World Picks from the Editors: Nov 07 – Nov 24

10 November, 2023
TMR World Picks are selected by our editors. Send your suggestions to


A River Flows Downstream at the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC

Ongoing online more info

photo by Solmaz Daryani
Solmaz Daryany, 27.5×18.1″ 2017. In recent years, Urmia’s turquoise waters were tinted blood red from algae and bacteria that now flourish in these waters (courtesy of MEI and the artist).

Don’t miss MEI’s current photography show, exploring the theme of water and rivers in the Middle East and the impact of floods and droughts on communities, landscapes, and ecosystems, from Tunisia to Iran. Curated by Roi Saade.

Visit the MEI Gallery (1763 N Street NW, Washington, DC) Monday-Friday from 10am – 5pm. Walk-ins are welcome or make a timed appointment. The exhibit is also available to view online.

A Nearby Country Called Love, the fifth novel from Salar Abdoh released

Tehran-born writer, translator, professor and editor Salar Abdoh celebrates the publication of his fifth novel this month with A Nearby Country Called Love and is on tour. “Vibrant and evocative, intimate and intelligent, A Nearby Country Called Love is both a captivating window into contemporary Iran and a portrait of the parallel fates of a man and his country—a man who acknowledges the sullen and rumbling baggage of history but then chooses to step past its violent inheritance.” Salar Abdoh is a TMR contributing editor, and divides his time between Tehran, New York and many farflung countries.

Cartier, Islamic Inspiration and Modern Design at Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE

Nov. 16 — Mar. 24, 2024 more info

Featuring over 400 works including jewellery and precious objects, masterpieces of Islamic art, drawings, textiles and photographs, the exhibition showcases the influences of the Islamic arts on Cartier’s designs, from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. The scenography of the exhibition and the immersive digital space is designed by the New York-based design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

This exhibition is based on a project that was initially conceived and co-organised by the Dallas Museum of Art and the musée des Arts décoratifs titled Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity.

London Palestine Film Festival at the Barbican, London

Nov. 17 — Nov. 23 more info

Watch a selection of recently released titles alongside favourites from the archives, focusing on issues related to Palestine. This year’s programme brings together a strong selection of films, looking at serious issues through the creative lens of cinema. The festival opens with the intimate documentary feature Tomorrow’s Freedom, building a powerful picture of political prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

The spotlight is on the filmmaking twins, Arab and Tarzan Nasser as we follow them to the heart of their twinship in director Guillaume Kozakiewiez’s doc, Waiting for Gaza, five years after their Cannes nomination for Dégradé, and after 2020’s Gaza, Mon Amour.

Lubaina Himid and Magda Stawarska: Plaited Time / Deep Water at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE

Ongoing — Jan. 2024 more info


Developed over several years, Himid’s first exhibition in the MENA region has been conceived together with Magda Stawarska, who is internationally renowned for her practice of ‘inner listening’—a collaborative process of listening to cities. The results of their intimate encounters unfold across multiple media, such as in the four new commissions presented within the exhibition.

Plaited Time / Deep Water is imagined in dialogue with Sharjah’s architecture, its soundscapes and the feelings evoked by its proximity to the sea. At the heart of the show is a newly imagined presentation of ‘Zanzibar’ (1999–2023), a series of paintings by Himid situated within a distinct architecture and sonic installation created by Stawarska.

In Zanzibar, life-long journeys of return are reconfigured in a sensorial encounter for visitors, who are invited to listen and linger—to experience memory unfolding. Elsewhere, boats in myriad forms and detail, each encapsulating an individual dream, and other found objects are made animate as sculptural paintings, leading viewers to a personal topography of the sea.

Across the galleries, daily ritual is explored alongside the artists’ continued engagement with language and its potential embodiment. In Plaited Time / Deep Water, the personal archive finds its rejoinder in Sharjah’s changing light through lyric, voice and song.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Palestinian Voices at the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI)

Throughout November more info


Still from the "Gaza Surf Club" from directors Philip Gnadt, Mickey Yamine, 2017, screening in AFMI's Palestinian Voices series, Nov. 2023. Amer Aldos (17) and Asam Abu Assi (33) enter the sea from Gaza City, as a horse stands in the water near the shore.
Still from the “Gaza Surf Club” from directors Philip Gnadt, Mickey Yamine, 2017, screening in AFMI’s Palestinian Voices series, Nov. 2023. Amer Aldos (17) and Asam Abu Assi (33) enter the sea from Gaza City, as a horse stands in the water near the shore.

In this dire time, the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI) seek to continually change the narrative, share Palestinian stories, and foster understanding of common humanity through art and storytelling. In that spirit, they will share a selection of films that showcase the history, culture and people of Palestine.

The hope is that this free program can be a resource to provide insight into the current situation unfolding in Gaza and the people being affected.

Palestinian Voices will run through the entire month of November. You can watch most of the films in this series online and from anywhere in the world. A few titles are limited to viewers in the United States and some films will also screen in person in select cities.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *