Side Events


15 November 2020 - 20 December 2020

Performing arts are back at Medrar with the 2nd edition of “With doors closed artists go viral”! 

This edition features a rich program of 16 online live performances by emerging and defining voices of the Arab scene selected through the open call process, as well as a number of performances by guest artists from different Arab countries and Switzerland. 

The program encompasses diverse approaches to performing arts – from dance, digital sound, visuals and spoken word, to multidisciplinary performances involving directly the viewers to become an active part of the creative process. Through a corona-free platform for cross-border artistic exchange, the participating artists give virtual access to new ways of making art, expanding the horizons of how artists and art enthusiasts can connect.  

 Check the program and artists 

  • 15/11 Mounir Saeed – Between black and white 
  • 17/11 Aly Abdullah –  Time has what it thinks
  • 19/11 Lara Dâmaso Rodrigues –  A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All
  • 22/11 Leila Awadallah & Salar Ansari – What hands say when the body is gone
  • 26/11 Ola Saad & Asmaa Azouz – ECHOSELF 
  • 29/11 Abdelrahman Hussein – Scrolling Down Through Numerical Accumulative Fragments
  • 1/12 Rana Hamadeh & Alaa Abu Asad – A Stroll in Essenburgpark
  • 3/12 Axelle Stiefel with Elisa Storelli & Philip Klein- Codex Operator (vorstellen.network
  • 8/12 Youness Atbane – I LIKE THIS TITLE
  • 10/12 Fatma Elzahraa with Salvatore Cataldo and Yunis – Display 
  • 11/12 Moamen Mohamed & Mahmoud Mahmoud Siam – Folkture
  • 13/12 Soukaina Joual  – The Moroccan Sheikha Soukaina 
  • 15/12 Malak Yacout – A Crack As A Sign … of Guilty Silence
  • 17/12 Samar Ezzat & Ibrahim Abdo – Waves 
  • 20/12 Salam Yousry with Sedky Sakhr & Shadi El-Husseiny &Youssra El-Hawary – About love 

hat’s left between Black and White

What’s the stage when you think you are between white and black? Is it the thoughts that go back and forth in your mind? is it neutrality? Is it the thoughts that emerge when you think you are always right or being stubborn? When your thoughts come out of your head and face you in reality, what will you say? A solo contemporary dance show explaining the thoughts and anxiety that a person faces in their isolation.

Mounir Saeed is a dance and music artist. Started his career in 2007, he received the Cairo Opera house’s excellence prize in Modern dance festival for his first solo “The game” in 2009. In 2016, “What about Dante” was awarded the 3rd prize at the 20th International Solo Dance Theater Festival in Stuttgart / Germany and later toured in Italy, Germany, USA, Spain, Lebanon and Morocco. Saeed recently finished his fellowship with Akademie Schloss Solitude revolving around the relation between dance and sound and presented his video dance project “When the body talks”. 

Time has what it thinks 

When you own nothing but speaking up, you become like the drowned, you know nothing about the next moment but that it might come, You may look at your arm and think that you have owned the whole of seas, but you are still uncertain about the next moment. The performance tries to speak by the tongue of what’s yet to come and its provisions. As a continuation of his last project “Internal exit”, Aly reprocesses the original text while he also introduces a new text that demolishes the idea of raw expression, that he had searched for before the provisions of time were applied. 

Aly Abdullah is an audio artist and writer. His audio productions vary between ambient, drone and conceptual music with the use of heavy and violent sound design. Since 2015, he has presented several spoken word performances and music shows. His latest project was the sound installation “Internal exit”, as a participating artwork in the group exhibition “We are seldom in two places at once. ” resulting from the 5th edition of “Student’s council” program. 

A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All (2020)

A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All (2020) was initially conceived as a lecture-performance for the 7/11-Performance-Supermarket at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich, Switzerland, taking place in the format of a peepshow. The stage was surrounded by three transparent plastic curtains behind each of which two persons could sit for 15 minutes. The performance was shown three times each one after another.

For With doors closed, artists go viral 2,  A Love Letter to You is a Love Letter to Myself is a Love Letter to All (2020)  will be staged for the format of the screen, between in and outside. 

By making the intimate public, Lara Dâmaso reflects on the understanding of love as something private and personal, thus addressing the necessity to communicate and share individual as well as relational processes and insecurities in order to build a fertile ground in which trustful, respectful human bonds can flourish.

