s The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni.
The three days of screenings draw to a close tomorrow with Ahmed Mater’s selection, highlights of which will be his own Leaves Fall in All Seasons (2013), a film made up of mobile phone footage shot by immigrant workers on building sites in and around Makkah between 2008 and 2013, and a screening of the newly restored classic of Egyptian cinema The Mummy/The Night of Counting the Years (Al Momia). Mater is co-founder of the non-profit organisation Edge of Arabia whose recent work combines video, photography and online social activism to present an unofficial and subjective commentary on some of the most contested and poignant transformations taking place in Saudi Arabia.
The Cinema on the Steps opens at 7.30pm – please see individual events for film start times. To accompany the events, the ICA Bar serves food and drink that can be enjoyed outside on the steps. Audience members are welcome to bring a small cushion and blanket, and food and drink in plastic containers.
Cinema on the Steps is free to attend, with limited availability on the door. For more information, please visit www.ica.org.uk.
Rania Stephan, The Three Disappearances of Soad Honsi, 2011.