This programme of activities, which relates Sahrawi culture to a broader social and cultural framework, aims to become tuiza, a space that reimagines an alternative possible geography, where its centres are not metropolises of financial power, but narrations and accounts of a periphery that lives on in expressions of identity and cultural contamination. The Palacio de Cristal architecture was originally designed to house an exhibition of exotic plants brought in for the General Exhibition on the Philippine Islands in 1887. The plants were brought from the same country, still a Spanish colony at that time, displaying an image where the ideals of industrial modernity manifested the command and control of the world from Europe. Tuiza, which is the name of this Sahrawi tent, but also means “collective work” in Hassaniya, on the other hand, attempts to decolonise the imagination and articulate knowledge and sensibilities that circulate from south to south, without stopping at the homogenisation of the centre or the Western narrative; Tuiza formulates an epistemology of possible souths, understanding, and paraphrasing Boaventura de Sousa Santos, these “souths” as new processes of production, knowledge and relationships that originate from those places and peoples that have suffered discrimination under an unequal, racist and sexist order.
The Palacio de Cristal, transmuted into a refuge against the designs of an inefficient and unfair system-world, becomes a new space of relations, bringing a horizon of change and learning to life and, giving a leading role to oral and immaterial culture through words, music and image: poetry recitals, education events and concerts multiply these narratives and introduce other forms of community living; conferences call upon a broad academic community to deal with the decolonisation of territory, bodies and knowledge, as well as the survival of the imagery of exoticism and its current confrontations; and finally, it becomes a living archive through film, spanning from the clichéd and stereotypical image in historical Spanish colonial film to recent critical reviews.
Zahra Ahmed Hasnaui
A poet, and member and founder of the Sahrawi writers’ group Friendship Generation. She studied at the Faculty of Philology at the Complutense University of Madrid and has participated in contemporary Sahrawi poetry anthologies Aaiún, gritando lo que se siente (Aaiún. Shouting what you Feel, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2006) and Um Draiga (Diputación de Zaragoza, 2007).
A political scientist specialised in the Arab world and Spanish foreign policy. He is also a professor of International Relations at the Complutense University of Madrid and was coordinator of the Education Programmes and Publications in the Casa Árabe-International Institute of Arab and Muslim World Studies. He is co-author and coordinator of books such as Conflictos en el ámbito internacional: aportaciones para una cultura de paz (Conflicts in the International Sphere: Contributions for a Culture of Peace CIDEAL, 2008) and Redes sociales en Marruecos. La emergencia de la sociedad marroquí (Social Media in Morocco. The Emergence of Moroccan Society, Icaria, 2004).
Ildefonso Barrera Martínez
A botanist and professor in the Department of Plant Biology at the Complutense University of Madrid. He is co-author of the book Sahara Occidental: plantas y usos (The Western Sahara: Plants and Uses, Monografías de Botánica Ibérica nº4, 2007), which is set up as an ethnobotanical study of the Western Sahara, analysing the uses and customs of the Sahrawi people in relation to their plant resources.
A Baghdad-born Iraqi writer and translator, she is the founder of El Aleph 2000, a publishing house for the dissemination of Arab culture. She was a professor in the Spanish department of the University of Baghdad and Associate Professor in the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Autonomous University of Madrid. She has published in Arabic (poetry, prose and essays) and translated works by Rafael Alberti (Best Translated Book of the Year in Iraq), Jorge Luis Borges, José Carlos Mainer and José Antonio Maravall, among others, into the same language.
A poet and member of the Friendship Generation group. His verses have been published in the books Los versos de madera (The Wooden Verses, Puentepalo, 2004) and Ritos de jaima (Rites of the Bedouin Tent, Bubisher, 2012) and included in the anthologies Bubisher (Puentepalo, 2003), Añoranza (Amigues del Poble Sahrauí de les Illes Balears, 2003) and Treinta y Uno — Thirty One (Sombrerete, Sandblast, 2007).
A Sahrawi-born singer, her music stems from traditional Sahrawi sounds and West African percussion and features flamenco, jazz and blues rhythms. In 2000 she settled in Spain, where she formed the Gulili Mankoo band, recording two self-produced records: the EP Mi Canto (2008) and the album Mabruk (2012). Her latest production is entitled Soutak (Glitterbeat, 2014).
A musician, composer and music producer who researches early and traditional music. He has worked with eclectic groups, predominated by the search for the Eastern roots of Western music, such as Ibn Baya, dedicated to Andalusi music, Finis Africae, to ethnic fusion, and Babia, which fuses rhythms from the East and West. He has released over thirty records as a solo artist and has participated in more than one hundred and fifty recordings as a musician and producer. Moreover, he has composed the music for theatre productions and film scores.
Ismail Diadié Haidara
A historian and writer who is responsible for the conservation of Fondo Kati, the most important collection of Andalusi documentary heritage outside of Spain, made up of over 3,000 manuscripts his family took to Timbuktu (Mali) after being expelled from Toledo in 1468. Due to the recent events of 2012, he was exiled to Spain, his current country of residence.
