Emirates LitFest 2021 | Panel Talk | Framing the Self-Publisher

Join us for a panel discussion on self-publishing photo books with UAE-based photographers Augustine Paredes and Jalal Abuthina, and publisher Malda Smadi, moderated by photographer and Gulf Photo Plus Director Mohamed Somji. The panel will consider practical aspects of self-publishing, such as production, distribution, dissemination, and will explore the cultural impact of artist books in the face of the ongoing proliferation of digital media, as well as the place of the self publisher within the current resurgence of art book publishing. 


About the Panelists:


Malda Smadi's background encompasses art, design, advertising and publishing. She has worked with several publications and publishing houses in the UAE including Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, Canvas Magazine, and currently with Motivate Media Group leading the books publishing division. Malda is also a practicing visual artist whose work has been showcased at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai and Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi, among others.


Jalal Abuthina is an Irish/Libyan photographer and artist based in Dubai. His work varies highly in subject matter and approach and drifts between commercial photography,locally-focused social documentaries and personal projects. His work has been exhibited, published, and self-published throughout the UAE and internationally, and includes features ranging from local news and art platforms to CNN. Jalal's 2016 released Inside Dubai series of photography books are one of the few self-published series of publications commercially available for sale in the UAE.


Augustine Paredes is a Filipino artist and photographer based in Dubai. Augustine’s lyrical, contemporary, and sensuous visual narratives are derived from his many-storied travels, South East Asian consciousness, and queer gaze. He is an alumna of Campus Art Dubai and International Summer School of Photography, and has been nominated for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. He has been exhibited in the Philippines, Malaysia, Latvia, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. He recently self-published and sold out his first artist book, Conversations at the end of the universe.


About the Moderator: 


Mohamed Somji is a Dubai-based photographer and the Director of Gulf Photo Plus, a community organization and photography gallery. Offering educational courses, community events, and opportunities for emerging talent to partake in reviews, critiques, seminars and more, Gulf Photo Plus aims to cultivate regional photography production and visual practices. Mohamed’s documentary work provides critical commentary on social issues, and has been published by the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others. He is also a co-curator of BredaPhoto, and a previous jury member for The Arab Documentary Photography Program and current jury for VID Foundation, where his sustaining objective is nurturing unbound work from artists within the MENASA regions.