RedZone Festival 2021: Inner spaces

Beirut – February, 25 2021

Culture Resource, in partnership with KKV (Norway), is pleased to present “inner spaces”, the 20/21 online edition of RedZone Festival.

This edition invites you to explore the inner spaces that shaped us during the past year through the eyes of selected artists from the Arab region, whose perspectives oscillate between introspection and claustrophobia. In processing the collective experience of being disconnected, the artists share calm and anxiety, creativity and emptiness, melancholy and anger.

32 artists and 26 projects are featured in this edition; in its main program it zooms-in on the practices of visual artists, frames a close-up of cinema projects, takes a peek at the tension between public and intimate spaces in the performing arts, and tunes into the encounter between ancient musical instruments and contemporary interpretation. It also features a panel discussion between an array of artists and art facilitators from the Arab region.

The projects will be available on the Festival’s website from 4 to 7 March, where you can also discover the Special Mention section as well as the Confinement section where this edition’s director and curator Rasha Salah has invited artists to share their projects inspired by and produced during the confinement.

You can also visit the Facebook event page for more information. 


Rasha Salah – Director & Curator of RedZone Festival 20/21 said: “The lockdown measures implemented since early 2020 have had a huge impact on our lives. They have forced us to revisit our priorities, rethink our routines, reconnect with our inner selves and reflect, as individuals cut off from one another, on our hopes and fears, anchors and priorities, setbacks and weaknesses. As our social structures are a pillar of the collective response to various existential challenges in the region, the individual, solitary experiences in dealing with one’s external and internal worlds have greatly influenced the collective psyche”.  She added: ” this edition pays tribute to all artists who helped make our all lives better during lockdown by giving us inspiration, food for thought, calm and reflection”.

Helena Nassif – Culture Resource’s Managing Director said: “The concept of the RedZone Festival is to encourage works of art that do not shy away from difficult taboo issues. Dwelling in our inner spaces allowed us to survive during last year’s continuous mourning of loved ones. This year, the central theme takes us where the pandemic has thrust us: into the self — to share vulnerabilities, the need to connect, mental health and fear of stigma. “inner spaces” is an opportunity to reflect on how to be alone and how to be together again, and how to speak up about what really hurts, individually and collectively. We look forward to the exceptionality of this year’s festival, since we believe that in these exceptional circumstances we might be co-creating the possibility for a more honest, interconnected and just reality.”

Erik Hillestad – Founder & Director of KKV  said: “The RedZone Festival has through 8 years been an important forum for widening the space for freedom of expression through the arts, and Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV) is thankful to our great partner Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) for the way their team and affiliated artists have filled this idea with content of great quality. This year the space for freedom of expression has got a new meaning, because the pandemic has made the space around each and one of us so much smaller. The way festival director and curator Rasha Salah and the others in the Culture Resource team have resisted the pandemic’s paralyzing effect by challenging the artists to use the internet in daring and innovative ways is impressive, and KKV looks forward to the experience which we will share with broad audiences around the world. We take the opportunity to also express our gratitude to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has supported the festival through all the years since the start in 2013.”

Main program artists:

Bassem Yousri (Egypt), Elsadig Abdelgayoum & Abuzar Adam (Sudan), Faris Ishaq (Jordan/Palestine), Nicolas Khoury (Lebanon), Petra Serhal (Lebanon), Taoufiq Izeddiou (Morocco) and Zeina Salameh (Syria).

Special Mention artists:

Bouthaina Abdelaziz Ghribi (Tunisia), Chrystele Khodr (Lebanon), Gardenia Choir (Syria), Jihen Ben Chikha (Tunisia), Remi Sermini (Syria), Sofia Al Khyari (Algeria), Yasmine EL Meleegy (Egypt) and Sandy Chamoun (Lebanon).

Confinement artists: 

Abdellah M. Hassak (Morocco), Ali J. Dalloul (Lebanon), Dana Dajani & Rami Kanso (Jordan), Hayat Hassan (Bahrain), Intissar Belaid (Tunisia), Mohammed Omran (Egypt), Salma Murad (KSA), Samer Bou Saleh (Lebanon), Samer Saidi & Myriam Geagea (Lebanon) Zahraa Ghandour & Tarek Turkey (Iraq).

Panel DISCUSSION”: “Locked down to create” – Live on Radio Alhara in Bethlehem, on Sunday 07.03 – 16.00 Beirut time

Artists and promoters from Palestine, Tunisia, Iraq and Egypt are the guests of this panel discussion to talk about the effects of the lockdown on their projects, inspirations, and work.

What have they done while being cut-off from the world? How has this sparked or hindered their creativity? What takeaways could they share as lessons from this global yet very personal phenomenon?

Rasha Salah, curator and director of RedZone edition inner spaces will be moderating the discussion with the following guests:

Manel Souissi – president of the Tunisian federation of film societies 

Khyam Allami – Musician, composer and founder of Nawa recordings and recently of Apotome.

Laila Soliman – Independent writer and theater director based in Cairo. 

Yousef Anastas – co-founder of Radio Alhara, Local Industries, AAU ANASTAS and the Wonder Cabinet

Yazan Khalili – artist and architect, co-founder of Radio Alhara, and co-chair of Photo discipline at Bard College MFA program.

About the Festival

RedZone Festival, launched in 2013, embodies our belief in the power of art as a means of expression and resistance and a tool to confront imposed realities. This annual and multidisciplinary festival, organized by Culture Resource in partnership with KKV, advocates a critical approach to contemporary issues and features artistic works that focus on themes related to freedom of expression in arts and culture. Previous editions of RedZone were held in Cairo, Beirut, Tunis, Tangier and Oslo.

Culture Resource

Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) is a regional, non-profit organization founded in 2003 that seeks to support artistic creativity in the Arab region and to encourage cultural exchange within the region and beyond. It aims to support artists, cultural actors and cultural institutions through grants, capacity building, publications and networking, to promote independent creative works outside the commercial mainstream on a regional and international level, and to improve the environment for cultural work through policy research and action.

The work of the organization is predicated on the belief in the critical role of culture in the development of civil society, the importance of access to culture for all, and in the rights of artists to freedom of expression.

Culture Resource has been able to support the work of over one thousand artists and cultural actors and to reach thousands of audience members and communities through its activities and services, and continues to serve as a positive model of a credible and transparent independent organization.


KKV (Kirkelig Kulturverksted) is a nonprofit company based in Oslo, Norway. It was founded in 1974 by a collective of alternative musicians and artists under the leadership of the record producer Erik Hillestad and it aims to encourage artists in widening the space for freedom of artistic expression in a time where we see increasing limitations for this freedom in many parts of the world. KKV produces records, concerts, exhibitions and events within various forms of performing arts. Since 2002 when KKV launched the CD-project “Lullabies from the Axis of Evil”, the company has devoted itself to supporting and collaborating with artists from the Middle East and it started since 2014 a close cooperation with Al-Mawred in organizing the RedZone Festival.