Enrique Domínguez Rodiño
A journalist, writer and film producer. In 1933 he was named the administrative director and managing director of the film production company CEA (Cinematografía Española Americana), acting as vice chairman from 1935 to 1965. In 1939 took charge of finishing off the production of the documentary Romancero marroquí, shot by Carlos Velo, in which he appeared credited as “Production manager. Plot, screenplay and dialogue”.
DJ K-Sets (Manuel Sánchez Laliga)
Manuel Sánchez Laliga, who works under the name DJ K-Sets, develops an archive project that reviews different types of contemporary Arab music – the recollection and classification of diverse underground and at the same time traditional phenomena in popular urban music. Among other centres and festivals, he has performed at La Mar De Músicas (Cartagena), Recyclart (Brussels), together with Awesome Tapes From Africa, and the Sala Apolo (Barcelona).
The Abidin Kaid Saleh Audiovisual School
An education project promoted since 2010 by the Sahara International Film Festival. It came into being after the initiative “Film for the Sahrawi People” and aims to bring the study of film and video closer to young people in Sahrawi refugee camps.
A Mexican-born artist linked to Sahrawi culture, he is the external director of Enamus, a Sahrawi music school in the 27 de febrero refugee camp. He also participated in the recording of Mariem Hassan’s record El Aaiun Egdat (2012), playing flute, saxophone and percussion.
A director, screenwriter, actor and film producer who belonged to the renowned “School of Argüelles”, together with Luis Revenga and Antonio Drove, among others. El desastre de Annual (The Annual Disaster, 1970), his first feature-length film, came up against strong censorship and was withdrawn after appearing at the Benalmádena Festival in 1971. He directed, among other films, Pascual Duarte (1976), Después de tantos años (After So Many Years, 1994) and La buena estrella (The Lucky Star, 1997).
Juan Carlos Gimeno
A Doctor of Philosophy and Head Professor of Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he was in charge of the Department of Social Anthropology and Spanish Philosophical Thought. Currently, he is head researcher of the RDI project Consolidación y declive del orden colonial español en el Sahara Occidental (The Consolidation and Decline of the Spanish Colonial Order in Western Sahara, Ifni-Tarfalla-Sahara: 1956-1976). Among his distinguished publications is Transformaciones socioculturales de un proyecto revolucionario: la lucha del pueblo Saharaui por la liberación (Socio-cultural Transformations of a Revolutionary Project: The Sahrawi People’s Struggle for Liberation Colección Monografías, nº 43, 2007).
Abdul Hadi Sadoun
A writer, hispanicist and editor as well as an essayist and contributor in numerous Spanish and Arab cultural journals. He has also written a number of publications, in both Arabic and Spanish, for instance: Siempre todavía (Always Still, Ed. Olifante, 2010), Campos del extraño (Fields of the Stranger, Alhulia, 2011) and the anthology of modern Iraqi poetry in the Spanish language La Maldición de Gilgamesh (The Curse of Gilgamesh, Tempestad, 2003). He has also translated Jorge Luis Borges, Antonio Machado, Octavio Paz, Rafael Alberti, Vicente Aleixandre, Federico García Lorca, and other writers, into Arabic.
An anthropologist specialised in cooperation, development and humanitarian action. She is a researcher at the University Institute of Women’s Studies at the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Institute for the Study of Conflicts and Humanitarian Action. She has also taught in the International Development Cooperation Master’s Degree, specialising in the analysis of the concept of resilience in development cooperation and humanitarian action.
Bernabé López García
A lecturer on the History of Contemporary Islam in the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Autonomous University of Madrid and director, at the same institution, of the Workshop of International Mediterranean Studies. He has also published, among other titles, Historia y memoria de las relaciones hispano-marroquíes (The History and Memory of Hispano-Moroccan Relations), with Miguel Hernando de Larramendi (Ed. del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, 2009), and El mundo arabo-islámico contemporáneo. Una historia política (The Contemporary Arab-Islamic World. A Political History, Síntesis, 1997).
Bahia Mahmud Awah
A founding member of the group of Sahrawi writers in Spanish, the Friendship Generation. He is also Honorary Professor of Social Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. He has published various books of poetry and essays, including Literatura Del Sahara Occidental. Breve Estudio (Literature of the Western Sahara. A Brief Study, Bubok, 2008) and the book of poems Versos refugiados (Refugee Verses, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, 2007) and El sueño de volver (The Dream of Returning, CantArabia, 2012).
Eloy Martín Corrales
A historian and professor at the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). The outcome of his interest in the study of Spanish colonialism in North Africa and Hispano-Muslim relations in the period between the 16th and 20th centuries can be found in: Marruecos y el colonialismo español (1859-1912). De la guerra de África a la penetración pacífica (Morocco and Spanish Colonialism (1859–1912). From the African War to Pacific Penetration, Bellaterra, 2002) and La imagen del magrebí en España. Una perspectiva histórica, siglos XVI-XX (The Maghrebi Image in Spain. A Historical Perspective from the 16th Century to the 20th Century, Bellaterra, 2002).
