East London was alive with creativity and art last weekend at the annual Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) landed in town.
AWAN is a celebration of Arab women, writers, filmmakers, performers, musicians and artists. It brings together a talented team and showcases incredible new work created, envisioned and produced by women.
Al Jazeera has called AWAN “a platform for people’s stories” and it’s just that: a place for women to explore identity and experience through art.
More than 25 artists from countries including Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia showed their works, many of whom were performing or exhibiting to UK audiences for the first time.
So whose work wowed the Ummahsonic crew?
Well, all of it, really! But here are some highlights:
Video art performance: Razan Hassan – ‘The Art of Losing’
Razan was forced to leave Syria during the war before she finished studying. She is hoping to continue at the Netherlands Film Academy to study Directing Fiction. Her film The Art of Losing is a video art and performance about how to achieve the inner peace during a crisis and how to fight war with art. You can watch it here.
Spoken word poetry: Rayanne Chami
Through her writing, Rayanne aims to bring internal states into awareness, with the purpose of highlighting our common humanity. Her poems deal with such topics as identity, mental illness and social issues. She began working on performance poetry during her time at Haven for Artists in Beirut. Catch her on Instagram here.
Filmmaker and artist: Tania El Khoury – ‘Simply Lebanese’
Tania’s film depicts the reality of women in Lebanon today and explores the increasingly unclear lines between politics, society and religion. Find her online here.
Visual artist: Dima Karout
Syrian-Canadian visual artist Dima’s installations combine images and texts to express the consequences of displaced lives in a complex world. Her artwork reflects human struggle and liberation in dealing with the Walls of Life. Discover more about Dima here.
Director and camera operator: Laila El Balouty – The Story Of “N”
In The Story of N, Laila explores the strength Egyptian women are developing to cope with an ever restrictive and belittling male dominated society. See her films on Vimeo here.
Know of any female artists who are smashing it? Let us know on Facebook!