Due to the heavy suppression of female voices across many diverse cultures, societies, faiths and professions over the course of history – it should come as no surprise that those suppressed talents and stories often find ways of bursting forth to create some of the most beautifully liberating works in modern day art and visual culture.
The Arab world in particular has become a veritable melting pot from which artists of this ilk and background can emerge to much celebration and applause – and rightly so. A recent exhibition entitled Radical Love: Female Lust, that ran from Valentine’s Day to 5th March 2017 and featured a mix of emerging and acclaimed female artists from Palestine to Peru, Libya to Lebanon, Spanish, Egyptian, Latvian, Saudi Arabian and Turkish photographers, painters from Syria, USA, China, British African poets, British and Asian illustrators as well as sculptors from Japan, Egypt and Ireland.
All of these unique, creative individuals found inspiration in the poetry of those suppressed by their culture thousands of years ago and replicated the joy in being able to take solace in, and celebrate, their own sexuality and gender through their respective artistic discipline. The words of these poets challenged preconceptions of faith, of class, of society’s ‘expectations’. They captured what it was like to relish life and live in a world where it was hard to do even the simplest things, things that today many take for granted, on your own terms. The exhibition showcased these poems in all their glory alongside the work and responses of contemporary artists with whom the messages resonate on a very personal level.
Noura, an artist of multiple mediums, was born in 1985 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and has since achieved an Art & Fashion Degree, an MA in the History Of Art & Archaeology at the School Of Oriental & African Studies and a BA in Fine arts. Today she is known as the co-founder of Oasis Magazine: an arts and culture magazine highlighting the Middle East and Arab World’s artistic scene, and the progress being made by the creatives, entrepreneurs, and those challenging the status quo – as well as being known for being an artist in her own right.
Hend Al Mansour, known for her unique blend of screen printing, drawing and painting on large sheets of fabric, has been exhibiting for over ten years in solo exhibitions and group shows. Alongside being an artist she is also a member of Tomouh; a group composed of artists specialising in various disciplines from the Gulf Countries Council as well as being a board Member of Arab-American Cultural Institute a founding member of Arab Artists in the Twin Cities and somehow manages to organise and curate group shows for Muslim and Arab artists in between it all.