Lara Dâmaso (b. 1996) works and lives in Zurich. After several years of intensive training in ballet and contemporary dance, she studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig in the art and media section and at the Zurich University of the Arts, ZHDK, where she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her artistic practice varies between performances, videos, appearances as a performer for various artists and DJ-sets. Her work has been shown in various institutions and off spaces such as Kunsthalle Zürich, Cabaret Voltaire, Plymouth Rock, Kunsthalle Bern, Centre Pasqu’Art.

What Hands Say When the Body Is Gone

What do hands say when the body is gone’ dwells on the simplicity of witnessing hands dance, to invite in what is seen and felt. Hands that touch, that care, that hurt, that love, that build, that destroy, that weave, that break, that hold and heal, that gather and grasp onto one another, becoming sculptures of their own architecture. An ephemeral sculpture of skin, flesh, bone and joints that becomes, dissolves and rebuilds. Hands that have fingers – alien like? Each one of billions unique in their fingerprints. So much so that they are stolen as a tool of surveillance and identification… passports, visas… pulled from the body, to represent the body, without the body.

Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. Born and based in Dakota & Anishinaabe land of Turtle Island (Minnesota, USA), she splits her time in Beirut, Lebanon. Her work ‘Body Watani’ explores dance making from meditations on ancestral bodily rememberings through durational and repetitive trance inducing improvisations to understand the ephemeral, living archive of the body. 

Born and raised in Tehran, Salar Ansari comes from a rich background of Iranian Culture, where dancing and music are an ancient tradition of passing down the history of people and coping with everyday life. A trained engineer, Salar is exposed to the world of electronic instruments in a traditional form. His commitment to the music and sound culture brought him to Detroit in 2015. He is the music director of Poetic Societies, Studio Manager of Luis Resto’s Studio and a member of his band, the Holy Fools. As an educator, Salar has lectured at The Interlochen Center for the Arts, SAE, Redbull workshops and more. 

Scrolling Down Through Numerical Accumulative Fragments

As the written history goes on as time goes, what will students study in schools in the next century? What parts of our history did our institutionalized education skip in favor of a more linear- comprehensive history book? Why are most of the current pop films produced in the new millennium fast-paced film? Why are we suffering from scrolling down endlessly in social media? What kind of knowledge is produced by seeking tertiary sources? What if our brain functions similarly to hard drives? And finally, what kind of knowledge we construct and identity we have upon this fragmented knowledge?

Acceleration and accumulation are two prominent features in the modern urban digitalized world. It is the core of contemporary evolution.

The live-interactive performance invites the audience to participate to answer a group of questions collectively, the questions revolve around our personal memories in public and private space that constructs our knowledge and identity such as school, home, and streets … etc.

The performer receives the answers of the individual participants to form one inclusive answer to each question. The final answer will collect all stories that have been told in an attempt to discover the process of knowledge fragmentation: how does it occur? When does it occur? And what are its consequences?

Abdelrahman Hussein (b. 1998) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Alexandria, Egypt. He is interested in working with still and moving image on the multi-faced relation between humans and space and discovering ways to harness the image to investigate the surrounding structures in modern everyday-life. His practice aims to discover ways to be political without politicizing, and how institutions influence individuals in societies of control within his experienced world. 

Currently, he is enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting at The Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University. He participated in Mass Alexandria’s Independent Studio & Study Programme 2018-19 in addition to a number of workshops and exhibitions.


Your inner world is full of voices that talk to you, argue with you, at times haunt you, and at others even wrestle with you to get out and reach their purpose. And as usual, they stop at the brink of the lips to return to where they’ve come from, to remain wandering in your mind until they dissolve. These sounds remain hovering inside you, not necessarily bouncing back to the source of their emission like sound waves that take the path of light and reflecting in accordance to the angle of the surface they hit.  

Ola Saad is a sound and visual artist, based in Cairo. Graduated from the Faculty of Art Education in 2009. She has been working with sound art since 2009 when she participated in a sound art workshop with Ahmed Bassiony. She has participated in several concerts and festivals inside and outside of Egypt and was a member of the Egyptian Female Experimental Band. She believes that sound in itself is an interesting material to create and build unknown mysterious worlds. 

