Nahnou-Together Now presents a unique and contemporary variety of voices that challenge the familiar presentation of ‘the Middle East’ in the media. Using prints, photography, film and timelines to reveal individual and artistic encounters between the UK, Syria and Jordan, this display is the result of a two-year exchange programme involving artists, curators, teachers and young people from the UK, Syria and Jordan.
Translated from Arabic as ‘We-Together’, Nahnou-Together aims to develop mutual understanding and exchange between these three countries that is both personal and cultural. Led by British artists Faisal Abdu’Allah and Maria Zeb Benjamin, filmmaker Trevor Mathison and Tate curators, Nahnou-Together was developed by Tate Britain with the British Council in collaboration with arts organisations in Syria and Jordan. Over the last two years sixty young people aged from 13 to 21, from a range of different cultural, social, school and economic backgrounds, have participated in the programme, the majority travelling to the countries involved, and taking part in workshops with artists and young people there.
Inside Nahnou-Together Now you will see a wide range of material created by young people as part of the programme, including individual prints incorporated in ‘wallpaper’ designed by Faisal Abdu’Allah, quotes and observations made following the exchange visit to Syria and Jordan, and a poem about Damascus written as part of a workshop run by Syrian and UK artists. Two films will reveal the practical investigations and workshops shared between adult and teenage participants whilst on visits to each country and a series of interviews with artists and curators from Syria and Jordan.
In addition, a ‘mind-time-map’ gives context about fine art in Syria and Jordan helps situate the Nahnou-Together partner institutions and participants. Definitive histories of Syrian and Jordanian art have not yet been written, at least not in English, and the map suggests connections in the development of fine art and education infrastructures in these countries as a basis for further study and pleasure.
Nahnou-Together is a programme developed by Tate Britain with the British Council in partnership with the Adham Ismail Centre, Syria, Darat al-Funun, the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts and The Ministry of Education, Jordan. The lead artist in Syria is Reem Al-Khatib, the Director of the Adham Ismail Centre; the lead artist in Jordan is Samah Hijawi.