27 September 2022

The Middle East Archive Profile

by Mo’min Swaitat

Part of Alserkal Lates

Audio/Video Installation

Starts 7:30 pm

Ends 10:00 pm

Venue The Yard


The first black and white educational documentary film to be shot by a Hollywood company about the Middle East and the Gulf, filmed in 1955. It focuses on the culture, geography and landscape of the region, coastal and desert life and the importance of the Red and Mediterranean seas and was intended to be screened in universities in America. In 2018, Momin Swaitat, an artist, archivist and collector, came across the film at an auction in East London. This is the first time the materials have been digitised and forms part of Majazz Project - a record label and research platform focused on digitising and preserving the Arab audio-visual archive.

Mo’min Swaitat is a London-based artist whose practice spans music, sound, performance, research, curating and film. He trained at the Freedom Theatre (Jenin) and arthaus (formerly LISPA) in London/Berlin, specialising in the Lecoq method of physical theatre. He has worked with the Schaubühne, New Diorama Theatre, Arcola Theatre, The Public Theater NY, Camden People’s Theatre, the Globe Theatre, Trinity Laban, Battersea Arts Centre, Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic, Rich Mix, Theatre Temoin, Common Wealth Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and many others. In 2021, his first experimental film Stones in Hand, an Albany Theatre/Foreign Body Productions collaboration, was screened in London and abroad and will be screened as part of this year’s Marrakesh Short Film Festival and London Short Film Festival. Last year, he was awarded the Jerwood Arts Live Work Fund enabling him to begin digitising his collection of thousands of Arabic vinyl and cassettes and to found his record label, Majazz Project, inspired by the Palestinian, Bedouin and Arabic sound archive. His first release Intifada 1987, a reissue of Riad Awwad’s seminal album, quickly sold out, and he has multiple releases planned for this year, including reissues of Al Fajr Band’s Live From Berlin and Zeinab Shaath’s Urgent Call of Palestine. He runs a series of live music and film events in East London, including monthly nights at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston. He has been guest curator at the Mosaic Rooms, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai Expo, Radio Alhara, NTS, Netil Radio, Walled Off Hotel (Banksy), Nottingham Contemporary and many others.