‘Arab Women Artists Now’ celebrates Arab women artists

Lost by Malika Sqalli - © Arts Canteen
Lost by Malika Sqalli - © Arts Canteen

Arab Women Artists Now is a one-day pilot festival coinciding with International Women’s Day and will be a showcase for exceptionally talented Arab women artists working in the UK. The festival in London will increase the visibility of their work and expose new audiences to these under-represented communities and cultures. The day will include spoken word, music, an exhibition of contemporary art and film. There will also be panel discussions on the challenges faced by the artists and free open workshops during the day to encourage participation and engagement.

It's about time

As a part of Arab Women Artists Now, the exhibition It’s About Time will be launched at Rich Mix, Lower Gallery on Saturday 7th March 2015, showcasing contemporary works from five Arab women artists. The exhibition will span across a wide range of themes and media, featuring work by Dia Batal, a Lebanese spatial designer, Malika Squalli, an Austrian-Moroccan photographer, Saadeh George, a Lebanese visual artist, and Inas Halabi, a mixed-media artist from Palestine. All artists are from the Arab world and now live and work in the United Kingdom.

Although I have reservations against participating in gender or ethnic specific exhibitions, at the end of the day I am a female visual artist from the Arab world (amongst other things!) – Saadeh George.

It’s About Time exhibition aims to provide a platform for the artists to showcase their multifaceted work to a wider UK audience. Their experiences as women artists of Arab origin living in the diaspora are shared, and perceptions of Arab artists and contemporary art from the Arab world are challenged. It aims to explore the monolithic-stereotypical interpretation of their work based on notions of race and gender and to move away from West-East divisions and orientalist discourses.  It’s about time invites audiences to a creative exploration of meanings and active questioning of complex issues of identity and belonging, politics and culture, the human body and space.

Optimism by Malika Sqalli - © Arts Canteen

Optimism by Malika Sqalli – © Arts Canteen

It’s about time defines the time to perceive this contemporary cultural production from a renewed angle and to explore new avenues of seeing and understanding.

Lightening up the sky by Malika Sqalli - © Arts Canteen

Lightening up the sky by Malika Sqalli – © Arts Canteen

Program Saturday 7 March 2015

– 11.00 Registration, tea and coffee

– 11.30 Welcome & preview of day’s programme

– 11.45 Spoken word, Fajr Tamimi (Poet)+ Q&A

– 12.15 Presentation on art work, Maiada Aboud (Visual Artist)+ Q&A

– 12.45 Presentation by Rajha Shakiry (Set and Costume Designer) + Q&A

– 13.15 Lunch break

– 14.00 Contemporary dance performance by Tania Salmen

– 14.15 Panel discussion on experiences and challenges of Arab women artists, curators and producers in the UK.

• Danah Abdulla (Kalimat Magazine)
• Hannah Khalil (Playwright)
• Yasmin El Derby (Film Curator and Jewellery Designer)
• Tania Diggory (Dancer & Event Producer)

– 15.30 Coffee & tea

– 16.00 Presentation by Nesreen Nabil Hussein (Theatre Maker) + Q&A

– 16.30 Closing story- telling, Alia Alzougbi (Storyteller)

– 16.45 Break

– 17.00 Consultation meeting for Arab women artists and partners.
Chair, Malu Halasa (Editor, Writer and Curator).

London based Arts Canteen has made a name for itself curating music and visual arts events in the UK. With programmed high profile plus new and emerging artists from the Arab world, Middle East.

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