Asmaa Azouz is a sound and visual artist. Her sound artworks are classified as experimental contemporary music that conceptually relates to humanity and it’s interaction with environmental elements, and the role of the auditory memory in recalling mental images. She’s used to experimenting with raw sounds and its symbolism to create different kinds of moods based on different conceptual ideas. She currently works as a film music composer, and since 2015 as a professional instructor, and sound and music curriculum designer. 

Codex Operator – vorstellen.network

Axelle Stiefel (Switzerland) 

The idea of Elisa Storelli, Axelle Stiefel and Philipp Klein

Supported by Pro Helvetia

Powered by Artist Network Theory

Axelle Stiefel aka: The Operator presents a performative journey, navigating through the platform vorstellen.network.

vorstellen.network is a digital platform for peer to peer exchange among artists. It is developed to facilitate the connection of art fragments in order to induce qualitative dialogue with poetic value.

Art is a performative act and this tool is made to enlarge its field of action: artists conceive while receiving, responding, combining, sharing knowledge, networking. On the platform, this performance will appear as a collective artists’ research.

Axelle Stiefel (1988, New York, based in Geneva) works as an embedded artist in organizations. Her multimedia practice is inspired by a research axis consisting of a “textile metaphorology”. She is publishing a magazine called Artist Network Theory, which will launched in November 2020.


‘I Like this Title’ reflects on its own working process. It deals with the concept of different disciplines, the codes of the stage space and public perception on different levels. 

How can an action be repeated without really copying it? Adaptation, paraphrasing, digital reconstruction lend legitimacy to the act of copying according to the principle of cause and effect. 

In this performative practice, a debate on ideas, text and movement is evolving, guided and discussed along with three aspects: diversion, processing and phenomenology. The aim is to transport the audience into a space of ambiguity/ probability between realism and fiction, lost in the reference and without linear narrative. 

Youness Atbane was born in 1982, and currently lives and works between Casablanca and Berlin. His artistic practice is based on a critical relationship to the fields of art, its actors and its geopolitics. He began to follow different programs and gained artistic experiences in the fields of performance and visual art in France, Morocco, Belgium and, Spain. In 2008, he took part in the Master Performing Art program “EX E.R.CE08” at the CCN of Montpelier. In 2010, he graduated with a master in Art,  Literature and Museology from the University of Nice. His practice consists of three areas: live performance as a space of reflection, installation making as an outcome of the performance act, and photography and drawing as an archive. All three areas are interconnected and interdependent. The exploratory nature of his work, which brings together performative and narrative practices, and the nature of his work, which shows both discursive and formal qualities.

Youness Atbane has exhibited his installations and performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, the parallel project in the Venice Biennale in 2011, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art Mohammed VI in Rabat, the Ostrale Biennale in Dresden and recently Headland centre for the arts in San Francisco and Massmoca Museum in Massachusetts. British Museum & Museum in Marseille.


Idea, dramatology and direction by Fatma El Zahraa

Performed by Salvatore Cataldo and Fatma El Zahraa

Music by Yunis

“Molding” and “Canning” are two concepts that seem similar. Yet, a little disassembly, focus, research and play are required to find the difference and contrast in meaning. This show focuses on the stereotypes that society puts us in, its expectations from us and its continuous attempts to preserve conformity and curb those who are different. The former takes place through a research/discussion/game/fight between two performers –Salvatore Cataldo and Fatma El Zahraa – in the presence of Yunis’s music. 

Fatma El Zahraa has been a performance artist since her childhood. She has worked in several independent theatre groups such as Hala group, Fantasia Group and others and participated in several physical theatre performances. In addition to working with several directors, such as Nourhan Khaled, Hazem Haedar, Shady Emad, she has directed several performances including “Al Magnoun” and “Soap Chess”. In 2016, Fatma El Zahraa founded “Transit for Art”, a cultural management start-up that provides consulting services to culture and arts professionals in Egypt and the Arab world. 

Salvatore Cataldo has acted on stage in Italy since a very tender age and studied acting from the age of 11. He began his path in Dance at the age of fifteen with Anatolian Folklore, then Classical Ballet, Modern Dance and Contemporary forms. Dance and Theater have brought him through Turkey, Italy, Germany, U.S.A, France and Egypt. He currently teaches Dance Techniques and works as a freelance dancer and Choreographer.

