Heba Farid is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cairo and a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective, an independent artist-run initiative dedicated to the Visual Image. www.ciccairo.com
. Since 2004, Farid has been working on an independent multidisciplinary art, research and documentation project about Naíima al-Misriyya, an early 20th century performer of the phonograph era of Egyptian Arabic music that will produce a book, image and music archive and a documentary film in the near future. www.naima-project.org.In
parallel, Farid is project coordinator for the photographic heritage project at the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CultNat).
CultNat's mission is to digitally document Egypt's cultural and natural heritage and disseminate the findings to the public through a wide spectrum of activities, such as books, CDRoms, short documentary films and public presentations. Since its inception, the focus has been on the release of products of internal program-led research efforts. After almost ten years of digitization, there now exists a massive body of information that needs to be managed and accessed in a different way, to ensure not only its longevity but also open public access, therefore, CultNat is re-thinking its workflow and creating a new archive strategy. In regards to the Photographic Memory of Egypt program (PME), from its inception there did not exist a clear theoretical foundation to guide the manner in which the collection, eventual archive or research program would be managed and run, hence, many issues have begun to emerge, other than digitization, affecting the articulation of a new approach - to contribute to the historiography of photographic practice specific to Egypt. In addition to the commercial products made available through CultNat and Bib Alex, and the eventual transition of our databases to be openly accessible and on-line, the PME program aims to engage in other activities that build appreciation for Egypt's photographic heritage by expanding on the public dimension of the program. The hope is that these activities will affect public perception of photography in Egypt and encourage the recognition of its practice, its historiography, and engender the appreciation for the photograph as an artifact of cultural production and an example of material culture.