Arab Image Foundation

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Arab Image Foundation
Fondation arabe pour l'image
المؤسسة العربية للصورة
Established 1997
Location Beirut, Lebanon
Type Photography
Collection size 600,000
Director Rima Mokaiesh
Website Official website

The Arab Image Foundation (French: Fondation arabe pour l'image; Arabic: المؤسسة العربية للصورة‎‎/ ALA-LC: al-Muʾassasah al-ʿArabiyyah lil-Ṣūrah) is a non-profit organization established in Beirut in 1997. It aims to track down, collect, preserve and study photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora.[1] Its expanding collection includes more than 600,000 from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina, and Senegal.[2]


Arab Image Foundation was created in 1997 by photographers Fouad Elkoury and Samer Mohdad, and artist Akram Zaatari as a reaction to the lack of photographic archives in the region and the rapid disappearance of the few that remained.[3] The collections reveal a large aspect of the social history of the Arab World, including the picture that Arabs have constructed of themselves since the creation of photography.[4]

The Foundation has become internationally and regionally recognized as the leading photographic institution in the Middle East. In addition to housing and conserving hundreds of thousands of photographs, the Foundation has spearheaded conservations and preservation projects in the Middle East, co-sponsoring workshops to disseminate the knowledge and skills needed to identify, restore, and conserve the Arab world's large photographic archive.[5]

In addition to on site facilities including a public space, a library, a research center and a laboratory, the AIF has organized multiple gallery and museum exhibits, and produced book publications, monographs, films, and collectible merchandise, such as postcards and postersook publications and films.[6] The foundation also runs a prestigious residency program for artists and scholars.[7]



  • How beautiful is Panama! A photographic conversation from Burj al-Shamali camp, Initiated by Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh and Simon Lourié (2008)
  • Hashem el Madani: Itinerary, An ongoing project by Akram Zaatari (2007)
  • Hashem el Madani: Promenades, An ongoing project by Akram Zaatari (2006)
  • Hashem el Madani: Practices, An ongoing project by Akram Zaatari (2004)
  • Arts et couleurs .Curated by Lara Baladi (2004)
  • Mapping Sitting. On Portraiture and Photography. A project by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari (2002)
  • Pratiques photographiques au Liban (1900–1960) Curated by Akram Zaatari (2001)
  • Van Leo, Curated by Akram Zaatari (2000)
  • Palestine before '48, Curated by Akram Zaatari (1999)
  • The Vehicle. Picturing moments of transition in a modernizing society, Curated by Akram Zaatari (1999)
  • Albums Marocains 1900-1960, Curated by Yto Barrada (1999)
  • Portrait du Caire: Alban, Armand and Van Leo, Curated by Akram Zaatari (1999)
  • Liban Intime 1900-1960, Curated by Samer Mohdad and Fouad el Khoury (1998)
  • Les Martyrs de Qana, Project by Doha Shams, curated by Samer Mohdad (1997)


  • Hashem el Madani: Promenades (Arab Image Foundation and Mind the Gap, 2007)
  • Hashem el Madani: Studio Practices,Edited by Karl Bassil, Lisa Le Feuvre and Akram Zaatari, (Arab Image Foundation, Mind the Gap and the Photographers' Gallery, 2004)
  • Review of Photographic Memory, Edited by Jalal Toufic

(Arab Image Foundation, 2004)

  • Mapping Sitting, Edited by Karl Bassil, Zeina Maasri and Akram Zaatari in collaboration with Walid Raad (Arab Image Foundation and Mind the Gap, 2002)
  • The Vehicle. Picturing moments of transition in a modernizing society, Edited by Akram Zaatari (Arab Image Foundation and Mind the Gap, 1999)
  • Portraits du Caire (Actes Sud, 1999)
  • Histoires Intimes Liban 1900-1960 (Actes Sud, 1997)


  • Her+Him Van Leo (Akram Zaatari, 2001)
  • Jours tranquilles en Palestine (Fouad el Khoury and Sylvain Roumette, 1998)


  • History of the Last Things Before the Last: Art as Writing History (a symposium proposed by Clément Cheroux and Akram Zaatari, organized by the Centre Pompidou and the Arab Image Foundation, 2012)[8]


  1. ^ "Arab Image Foundation". Monocle. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Arab Image Foundation - biennale 3". Thessaloniki Biennale. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Shape, Emily (2011). "Preserving the photographic heritage of the Middle East". The Art Newspaper (222). Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Parr, Martin; Badger, Gerry (2006). The Photobook: A History - Volume 2. London and New York: Phaidon. p. 129. ISBN 0-7148-4433-0. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Arab Image Foundation". Anna Lindh Foundation. 2010. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Arab Image Foundation Residency Program 2011". Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), Germany, Elke aus dem Moore, in cooperation with Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art. 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "ashkal alwan: news and media". ashkal alwan. October 5, 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012. [permanent dead link]

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