Why does it appear so difficult for people to freely take on the confrontation and the discussion between new expressions of culture compared to the mainstream in their own environment, with the prevailing classical canon? Leaving the safe space of being right to negotiate what is beautiful and important in the journey of the new world, does not appear to be easy. The European canon is not a static set of acquired, well-defined values, but should rather be seen as a process, a challenge, a concept that must constantly be (re)interpreted.
In 2011 the Nomadic arts centre Moussem (BE) launched the project moussem.eu with De Nieuw Amsterdam (NL), Compagnie Nacera Belaza (FR) and the Liverpool Arabic Arts Centre (GB) with the support of the European Commission. Moussem.eu enables artists of Arabic origin to create with international perspective.
With Moussem.eu we do not wish to present an objective sample of Arab artists in Europe. Our starting point is the individual stories of artists who differ greatly. Their only common denominator is that they rely on their European and Arab background to give artistic shape to their story. Moreover, moussem.eu stands for a process of deep discussion and intimate negotiations to inhabit and broaden the common ground of ‘Mezzaterra’ where everybody is welcome.
The film portrays Nacera Belaza, Sabri Saad El Hamus, the LAAF and Strange Fruit.
Together with the film an ambitious publication is made. Several of the finest and internationally best reputed authors and opinion makers delivered a contribution for this book. The multilingual book contains articles, essays, poems of Ahdaf Soueif, Abdelkader Benali, Gérard Mayen, Professor Gema Martin-Muños, Taha Adnan and Ramsey Nasr with an introduction of Mohamed Ikoubaân and closing remarks by Pascal Nicolas.
In the future we hope to expand this small network to include other artists and partners, and to create a deep and profound artistic dialogue that transcends the flat populist discourse of many politicians and opinion makers. Consequently moussem.eu wants to stimulate a new form of cooperation on a cultural level with the Arab communities in Europe as a bridge, on the basis of equality, reciprocity and equal participation of all.