“Arabpop” curated by Chiara Comito and Silvia Moresi

This article is also available in: Italiano

Arabpop is a magnificent anthology that fully explores post Arab Spring pop culture, resulting in an essential text for those who want to approach the contemporary Arab world

Arabpop: art and literature in revolt from Arab countries

In Italy, the so-called Arab Springs of 2011 have often been analyzed by commentators and journalists only as unexpected outbursts of violence or as the result of power games between Western states. The short-sightedness of a thought flattened on Islamophobic positions prevented us from really knowing who went down to the squares of Tunis, Cairo or Damascus: a young generation that asked for freedom, calling into question political, religious and gender affiliations.


This spirit of freedom has been collected and elaborated by Arab intellectuals, artists and writers who in the cinema, on the walls of their cities, in novels, poems and songs have told the genesis and the consequences of the protest movements. The contributions of this volume intend to give credit to this incredible cultural season, and to introduce the Italian public to the literature, music, films, artistic and theatrical works born from this period of revolt.

Not just literature

I have been a fan of Editoriaraba and Chiara Comito for about ten years and I was really looking forward to reading this book; however, this has in no way favored my evaluation in front of this work because, objectively, there is no need. The book, as already said before, is really full of stimuli and information, so much so that I spent most of the reading with the phone in hand to collect the many suggestions that were offered. Personally I was less “surprised” by the part edited by Chiara Comito, but this is because, following her project for years, I had already had the good fortune to come across the works, many of which were purchased right after Editoriaraba’s suggestions .

“Egypt, we’re almost there, a few more days

our day has come and the time of the dishonest is gone.

Nothing remains of the regime

except a few truncheons,

if you don’t believe me, go to the square and you’ll see.

People, the oppressor exists only in the mind of the oppressed

and whoever, after all this, remains at home, is a deserter. / […]

Soldier, the gentlemen you defend

will they answer if you ask for help? / […]

Beat, the melody of your blows will delight the minister,

but what will you do when he has fled? / […]

The marvelous youth has risen to turn autumn into spring “

Tamim al Barghuthi, translation by Silvia Moresi for Arabpop

Although I also know Silvia Moresi better, I must say that I was objectively amazed by the sheer size and beauty of the work brought here, with many poems translated into Italian for the first time only for this book; the first, the one mentioned above by Tamim al Barghuthi, every time I read it I am moved. Personally, however, the surprise were all the other authors of this magnificent work.

The art of the revolution

For years, in fact, I have been looking for a text that talks about what is contemporary Arab art and I am really very happy to say that this book is the right place to start any research. Thanks to Catherine Cornet, we would be fully catapulted into this dimension, giving a shape, a story and a name to all those movements and those artists who often end up only being a beautiful Instagram image, while they are an integral and extremely representative part of what everyday life feels and perceives. With Luce Laquaniti, on the other hand, we will go to discover graffiti and protest murals, an extremely rich and fascinating universe that for many represents the only way to show their dissent.

eL Seed
A work by the Franco-Tunisian artist eL Seed

Still remaining in the field of drawing, in the text of Anna Gabai we will finally be shown the world of Arab comics, perhaps one of the artistic fields that most revolutionized with the Arab Springs, resulting one of the most interesting ever as regards experimentation. . This chapter is perhaps the one that should be read with more attention, also because, unlike the others, it is the one that struggles most to receive funding, depriving us of potentially unmissable works such as Ta’thir al Jarada, even written by our beloved Ahmed Khaled Tawfik.

Protest films, music and theater

In addition to art, however, cinema, music and theater are examined with extreme care, three fundamental arts to fully understand the pop culture of a country and / or geographical area. In this case we will be accompanied by: Olga Solombrino for the cinema, Fernanda Fischione for the music and finally Anna Serlenga for the theatrical performances.

I must say that, while considering them all extremely precious readings, the text of Fischione is the most useful of all because it will really allow us to understand the spirit lived in Tahrir (and not only) during the days of the revolution thanks to a precious and rich work of translation.

Anthology of revolutionary Arab culture

Arabpop is without a shadow of a doubt one of the richest and most complete anthologies regarding the cultural transformations experienced in the post-Arab Spring, managing to deepen every artistic area with great skill and insight. Although the two curators are known for their great knowledge in the literary field, Arabpop manages to cover a much wider area, touching on topics almost unpublished in Italy such as graffiti and contemporary art, without forgetting music, comics, cinema and even theatrical performances. .


A text necessary at this time in Italy and in the world to fully understand what and what the “pop-Arab” is today.

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