Ajam Media Collective has created Mehelle— a new project dedicated to preserving the sights, sounds, and memories of rapidly-changing neighborhoods from Eastern Anatolia to Central Asia. It will serve as a multimedia resource for local inhabitants, community organizers, and urban researchers long after such neighborhoods have been demolished, gentrified, or transformed by private and state-led construction projects.
If Sayat Nova wrote hundreds of songs in Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian, then why are the cross-cultural celebrations of Sayat Nova so few and far between? Gaps in the historical record and contemporary political environment make a pancultural perspective of the legendary bard of the Caucasus more difficult.
Ahmad Muxtar’s Red Frame not only documents Baku’s rapid urban transformation, but also explores the ways our perceptions of urban space are framed by social, political, and economic forces.
Ajam MC interviews Patrick Redford of Vice Sports about his participation in the Tour d’Azerbaijan and the theatricality of sports in the young nation-state.
The items collected for the Ajam Digital Archive will allow us to document and record history from below—how it was actually lived, experienced, and understood. It is precisely these histories that were ignored in favor of tales that focused exclusively on wars and revolutions, rarely giving us a sense of how life was lived amidst it all.
Ashura is a day of mourning marked by Muslims around the world to commemorate the martyrdom of the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, Hossein, and his compatriots. As a day of commemoration, it has been marked by people of all faiths across large swathes of South, Central, and Western Asia for centuries. This photo essay documents presents a look at the ritual in Istanbul’s Zeynebiye neighborhood in 2013, the center of the city’s Shia population.
Ajam Media Collective recently worked with THE STATE, a Dubai-based publishing practice, to make a ‘zine. We provided the words and art while they provided the design to make a wonderful collaborative document. We are also publishing the work on our site, beginning with this introduction.
The post-Soviet art of Central Asia and the Caucasus comes out of a Soviet-era conversation of artistic styles that looks not just to Moscow but also to Mecca. An understanding of the high and low registers of this Soviet cultural heritage allows the humor and self-confidence of the work to be appreciated — aesthetically as well as financially — by audiences.
The Ajam Family would like to wish you all a very happy Nowruz and spring season. Enjoy this podcast, which collects the sounds of festivities from the different parts of the world that celebrate this joyous day.