The Arab Image Foundation is an independent association forging new pathways for photography and image practices. Uniquely positioned at the intersection of artistic creation, research, and archiving, we explore, question and confront the complex social and political realities of our times.
Our collection of over 500,000 photographic objects and documents from and related
to the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora has been gradually assembled over the
last 20 years by artists and researchers and through donations. With a critical and innovative
approach, we collect, rethink, preserve, activate and understand these photographs through their
multiple strata, and enrich the collection in the process.
The AIF looks to engage a broad regional and international community in experimental
thought and practice that extends the photographic concept. We offer an inspiring and
welcoming environment open to everyone: through our digital platform, our space in Beirut,
and our projects and partnerships. Artists, researchers, students, cultural practitioners
and the general public are warmly encouraged to learn, discover, create, and exchange ideas.
The Arab Image Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered in Beirut under the number 3275/2, in 1997.
Our COLLECTING practice involves:
1. Accessioning new physical and digital items and collections that expand the AIF collection's overall scope and depth.
2. Developing appropriate procedures and solutions to identify, inventory, clean, re-house, catalogue, store and preserve photographic material with an intention to expand upon current preservation practices.
3. Using alternative resources, methodologies and tools to document collections and items and conduct further research.
4. Generating digital surrogates for preservation, access, reference, and reproduction while ensuring their long-term digital future.
5. Maintaining safe, suitable preservation conditions and engaging in local and regional rescue missions of at-risk data.
6. Contributing to dialogue and taking action on ethical questions around authorship, ownership and image rights.
7. Utilizing and promoting sustainable and conscious methods in preservation.
Our COMMUNITY practice involves:
1. Providing an open resource platform, giving access, activating and disseminating the AIF collection.
2. Studying the AIF collection in a participatory way, involving diverse contributors and approaches.
3. Educating and offering training in photographic, preservation and archival practices.
4. Opening channels for research, initiating critical debate, fostering new ideas, and encouraging creative and collaborative work processes.
5. Engaging with transdisciplinarity, experimental and digital practices and cultivating ideas on the future of archives.
6. Sharing knowledge and expertise on physical and digital photographic collections through assessment, surveys, and consultancy missions.
7. Supporting artistic, scholarly and citizen actions related to the AIF collection and the preservation and dissemination of photography and visual heritage.
WHO WE ARE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Managing Director: Marc Mouarkech
Co-director and Head of Collections: Clémence Cottard Hachem
Communication Coordinator: Rawad Bou Malhab
Digital Collection Manager: Charbel Saad
Senior Archivist: Rachel Tabet
Junior Archivist: Charbel Al Khoury
Digitization Officer and Documentalist: Mahmoud Merjan
Digitization Officer: Christopher Baaklini
Zeina Arida - Director of the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum
Vartan Avakian - Artist based in Beirut
George Awde - Artist based between Beirut and Doha
Negar Azimi- Senior editor of Bidoun magazine
Lara Baladi - Artist based in Cairo
Karl Bassil - Founder and creative director of the design and communication agency Mind the gap
Nigol Bezjian - Filmmaker based in Beirut and founder of the media company THINK
Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh - Photographer and artist
Kristine Khouri - Research in based in Beirut
Khaled Malas - Architect based in New York
Issam Nassar - Associate professor of history at Illinois State University
Hrair Sarkissian - Artist based in London
Akram Zaatari - Artist based in Beirut
Jean-Pierre Zahar - Architect and collector based in Lebanon
Hala Frangié - Kobeissi and Frangié Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Giselle Abdo - GA Auditor
HISTORIES OF THE FOUNDATION
We are currently working on generating a multi-layered history of the AIF by providing space for different perspectives on the history of the foundation.
Previous mission statement (2009):
The Arab Image Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Beirut in 1997. Its mission is to collect, preserve and study photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora.
The AIF's expanding collection is generated through artist and scholar-led projects. The Foundation makes its collection accessible to the public through a wide spectrum of activities, including exhibitions, publications, videos, a website and an online image database.
The ongoing research and acquisition of photographs include so far Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina and Senegal. To date, the collection holds more than 600,000 photographs.
Job openings will be announced here.
We also welcome volunteers interested in supporting the AIF's work.
Find out more about opportunities for interns and volunteers.