Arab women featured in London exhibition

 Shaikha Fahad Al Ketbi, Ghaya, 2016. Archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

Shaikha Fahad Al Ketbi, Ghaya, 2016. Archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

In an exhibition titled Perpetual Movement, the relationship between migration and memory in connection to the Arab world and its diaspora is discussed. How does your memory of a place change once you have left? What happens if you are ethnically associated with a location but have never even been there? Memories can be inherited, they can alter from generation to generation, becoming fragmented, creating gaps that need to be filled. They can also change with time. Some memories can be buried, while others can be idealised.

The artists whose works comprise this exhibition have roots in Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, Yemen and the UAE, yet they are based in Europe and North America as well as in the Middle East. Some of them have been born into diaspora, others remain in the region, while others have left their homeland due to other circumstances. They all illustrate movement in their work in various ways, creating a rich, multilayered picture of young women from the region.

People have been moving to, from and through the Arab region for hundreds, even thousands of years and with them memories also move. Sometimes travel is required to discover one’s own heritage. At other times movement is vital to seek safety. In our technological and globalised world, many of us have the gift of travel, but some our hindered due to powers beyond our control. Perpetual Movement, curated by Lizzy Vartanian Collier, addresses a multitude of reasons for and the impact of migration and investigates the fragmented memories that are created and passed on as a consequence of these actions. Movement can be both positive and negative, there are many reasons why it takes place, but it is always happening.

  December Child (detail).  Nada Elkalaawy, acrylics on cotton, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

December Child (detail). Nada Elkalaawy, acrylics on cotton, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

The emerging women artists on show in this exhibition, which is part of Arts Canteen’s Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) Festival 2018 are: Yumna Al-Arashi, Nada Elkalaawy, Shaikha Fahad Al Ketbi, Thana Faroq, Araz Farra, Nadia Gohar and Najd AlTaher.

AWAN, in its fourth edition, showcases the work of contemporary Arab women artists in the UK, Europe and beyond, providing opportunities for artists and audiences to celebrate, be informed and network whilst exposing new audiences to the work of these often marginalized artists, providing a platform to present the work of Arab Women Artists.

Arts Canteen curates events, exhibitions and festivals that support emerging artists from the Arab World and their diasporas in bringing their work to new audiences in the UK and beyond. Working with UK-based education, non-profit, arts and outreach organisations, Arts Canteen facilitates the exchange of art and ideas across social and geographical boundaries.