Art as Defiance in the Middle East
Bassem Deaibess, Lebanese musician; Socio-Political Commentator; Founder, Blaakyum band
Bashar Farhat, Syrian Medical Doctor; Poet; Writer
Larissa Sansour, Palestinian Visual Artist
Chair: Dr Lina Khatib, Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
The cultural and artistic domain is an active forum for political engagement in the Middle East. Many artists in the region are commenting on socio-political issues and making their voices heard through poetry, music and the visual arts. In doing so, they often encounter political oppression, social intolerance and economic hardship, as well as difficulties accessing an international audience for their work.
This panel discussion presents artists from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon who will talk about their experience working and performing in the Middle East and the role that art and culture play as a form of protest in the Arab world. How much of an impact does conflict have on the lives and artistic output of artists? Can art bring about positive political and social change?