Port Cities – Exhibition launch

Friday 12 July, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Space Liverpool
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Join us to celebrate the opening of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2024 at this special afternoon launch of our Port Cities exhibition.

In partnership with British Council – MENA, we proudly launch our international visual arts project Port Cities, featuring newly commissioned work by artists Mohamed Abdelkarim, Laila Hida, Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Siska.

Situated where land meets sea, global port cities have unique characteristics. Their social, economic, political and cultural heritage is deeply connected to their roles as key centers for trade and migration. The artists visited Liverpool on a research residency in February 2024 to inform the development of new artworks critically exploring the past and future of port cities in both Liverpool and the Arab region.

From reflecting on Liverpool’s slave trade legacies to the ecological impact of human activities, this exhibition presents new artistic perspectives on how ports have and continue to shape the character of cities, and how we connect across seas.

After premiering in Liverpool, the Port Cities exhibition will tour internationally to Tripoli, Lebanon; Alexandria, Egypt; Rabat, Morocco; and Tunis, Tunisia throughout 2024.

Artist biographies

Mohamed Abdelkarim was born in 1983 in Minya, Egypt. He currently lives and works between Cairo, Rotterdam, and Vienna where he is currently PhD candidate at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna, Austria.

Abdelkarim’s works have been included in the Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013, Guild Master of Cabaret Voltaire, Manifesta 11, 2016, Live Works Performance Act Award Vol. 5, IT, 2017 and Berlinale 72/Forum Expanded, 2022. He has also received the Prix Excellence HES-SO in Switzerland 2016, and has been shortlisted for the Henrike Grohs Art Award 2022.


Laila Hida is a Moroccan artist and cultural worker based in Marrakech. She is primarily interested in images and photography, exploring their use as both archival material and triggers for fiction. Her recent work, “Le Voyage du Phoenix,” explores the use of photography, literature, and cinema as tools to distill the 20th century’s regime of desire.

In 2013, she founded LE 18 Marrakech, a multidisciplinary cultural space and art residency based in the medina of Marrakech that extends her long-term intention to question and explore the impact of the environment on art production, mediation and research approaches. She has curated many programs in Morocco and internationally, including the LE 18 collective proposal at documenta 15. She is also the initiator of Dabaphoto, an annual program on photography and image-making in Morocco that is now in its 8th edition. In 2014 she was appointed to curate the Moroccan stop over of the Art Explora Festival, a cultural odyssey in the mediterranean sea.


Nadia Kaabi-Linke was born Tunis, Tunisia, in 1978, and raised in Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts, Tunis, in 1999, and earned a PhD at Université Paris-Sorbonne, in 2008. Growing up between Tunis, Kiev, and Dubai, and now residing in Berlin, Kaabi-Linke has a personal history of migration across cultures and borders that has greatly influenced her work. Her works give physical presence to that which tends to remain invisible, be it people, structures, or the geopolitical forces that shape them. Kaabi-Linke lives and works in Berlin.


Siska was born in Beirut and resides primarily in Berlin. He holds a Master’s degree in Film and Audiovisual Arts from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. A key figure in the early Beiruti graffiti scene, Siska has also produced and performed music as part of the Lebanese Hip Hop group Kitaa Beirut قطاع بیروت . A large part of his practice involves archiveology, examining sociopolitical narratives in relation to personal and collective memories. It is common for his work to take the form of extended cinema where he applies cinematic codes as well as film language in order to explore various visual narrative techniques.

At the Haus der Statistics in Berlin in August-2021, he co-curated a series of conversations, films, readings, and live performances as the artistic director of redeem ردیم , a platform for ongoing conversations between voices from Beirut in Berlin. Siska has collaborated on numerous performance and music productions, taking a midway point between his career as a visual artist and musician. In 2022, he completed his residency and fellowship at Villa Aurora in Los Angeles. Siska’s work has been internationally shown, including Martin Gropius Bau (Berlin), Halle 14 (Leipzig), Paris 104 (Paris), Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus (Berlin), Beirut Art Center (Beirut), Mosaic Rooms (London), Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival) and Silent Green Kulturquartier among others.




Port Cities programme

Exhibition dates: Friday 12 – Saturday 20 July 2024.  Open 12-4pm. Free admission.

Port Cities symposium

11am – 4pm, Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX

Exhibition venue:
Space Liverpool, 41 Stanhope Street, Liverpool, L8 5RE

British Council – MENA 

Curatorial selectors:
Sandra Dagher, Lebanon
Hana El Beblawy, Egypt
Amel Ben Attia, Tunisia
Francesca Masoero, Morocco 

British Council ARTIVATOR Fellowship in Art Curation:
Lin Dabbous









Liverpool exhibition venue: 




Book Tickets