Masahat: Decolonize the Gaze with Orwa Nyrabia

September 12 2023

Decolonizing the documentary has been a recurring theme at IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film festival, since Orwa Nyrabia became the Artistic Director in 2018. Under his leadership, the festival has been tackling the difficult questions of representation, equity and inclusion.
Time: September 24, 4-6 PM
Place: Vega Scene, Oslo

Who has the power to represent and narrate? How can arts and cultural institutions challenge hegemonic powers, amplify marginalized voices and foster a more equitable and representative cultural landscape?

In this conversation, we ask Orwa to talk about his experience and vision leading IDFA. Afterwards, he will be joined by Anne Szefer-Karlsen to continue the discussion on the critical role major festivals and established cultural institutions can play in reshaping the cultural narrative, acknowledging historical injustices, and embracing diversity and inclusion.

You can listen to the audio of the meeting

This event in collaboration with Masahat for Arab Culture in Exile مساحات , HUMAN International Documentary Film Festival, MIRAGE, The Oslo Documentary Cinema and Fritt Ord.

This conversation is part of Masahat Screens, where we spend the last day of Masahat festival at VEGA Scene. Link to Masahat Screens event.

Decolonize the gaze 2

Orway Nyrabia
Orwa Nyrabia is the Artistic Director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the world’s leading documentary film and new media dedicated festival.
Before IDFA, Orwa co-founded Syria’s first independent film festival, DOX BOX, together with Diana El Jeiroudi, and was a producer with credits that include Republic of Sielnce (Diana El Jeiroudi, Venice 2021), Notturno (Gianfranco Rosi, Venice 2020), Silvered Water (Ossama Mohammad and W. Bedirxan, Cannes 2014), Return to Homs (Talal Derki, IDFA 2013) and Dolls, A Woman from Damascus (Diana El Jeiroudi, IDFA 2007) a.o.

His work was recognized by awards such as the George Polk Award, the HRW Courage in Filmmaking Award, and the Katrin Cartlidge Award, a.o.

An actor by training (Gate of the Sun, Yousri Nassrallah, Cannes 2004), he started his film career as assistant of Ossama Mohammad (Sacrifices, Cannes 2002) and worked as a journalist at the same time until he co-founded his first company in Damascus 2002, then followed up as he moved to Cairo and then to Berlin where he co-founded No Nation Films in 2014.

Anne Szefer-Karlsen
Anne Szefer Karlsen is a curator, writer, editor and educator who has conceived of several exhibitions, publications, seminars and lecture series. They have a strong interest in artistic and curatorial collaborations as well as developing the language that surrounds art productions of today, linguistically, spatially and structurally. Curatorial and editorial projects by Szefer Karlsen will generally host an international roster of artists and other contributors. They have taken on a number of positions of trust within the Norwegian and Nordic art context and is increasingly invited to speak on contemporary art at home as well as internationally, and to teach and lecture in formal and informal education. They is Professor Curatorial Practice and currently programme director for MA Curatorial Practice at the Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen (former Bergen Academy of Art and Design) (2015–2021), and was Senior Adviser for Bergen Assembly (2018–2020) and Director of Hordaland Art Centre in Bergen, Norway (2008–2014).



 Fake images. On the left, a fake illustration of Pope Francis. On the right, a fake of presumptive US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photos from NTB/Phil Holm and

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