Qatar National Library Explores the Art of Arab Cinema Posters in New Digital Exhibition
Posted on 2020 Nov,17

Qatar National Library will launch a new digital exhibition exploring the rich and diverse artwork of cinema posters in the Arab world.

Arab Cinema Posters: Art and Memory is a special digital exhibition of the distinctive artwork used to attract moviegoers across the Middle East and North Africa, featuring items from the Heritage Library's Arab Cinema Archive collection. The exhibition will begin on Sunday 25 November and will continue for six months.

The exhibition explores the art of film posters (affiches), which were a major advertising tool for movies, featuring a paper sheet with the title of the film and the names and images of its stars. These posters were displayed inside movie theaters or in outdoor public areas, giving an insight into the film’s story.

The exhibition also provides an overview of the emergence of movie artwork in the Arab world. It reveals that the movie poster industry in the region was initially transferred from the hands of a group of Greek artists in Egypt to several Egyptian pioneers, including Ragheb, Jasoor, Ahmed Fouad and others, who mastered the trade and established an important chain of affiches workshops in the Arab region.

Maryam Al-Muttawa, the Library’s Head of Collection Access, Distinctive Collections, said: “This exciting new exhibition highlights the work of Arab poster artists who reflected the spirit and characteristics of each era through attractive pieces of art, using a blend of brilliant colors, broad-font Arabic calligraphy and graphics, all of which combined to greatly contribute to the success of these films across the Arab world. It is the first digital exhibition that we have produced, and we are proud of what we have accomplished by our team, particularly during these unprecedented times.

“We hope that film enthusiasts, as well as lovers of art and history, will enjoy our exhibition and gain a new understanding of the importance of the movement to the region.”

Walid Abdulwahed, the exhibition’s curator, said: “This exhibition delves into our archive to explore Arab movie posters to offer unique insights to cinephiles. The posters in this exhibition address different themes and common issues among Arab countries, such as modernity, originality, social change and other matters related to humanitarian and national interests. They show the beginnings of filmmaking in the region and provide an account of the history of cinema and its development in the Arab world, as well as an overview of the beginnings of cinema in the Gulf. We hope that many existing lovers of film and budding cinematographers will visit our digital exhibition and learn more about the fascinating world of Arab film.”