The rise of platforms and inclusive spaces have increased, and I love that we are taking control of our own narratives and/of the Arab world. Here are a few platforms I personally think you need to know about and follow!
I also absolutely love the fact that a lot of the platforms I am recommending are women led or women based and I think it is so important that we have these spaces to discuss, celebrate and be creative without fearing our work will somehow be distorted to fit another agenda. You would be surprised at how many times artists have told me their works message, statement or even positioning has changed or even censored in certain ways to fit another message, particularly when exhibiting internationally. These platforms are based in various places with one common goal, to SUPPORT!
Let’s get right into it with no particular order!
JAFFAT EL AQLAM
(Image by Cheb Moha)
Jaffat El Aqlam is an e-magazine that celebrates Middle Eastern artists, writers, musicians & creatives. Our goal is to be an independent publishing house that publishes work from MENA & by MENA humans who live abroad, while simultaneously creating a haven for content to be published in the world wiLD web.
(Image by Amira Al Awadhi)
BANAT serves and exists as a platform to open a discussion about feminism in the Middle East. It is available to those who wish to participate and create meaningful work surrounding various topics dealing with the middle-eastern feminist perspective.
The collective exists digitally and physically meaning that the work featured will be accessible through digital forms such as e-mags and articles as well as creating thoughtful and inspiring art exhibitions in the real world.
Locale is a Sudanese space for the development, support and cultivation of home grown effort with the aim of empowering the Sudanese identity and preserving the culture with a present-time attitude intended to aid in the incorporation of heritage into our current contemporary lifestyles.
Dardishi is an online magazine run by Arab women with a focus on writing and artwork produced by Arab women. This website was launched on International Women’s Day 2016 by co-founders, editors and sisters Samar and Yasmine Ziadat.
‘Dardishi’ is the feminine verb for ‘chitchat’ in Arabic, and the editors chose this name because the magazine’s formation was largely inspired by all the incredible conversations that they have ever had with their female Arab friends and family. The name dardishi also says a lot about the tone of the work that dardishi publishes – informal, conversational work that spurs a wider dialogue on Arab women’s issues.
(Image by Sarah Ahmed)
Diplomantiq is a social initiative operating on a non-profit basis, focussed on individual & collective progress in society.
Diplomantiq (adverb) = Combining diplomacy and Mantiq (logic in Arabic). A new state of being for the everyday citizen diplomat – That is, you and I.
Variant Space is a ground breaking collective of Muslim female artists who have come together with one aim, passion and love: the arts.
For the first time ever, Muslim female artists from around the globe have come together to narrate their stories and journeys. In doing so, they showcase the tones and shades of talent that exist within the Muslim female community all around the world.
As the head of projects at Reconnecting Arts, I hope we can all collaborate, empower and inspire each other as platforms!
A little bit about Reconnecting Arts if you are new… Reconnecting Arts is a platform that aims to support Middle Eastern artists and creatives through international exhibitions as well as online features! We want to create a space where a refreshing idea of Arab work and narratives are shown by Arab Artists themselves, where they can challenge, question and create dialogue about their own experiences.
In the meantime, we (Reconnecting Arts) have our open call towards our London exhibition, so submit, collaborate and curate!