The Power Plant

Akram Zaatari

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Courtesy Marco Milan

Akram Zaatari is a multidisciplinary artist born in 1966 in Saida, Lebanon.

Akram Zaatari has developed an interdisciplinary practice that combines the roles of image-maker, archivist, curator, and critical theorist. He is concerned with notions of desire, resistance, memory, surveillance, and –in particular– with the production and circulation of images during wartime. Delving in photography, film, video, installation, and performance, he has built a complex body of work that explores self-documentation and the current state of image making. Zaatari is especially interested in the Lebanese postwar condition, particularly the televised mediation of territorial conflicts and wars, and the logic of religious and national resistance. Through the appropriation and exhibition of documents and image archives, he invites us to rethink what it means to witness, survive or document a war. Some of his works are based on his own collection and study of middle-eastern photographic history: archival images that comprise a valuable record of social relations, representations of male sexuality, and photographic practices of the region. In addition to his own archival work, Akram Zaatari is a founding member of the Arab Image Foundation, which aims to collect, study and disseminate the photographic heritage of Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab diaspora.

Zaatari earned a Bachelor of Architecture in 1989 from the American University of Beirut and a Master of Arts in Media Studies from the New School in New York in 1995. In 1997 he was one of the organizers of the now extinct Ayloul Festival an initiative to produce and sponsor theatre, dance, installation, and video works by young Lebanese and international artists. In 2011, he was the 4th laureate of the Yanghyun Prize and in 2004 he received the Grand Prize from the Associação Cultural Videobrasil; He was also awarded Best Documentary and Best Director at the 2nd edition of the Beirut International Film Festival.