The black Iris


Jordan’s foremost artist, Mohanna Durra, designed the bronze trophy of Amman International Film Festival – Awal Film (AIFF) in the shape of the Black Iris, Jordan’s national flower and AIFF’s symbol. The iris’ beautiful and intricate shape parallels the creative complexity and inspiration that goes into the craft of filmmaking.

Three trophies are awarded to Arab films during the festival for: Best Feature-Length Narrative, Best Feature-Length Documentary and Best Short Film.

Durra, in his design of the trophy, avoided photographic realism. He synthesized the complex outlines of the Iris into a simple form, that inspires the beholder and carries them to a world of inspiration; all this without losing any of the dynamism or vitality of the Black Iris, which blooms with its beauty in Jordan’s countryside.

Mohanna Durra is regarded as Jordan’s pioneer of modern art. He passed away on 24th January 2020, leaving behind him a legacy for centuries to come. He was the first to introduce Abstract Art and Cubism having mastered classical painting skills. His portraits and particularly those of the desert Bedouins, for which he is highly appreciated, are displayed at the National Gallery of Fine Arts in Jordan, in public and private collections, and appear on postage stamps.

At the young age of 17, Durra won a scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Following his graduation in 1958, he returned to Jordan and began a journey of self-discovery and artistic expression through painting. He founded the Institute of Fine Arts in 1970, which set the path for hundreds of young Jordanian talents. His paintings were exhibited worldwide, and he continued to paint while pursuing a diplomatic career with the Arab League as Ambassador in Rome and Moscow. His 80th birthday was celebrated by Jordan in 2018 through a retrospective exhibition of his works at Jordan’s National Gallery of Fine Arts, showing works since the tender age of 10 when he first started painting.

Having paved the way for many firsts in the Jordanian Fine Arts scene, Durra left his mark on the Amman International Film Festival – Awal Film, which acknowledges first-time achievements and is the first of its kind in Jordan.