The BASEERA Project is an initiative of the TASAWAR Collective to reflect on the working and living conditions of artists and curators in the SWANA region.

Yasmine ElMeelegy, Artist, Cairo
I have been thinking recently about the short life of installations, finding opportunities that cover the production costs is not an easy task. I spend a lot of time, putting much effort to write applications and apply for grants which are not easy to get and not generally available in our region. Once I get one, my chances to find other grants shrink. It doesn’t stop at the production phase, but the budget issue continues for the shipping the work, the hard procedures of showing it abroad or reproducing it again.

Aymen Gharbi + Bettina Pelz, INTERFERENCE Artistic Directors, Tunis:
There are almost no possibilities for emerging artists to develop, produce, and discuss public art.

Omneia Naguib, Artist, Cairo
My work as a full-time graphic designer consumes a lot of energy and time. So, the continuity of this situation became impossible. I must work because it generates income for my daily expenses, and the art field with its financial dynamics does not sustain the minimum wages that can provide the minimum expenses for human beings.

Omnia Sabry, Artist, Cairo
There’s no infrastructure or basic support system of health insurance, or pension, and the conditions in which we’re asked to produce within are precarious. The economic situation has been very stressful in the past years. With the inflation, while artists are underpaid or -worse- getting paid in exposure, a lot of artists rely on ‘foreign economies’, they relocate/migrate to other easier-living conditions, and become distant from their subjects/audiences, or get consumed in commercial work to sustain themselves. In light of the limited funding resources, scarcity of facilities and quality materials, and the uncommonness of governmental support, the subjects which one could explore are usually censored or narrowed according to different agendas.

Ahmed Shawky Hassan, Artist, Cairo
Every time you hear back from a funding association, and they mention that they picked 5 to 10 out of 800 applications, I always think of these 800 people and the labor and time they put into writing these projects. And come to think of it, if 800 people got rejected, these 800 people invested 1 to 2 months and will have to start all over again. You could work for a year or two, without making anything happen in terms of production.