Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains wrote Jean–Jacques Rousseau in the first pages of his famous Social Contract published in 1762. These ‘chains’ are the modes of conduct prescribed as binding by a controlling authority. Government (human laws), religion (divine laws) and society (customs) form the ‘authorities’. Any act contrary would either be illegal, sinful or taboo. In The Forbidden, visual artists Yasser Nabaiel and Weaam el Masry question the state of the Arab world today, the chains of visible and invisible authorities and the constant need for a seal of approval.