A Professor in the field of Philosophy of Law at the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville). She is the author and coordinator of, among others, Activismo académico en la causa saharaui. Nuevas perspectivas críticas en Derecho, Política y Arte (Academic Activism in the Sahrawi Cause. New Critical Perspectives on Law, Politics and Art), together with Ramón Luis Soriano (Aconcagua Libros, 2014) and the article “Mujeres Saharauis, Colonialidad del Género y Nacionalismos: un acercamiento a partir de los feminismos decoloniales” (“Sahrawi Women, Gender Coloniality and Nationalism: An Approach from Decolonial Feminism”, Relaciones internacionales: Revista académica, 2014).
María Paula Meneses
A professor and researcher in the Centre of Social Studies at the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and Doctor of Anthropology at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA). She is also the author of numerous articles and essays, including the noteworthy As Guerras de Libertação e os Sonhos Coloniais, together with Bruno Sena Martins (Almedina, 2013) and Epistemologies of the South, with Boaventura de Sousa Santos (Akal, 2014).
A film-maker. Her first production was entitled Distancias (Distances, 2008), followed by the short films Pan, trabajo y libertad (Bread, Work and Freedom 2012) and Vualcão (Volcano, 2013). África 815 (2014) is her first feature-length film, and received critical acclaim at major independent film festivals. Besides her work as a director she is also an editor and a teacher in documentary film.
An artist considered one of the pioneers of media art and conceptual art in Spain. Between 1990 and 2014 he was professor of the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has exhibited internationally at museums such as New York’s MoMA, Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires and Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, as well as participating in Documenta X in Kassel and other exhibitions. Between 2011 and 2012 the Museo Reina Sofía held Entre/Between, a retrospective devoted to his work.
A teacher, producer, singer, guitarist and composer. She combines her study of philosophy with her training in song, guitar, percussion and dance and is a member of the Seville group Moakara. She is in charge of the creation of the music laboratory África no se vende, in a continuous process of gestation, which features different African musicians such as Sirifo Kouyate, Luali Said and Malick Diaw. She presented this project at the World Social Forum in 2011 and has presented it in the last three editions of the Festival ARTifariti in Western Sahara.
Juan Ignacio Robles
An anthropologist and Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. He also works in the Grupo de Antropología Audiovisual del Instituto Madrileño de Antropología and is a researcher in the Grupo de Estudios Coloniales: Sáhara Occidental. He is co-author of the documentary Legna: Habla el verso saharaui (Legna: the Sahrawi Verse Speaks, Antropología en Acción ONGD and Ministerio de Cultura RASD, 2014), winner of the first Fisáhara Award in 2014.
Jose Antonio Rodríguez Esteban
A Professor of Geography at the Autonomous University of Madrid and part of the research group Estudios poscoloniales: Sahara Occidental-EPSO, from the same institution. He is author of numerous publications, which include the books España en África. La ciencia española en el Sáhara Occidental, 1884-1976 (Spain in Africa. Spanish Science in Western Sahara, 1884–1976, Ediciones Calamar, 2011) and Geografía y colonialismo (Geography and Colonialism, UAM, 1996).
A poet and lecturer of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Complutense University of Madrid. Born in Safad (Palestine), in 1965 he settled in Spain to write his doctoral thesis on classical Andalusi poetry. He has participated in numerous poetry recitals and has written, among numerous other titles, Historia de la literatura árabe clásica (The History of Arab Classical Literature, Anaya, 2002), El diván de la poesía árabe oriental y andalusí (The Divan of Eastern and Andalusi Arab Poetry, Visor, 2012) and the book of poetry Mar Blanco (White Sea, La Discreta, 2007).
Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A philosopher, professor, Doctor of Sociology of Law at Yale University (USA) and lecturer of Sociology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal), where he is also director of the Centre of Social Studies and the 25 de Abril Documentation Centre. He is the author of key studies such as Epistemologies of the South (Akal, 2014), together with María Paula Meneses, and Conocer desde el Sur: Para una cultura política emancipatoria (Knowing from the South: For an Emancipatory Political Culture, Plural, 2008).
A Spanish director, producer and screenwriter exiled to Mexico as a result of the Spanish Civil War. As a producer he was not credited with the feature-length documentary Romancero marroquí (1938-39) – after shooting the film he decided to take up exile, which meant it was finished by Enrique Domínguez Rodiño. In Spain he had previously directed important documentaries such as Almadrabas (1934), La ciudad y el campo (City and Country, 1934) and Felipe II y El Escorial (1935). Among other films, he directed Torero (Bullfighter, 1956) and Pedro Páramo (1969) in Mexico and also produced Nazarín (1958) with Luis Buñuel.