About the Conference
"Artist as Witness: Cultural Production, Conflict, and Human Rights in Syria"
Through seven years of war, Syrian artists have played a crucial role as witnesses to the devastation of their country, and to the suffering and fortitude of its people. This one-day conference explores Syrian cultural producers’ varied responses to the ongoing conflict. Visual artists, playwrights, musicians, and filmmakers invoke, critique, and give voice to experiences of oppression, trauma, exile, and loss. Wartime works reflect an intensification of the outrage, longing, ambivalence, irony, and contradiction that have long imbued Syrian expressive culture. This conference showcases rarely seen works by Syrian artists, and places their creators in dialogue with a young generation of Syrian academics and activists.
The conference is co-sponsored by Lehman College's Leonard Lief Library and Department of Anthropology, and is organized by:
- Marianna al-Tabbaa, M.A. Candidate, Department of Politics, New York University
- Nour Halabi, Ph.D. Candidate, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
- Christa Salamandra, Interim Director of Lehman Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies, Professor of Anthropology, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
For more information: http://www.artistaswitnesssyria.net/
9:45am: Subhiyya (Morning Coffee)
Lehman College President José Luis Cruz
Christa Salamandra, Lehman College and the Graduate Center
10:10-11:45am: Panel One - "Framing Conflict: Photography as Documentation and Engagement"
Bassam Khabieh, Photographer, Reuters, in conversation with Nour Halabi, University of Pennsylvania
11:45am-1:45pm: Panel Two - "To Be or Not To Be? Film as Intervention"
Film Screening: Shakespeare in Zaatari (2016), 35 minutes
Maan Mouslli, Director, in conversation with Mariaana al-Tabbaa, New York University
2:30-3:45pm: Panel Three - "Illuminating Absurdities: Theater as Critique"
Play Reading: The Goats, Salah Rajab, Actor
Liwaa Yazigi, Playwright, in conversation with Katty al-Hayek, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
3:45-4:15pm: Panel Four - "Filming Survival"
Film Screening: Syria: Under a State of Fear, 16 minutes
Producer Aya Aljamili, American University
4:15-4:30pm: Coffee Break
4:30-6:30pm: Panel Five - "Playing it Again: Music as Cultural Preservation and Transformation"
Samer Ali, Violinist and Founder of the Syrian Music Preservation Initiative, in conversation with Aya Aljamili, American University
Music Performance: members of Takht a-Negham Ensemble
Exhibit: Unpacked: Refugee Baggage
Mohamed Hafez, Visual Artist
About the Lehman Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies
Founded in 2011, the Lehman College Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies builds on Lehman College’s unique history: the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights began at Lehman College when the United Nations met at the College. Lehman students, often immigrants and the first in their families to access higher education, engender a broad understanding of human rights. The Center unites student and faculty engagement on local and global rights issues in New York and the greater world community. The Center emphasizes intrinsic linkages between human rights and peace. Not merely the absence of war or conflict, human security necessitates community building, safety, promotion of tolerance, environmental sustainability, expanded life chances, freedom of expression, movement and association, and equal access to resources across gender, ethnic, class, national, and other socio-economic divides.