YUNIS (b. 1994 – Kafr El-Dauwar) is an Egyptian Ney/Keyboard/Electronics player, Music Producer, and music researcher interested in traditional Egyptian music. He has composed the soundtracks of some short films and documentaries and released two albums until now; “The Blue Djinn Dance” and “Ya Khal” He is also a co-founder of Kafr El-Dauwar Records.

Special thanks to Amr Khadr for the space, and to Amina Abouelghar, Amr Abdelaziz, Islam El- Arabi, Tamer Abdul-Hamid, Shady Emad.


Moamen Mohamed and Semo Siam (Egypt) 

Heritage, culture, and art, between past and future, Folkuture is the temporal link that works to keep the heritage alive.

This work is an extension of the contemporary revival of the ancient Egyptian heritage. By preserving heritage we preserve identity and humanity. And we see nothing more apt than music to unite humans with one another in a time of crisis. Despite its evolution, music will remain the only language that man himself has created on earth and which all other languages ​​in the world understand, with rhythms and tones that the whole universe follows.

This work is an extension of the revival of ancient Egyptian heritage in a contemporary way with an electronic and visual twist. It was produced during quarantine in Egypt through joint cooperation between a group of artists taking part in a workshop.

An Alexandrian musician and songwriter, Semo Siam plays roots music such as reggae, Gnawa, and Egyptian folklore. Interested also in jazz and electronic music, he tries to integrate these genres with each other. Semo is the founder of the Safsafa band and has played with many other bands, in addition to participating in both local and international workshops. Semo released his first album “Farewell” in 2019.

Visual artist Moamen Mohamed started his artistic career in 2017 as an analogue photographer for raw 16mm and 35mm films, and in 2018 he moved to the field of visual arts. He has participated in many independent visual shows and in more than 20 photography exhibitions. Besides, he has held more than five solo visual projects. He is one of the graduates of the Jesuit Film Schools.

The Moroccan Sheikha Soukaina 

 Soukaina Joual  (Morocco) 

Upon my arrival to Egypt, almost everyone I came across would assume that all Moroccan women are practicing witchcraft, or at least have the knowledge of spell-casting and tarot reading. A while after moving there, I randomly stumbled upon an Egyptian TV channel that was promoting spell casting services by a woman who shares the same nationality and name as mine, Soukaina. The Moroccan Sheikha Soukaina is known for her power of solving all marriage problems, curing the evil eye, bringing the love and unlocking all kinds of buried and bound witchcraft using the Holy Quran. 

Through this work, I’m trying to shed light on the stereotype and national identity, and question the position and exact role of the witch and how she is perceived by society, who their customers/clientele are, and the different kinds of knowledge transmitted, preserved and possibly transformed.

Soukaina Joual is a Moroccan multi-disciplinary artist born in 1990, graduated from the National Institute of Fine Arts in Tetouan, Morocco in 2011. Her various works showcase an interest in how one’s body can translate and reflect various tensions, dynamics and differences. Most of the artist’s projects translate her commitment to various forms of presence, and how she trades various shifts between visibility and invisibility, belonging and absence. 

A Crack As A Sign … of Guilty Silence

Malak Yacout (Egypt)

“A Crack As A Sign … of Guilty Silence” is a performance that juxtaposes eczema against a narrative of retreating into silence. Thus, it examines the nature of the relationship that causes feelings – when we attempt to hide them through repression, retreat and silence (and in spite of it all) – to appear nevertheless on the human body.

Somewhere between fiction and reality, I approach real therapists using a persona: a fictional witness to some unknown injustice, who has missed opportunities to speak out, and whose silence has potentially led to an outbreak of eczema (skin rash). As this unnamed character, the conversations I hold with doctors will thus organically attempt to get at the bottom of the trigger of this outbreak and follow in some depth the possible relationship between silence (i.e. repressing feelings, retreat, holding back), guilt (imagined or not), and eczema.

This series of performances is only the third part of a larger work-in-progress currently being produced, “A Crack is a Sign …”, which explores the notion of skin as a signifier carrying some unattainable indeterminate meaning…


Choreography and performance: Samar Ezzat & Ibrahim Abdo

Music: Mohamed Bonga & Mohammed Sami

A dance piece about how two individuals found themselves immersed in particular emotions as if waves had been hurling at them at convergent, unpredictable times. The two stopped, listened; sometimes they felt nostalgic for past memories, resentment, love, grief, or manifested inspiring visions. Could they be messages from the universe? They initiated an inner journey that they decided to share and found support from one another along the way.

