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The conversation will reflect on the decade-long history of the initiative, Kayfa ta’s engagement with the history of independent publishing in the Arab world, and the place of creative nonfiction within literary production in the region. Using their recent exhibition, How to Reappear: Through the Quivering Leaves of Independent Publishing, as an example, Kayfa ta will discuss independent publishing as both artistic and curatorial practice.
Kayfa ta is a publishing initiative that uses the popular form of how-to manuals (how=kayfa, to=ta) to respond to some of today’s perceived needs; be they the development of skills, tools, thoughts, or sensibilities. These books situate themselves in the space between the technical and the reflective, the everyday and the speculative, the instructional and the intuitive, the factual and the fictional. Kayfa ta was founded in 2012 by Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis.
Maha Maamoun is an artist, curator and independent publisher. Her work examines the form, function and currency of common visual and literary images as an entry point to investigating the cultural fabric that we weave and are woven into. In addition to her practice as an artist, Maamoun works collaboratively on independent publishing and curatorial projects. She is a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), co-founder (with Ala Younis) of the independent publishing initiative Kayfa ta, and a member of the curatorial team of Forum Expanded (Berlinale).
Ala Younis is an artist, curator and publisher. She is co-Head of Berlinale’s Forum Expanded, co-artistic director of Singapore Biennale 2022, and research scholar at al Mawrid Arab Center for the Study of Art at NYU Abu Dhabi. She is also a member of the Academy of the Arts of the World (Cologne), and co-founder of the independent publishing initiative Kayfa ta. Younis curated the first Kuwaiti Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She often seeks instances where historical and political events collapse into personal ones, and looks into how the archive plays on predilections and its lacunas manipulate the imagination.
Introduced by May Makki, CCS Bard Graduate Student, and Moderated by Dina Ramadan, Assistant Professor of Arabic, Bard College.
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