The Confused Arab
From an instragram account to a new website platform, Sofiane Si Merabet @theconfusedarab will explain us more about the “future of nostalgia” concept.
You have always been very interested by Identities, how do you explain it?
Indeed for me identities have always been at the center of both my professional and personal paths. When you meet someone, you don’t just meet a person but you have to read or to understand several levels of his/her identities .
I guess it comes from my background, being part of a diaspora, I have always introduced myself as a plural individual: French, Algerian, European, Mediteranean, African, Muslim, Berber, Arab.
Can you please tell us more about your story?
I was born in France of Algerian parents. I was visiting Algeria every summer developing a “lost land nostalgia” through my family perception. After a very french childhood, as a teenager I started to be more interested in Algeria and North Africa. I studied Political Sciences and Business in France and Spain and then started a career in Marketing between Paris and Dubai. I was working for L’Oreal and LVMH during 11 years before deciding lately to pursue my adventure on my own by setting up Karta, a creative local agency.
Looking at all your pictures all over the world, we want to ask you what does travelling bring you? Any specific destination which you will always remember?
Let’s be honest, for me travelling is vital. I do need it physically as it helps me to reconnect with myself as to develop my creativity. I visited a lot of places alone and during several years it used to be my favourite way of travelling. I have always been very curious about the world, my family, myself… so basically when you travel specially far from your native cultural area you always need to introduce all the non-said things in your everyday life. You need to give elements of context on so- called innate things. Travelling fulfills this curiosity as the best way to challenge built categorization.
I will always remember my trip to Socotra, an island in Yemen. Even 6 years ago, before the security issue, everybody was looking at me as a weirdo when I was saying that Yemen and Socotra were the most beautiful places I have visited. The nature is so different that it does push you to interrogate your immediate environment. You are seeing trees you haven t seen before, landscapes are different every 20 km and people are speaking a never-heard-before dialect.
Since when have you been in Dubai and how do you connect with it?
Dubai is now home for most than 8 years. I lived here during 6 months in 2004 and then came back permanently in 2008 after spending some time in KSA, Bahrain, Spain and France.
I love living here as you feel part of building something. I left Dubai for a 6 month travel and wherever I was, even in the Colombian countryside I could feel how Dubai has became an aspirational destination. Nowhere you can find such a mix of nationalities and languages. Dubai is the ideal place for me where I can live my several identities, from western to Arabic way of life. I do identify strongly to Dubai, a city which is located in the time than in the geography. As I mentioned once, “I travel the world because I can’t travel time”.
Can you please tell us about “The confused arab’?
Embracing several faces of your identities is not that easy. I have always felt that people are not at ease when you don’t enter into their categorization. As in the same day I could fit in 3 different nationalities, and speaking several languages, people were thinking that I was trying to be someone else. A poor boy living an identity crisis. I turned around the fact of confusing people to “Theconfusedarab”. ‘Theconfusedarab” is a platform which started from Instagram to visually question my heritage, family memories and surrounding. It has helped me to develop a proper aesthetic and universe which I am now taking to another level with the launch of the website www.theconfusedarab.com.
Through several focus on different cities of North Africa and Middle East, we will be sharing the concept of “future of nostalgia” or how to leverage on nostalgic feelings in the Arab world to build new futures.
3.Saalouni Nass- Fairuz
4.Median-Ta-Ku and Waffia
6.Mere hum Nafass-Farida Ghanum
8.La Fuerza del Destino-Mecano
10.Rahib- AbdelMajid Abdellah
11.Alger Alger- Lili Boniche
13-Juicy fruit- Mtume
14.Hardcore- Kery James
15- Makeda- Les Nubians
18-Bringing you down- Jonas Rathsman
19-Le Monde ou rien- PNL
20-Heartbeat- Childish GambinoF