In 2006, Samar Ezzat started exploring contemporary dance trajectories through independent workshops led by instructors and choreographers from different countries, along with Capoeira martial art in 2012. Between 2013 till 2015, she took part in the full-time professional dance program at Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), and since then has continued to receive diverse dance classes and workshops. In 2016 she also started to explore circus skills or aerial dance, especially with fabrics. Over the same years, she has been a contemporary dance instructor at CCDC.

Over the past years, Samar Ezzat has participated in contemporary dance performances that were presented among local and international festivals.

Ibrahim Abdo is a director, choreographer and dancer with a BA in Philosophy. He studied contemporary dance in the full-time program of CCDC and in 2016 started his research on the movement flow in the body. In 2017 he received the “Step beyond” travel grant to attend the Impulse-Tanz festival in Austria. Between 2017 and 2018, he took part in two residencies at Alanus University, Germany. In 2015, he started a series of meetings and residencies between Egyptian and Italian choreographers and in 2019, he received support by the Dutch embassy to attend the HJS summer course in Amsterdam, in addition to joining Anikaya Dance theatre for the project “Conference of Birds”. In parallel to his career as an artist, he is also active in community work with both adults and children with the aim to give them an opportunity to further explore vital powers and practice a different process of learning.

About love 

Live interactive performance (60’) 

Salam Yousry with Sedky Sakhr, Shadi El-Husseiny, Youssra El-Hawary, Michale Emad and Loka

An interactive online performance where four artists are going to create together with the participating audiences a love song. Through an interactive process where the audience participates in the writing of the song and the music composition, a personal definition of love will be put together collectively to produce a song facilitated and played by the four artists.

As participants and founders of The Choir Project (Mashroua Chorale) since 2010, Salam, Sedky, Shadi and Youssra have travelled to cities and villages in Egypt, the Middle East and Europe to facilitate collective creation workshops for over 10 years. 

Salam Yousry is a Cairo-based multidisciplinary artist born in 1982. He founded Al-Tamye Theatre Group in 2002 and the Combo Independent Festival in 2012.  After graduating in 2004 from the Painting Department in The Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Salam worked as a Teaching Assistant in the same department. In 2010, Salam founded The Choir Project and has since led community-based workshops in songwriting and performance across the Middle East, Europe and the United States. He has also produced and directed several music videos, ads, documentaries and short films. 

Shadi is a pianist, keyboardist, composer, actor and translator. Besides composing the soundtracks of several short and long feature films by independent Egyptian filmmakers, he regularly performs with Youssra El Hawary’s band and Kahareb. He is also one of the core members that started in 2010 the Choir Project – a series of songwriting and singing workshops.

Sedky Sakhr is an Egyptian actor and musician. Hehas been a member of “AlTamye Theatre Company” since 2003. He has acted in several short and feature films. Recently, he has also participated in a number of TV series including “Multifaceted”, “Why not?” & finally, “Ansaf Maganeen” or “Partially insane”. He is a musician with the choir project, and a founding member of Youssra El-Hawary’s band since 2012. Sedky also sang and performed the voice of the Prince in the first Egyptian feature animation film “The Knight and the Princess” in its English version.

Yousra El-Hawary is a musician, accordion player, songwriter, singer, and actress.

In 2006, she graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Theater and Cinema Décor and between 2015-2017 studied the accordion at CNIMA J. Mornet School in France. In 2007, she joined the Mud Theater Troupe and in 2010, she co-founded The Choir Project (Mashroua Chorale). In 2012, she founded her own music project with the name “Yousra El Hawary” and in 2017 produced her first album, Basem Nacine, in 2017. Yousra El-Hawary has held several improvisation and songwriting workshops with children with cultural institutions such as “Work and Hope Caravan”, the Jesuit Fathers School, Menya, and Dawar Arts. Moreover, between 2014 and 2015, she worked as a presenter for the radio program “Qadet Mazika” on Nogoum FM. 

Curated by

  • Victoria Cornacchia 

Design by

  • Engy Mohsen

The project is organized by Medrar for Contemporary Art with the support of the Pro Helvetia Cairo – Swiss Arts Council

Medrar is implemented with the support of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC, through a grant from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – SDC.