Public Programs And Events

Abounaddara: The Right to the Image Exhibition

Abounaddara: The Right to the Image Exhibition

Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
General Public 

Image production is dependent on a fragile balance of celebrating freedom of expression and freedom of information while protecting the right to the image for everyone involved. The media's methods for disseminating reoccurring images depicting bodies brutalized by war often work in direct opposition to this central goal. This exhibition and the accompanying conference celebrate the work of Syrian filmmaker collective Abounaddara, and its crucial contribution to transforming the dominant international media discourse on warfare, violence and migration.

Since the onset of the Syrian revolution, the anonymous collective Abounaddara has engaged in this international debate using filmmaking tactics, releasing one short "bullet film" into the global discourse via social media every single Friday. Abounaddara's films actively work to restore a dignified image and voice to the Syrian people and aim to build new platforms for civil society to meet, regardless of national borders. Key to their artistic project is the specific political demand for an expansion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – to amend it with the right to a dignified image. 

The exhibition consists of three carefully calibrated film installations with large projections, changing each week, which together feature sixty films by Abounaddara. Each installation culls a particular selection from Abounaddara’s substantial body of three hundred works, highlighting the collective’s deliberate choice of a range of cinematographic languages for specific topics or concerns.

Stop the Spectacle! | Oct. 22 – Oct. 28: On Remixing Found Footage, Still Images and Sound in Times of Complex Realities.

Look at Our Faces: Portraits of a Becoming Revolution | Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: On Portraiture and How People's Own Voices and Images Complicate Fragmented Understandings of Syria.

See and Wait | Nov. 5 – Nov. 11: On the Suspension of Narratives to Create Spaces for Engagement and Interpretation.

Collectively, these films promote the image rights for all, proposing that their strategies be adapted by image makers worldwide and turning the gallery into an evolving forum for debate. The exhibition is complemented by a wall of broadsides, with information about Abounaddara; the campaign for the Right to the Image; the Syrian conflict; American news coverage of it; as well as numerous related New School classes and working groups.Abounaddara.

The Right to the Image is part of The New School's public recognition of Abounddara as the recipients of the second Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics in conjunction with a conference, a film series, integration into classes across the university, and an upcoming publication. 

The exhibition Abounaddara. The Right to the Image is curated by Carin Kuoni (Vera List Center), Anne Marquez (independent curator) and Dork Zabunyan (Université de Paris 8, France), in collaboration with Abounaddara. The exhibition is made possible with the support of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at The New School. The exhibition is generously supported by the Founding Supporters of the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. Abounaddara's New York participation in the exhibition and the related conference is also supported by CEC ArtsLink.


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