Midan is the academic blog of Manazir platform that is dedicated to the visual arts, architecture and heritage in the MENA region. It is curated by the editors of Manazir Journal and was conceived as a space of exchange and expression. This is mirrored in the word "Midan," which signifies "the public square" or the "open space" in Arabic, Persian and Turkish.

We invite submissions of exhibition, book and conference reviews and particularly encourage reviews that focus on events or publications produced in the MENA region itself. Moreover, in connection to Manazir's endeavor to shed light on art histories in the Middle East and North Africa, we accept submissions of "testimonials" from family members and friends as well about well-known artists, architects, archaeologists, collectors and curators as about others that have been overlooked by historians and art critics alike, but have played an important role in their field in the MENA region.

Latest posts


makou_cover_midan.jpgReview  Makou : une revue électrique d'art irakien contre l'isolement / مجلة (ماكو): وسيلة افتراضية ضد عزلة الفنانين

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many cultural institutions, such as galleries and museums, had to cancel and/or postpone their activities. Therefore, the artists and the institutions are disconnected from their audience. To keep in touch with his fellow Iraqi artists, the London-based Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi founded the online magazine Makou (There isn’t) in May 2020. By providing a platform specialized in contemporary Iraqi art, Makou describes itself as a “free zone of creativity”. The first issue of the magazine focuses on the pandemic and its consequences on art production.


wwiED.jpgReview — Brands, Commodity Aesthetics, and Material Culture in Syria — Interview with Alina Kokoschka about her book Waren Welt Islam (Berlin: Kadmos, 2019), via Zoom on 18 September 2020

What is an “Islamic” thing? In Waren Welt Islam (Commodity World Islam) Alina Kokoschka examines the life world of “Islamic” things, consumer culture, and the aesthetics of commodities in the context of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. Laura Hindelang talks with Alina Kokoschka about the book, brands and brand fakes, and open science.


ImagesAbsentes_291119_petite.jpgReview — « Images absentes, images détruites : une approche comparatiste ? », University of Geneva, 29 November 2019

Read the report of the symposium “Images absentes, images détruites: une approche comparatiste?” to discover, through an original journey among different cultures and epochs, the rather transnational and trans historical character of iconoclasm and aniconism, as well as the most common reasons underlying them.



Art and Corona in Tehran_The Joy Factory.jpg

Review  Art and Corona in Tehran — Interview with Hormoz Hematian, Dastan’s Basement, 26 April 2020 at Dastan+2 in Tehran

Firouzeh Saghafi conducted an interview with the director of Datsan’s Basement, Hormoz Hematian, to get his view on the art situation in Iran in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.




FIG.1_petite.jpgReview — Le Maghreb se réapproprie le Bauhaus, "Bauhaus Imaginista", Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, 20 September 2019 – 12 January 2020

To celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus, the Zentrum Paul Klee presented the show "bauhaus imaginista" which addresses the cosmopolitan history of a modernity resulting from cultural exchanges and transfers. This review focuses on the Maghreb section of the exhibition "Decolonize Culture: Casablanca Fine Arts 1962-1970".


Menhat_Helmy_1979_petite.jpgTestimonial Engraved on the Heart: Remembering Menhat Helmy, Egypt’s forgotten pioneer

Menhat Helmy (1925–2004) was a pioneering figure in the world of Egyptian graphics and printmaking. Her work, which ranged from oil on canvas to colourful abstract etchings and woodcuts, made her a key figure in her field and led to a long list of awards and international achievements. Following her retirement and eventual death in 2004, Helmy joined the ranks of countless female artists lost to history – a forgotten gem in a landscape dominated by male artists.


Illustration 1_petite.jpgReview Mue par extension. Tarek Lakhrissi, "Serpent Dream", Zabriskie Point, Geneva, 21 June - 21 August 2019

Review of the exhibition "Serpent Dream" by French artist Tarek Lakhrissi which took place at Zabriskie Point, a Geneva art centre in the public space. "Serpent Dream" is the second solo exhibition of Lakhrissi who decided to focus on interaction with the public through a multimedia installation.