With the support of Sekka, and in collaboration with Dubai Festival City, the Khaleeji Art Museum, the first digital museum dedicated to art and photography of the Arab Gulf States, will host an art show that will celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022. Titled This Is Me: Celebrating Arab Womanhood, the show will bring together six Arab artists and photographers, some of whom were featured in Sekka’s latest issue, who will showcase their work on an Imagine Screen positioned on a 37-story high building in Dubai Festival City. The screen is the largest permanent outdoor projection in the world.
‘While we are specialised in Khaleeji art, this time we opened the space to Arab artists and photographers outside the Gulf region Womanhood,’ says Manar Alhinai, the co-founder of the Khaleeji Art Museum. ‘It is our way of honouring Arab creatives.’
The participating creatives will include Saudi artist Tagreed Albagshi, eL Seed, Omani artist Alia Al Farsi, Moroccan-Belgian photographer Mous Lamrabat, Emirati artist Sumayyah Alsuwaidi and Omani artist Hafsa Al-Tamimi.
Albagshi, who is known for paintings that revolve around Saudi women and their evolving society, will exhibit her painting Empowering the Saudi Woman. The acrylic painting depicts women of various professions gathered around a woman wearing a crown and holding a date palm leaf and the Holy Qur’an on her right hand, and a torch on her left. ‘I am pulled to depicting [Saudi] women’s roles in society through my work. I consider the Saudi woman the strongest woman on the face of the Earth,’ says Albagshi. ‘She is able to prove herself in any place or profession. God gave her this ability to adapt.’ Through her participation in the show, Albagshi aims to send a message to her counterparts, ‘My message to women on International Women’s Day is to persevere, stay strong, maintain a pure heart and intention.’
One of Al Farsi’s most iconic works, But Mostly Me, will also be exhibited in the show. The work, which she painted after construction concluded on her own art gallery, Alia Gallery, in Oman, depicts a woman sitting on a chair with her legs crossed. Reminiscent of resting on a throne, the portrait is an empowering and powerful one. ‘After nearly two years of hard work, I went back home on the last day of constructing Alia Gallery, and sat on a grey sofa. While relaxing, I felt that I deserved to reward myself for building this venue, and that’s how “But Mostly Me” came to life,’ says Al Farsi. ‘In this abstract self-portrait, I placed the woman on a sofa, wearing a traditional Omani dress with my brand colours (orange and silver). The gesture resembles her pride and ambition. The woman is surrounded by words and quotes that I cherish.’ As she celebrates International Women’s Day with this show, Al Farsi says ‘I always make it a point to remember that men such as my late father, my brother and my friends, have always supported me and pushed me to be my best self.’
The internationally acclaimed Lamrabat’s photography will also be included in the show. Pinky Promises, which depicts a woman wearing a pink cone in the desert. ‘When collaborating with Belgian genius Walter Van Beirendonck, I went to his archive to find pieces that inspired me. When I found this one piece (the pink cone) it really reminded me of a hijab. I always get attracted to things that I feel were inspired by our culture and traditions. I’m not saying it was, but for me it did,’ he says.
Anyone familiar with Lamrabat’s work will know that it often centres on women, especially women of the Arab and Muslim worlds. ‘Women are just a strong species. Literally, every human on this planet came from a woman, and was taken care of by a woman. We’ve got to give credit to that. That’s why my mom is my biggest hero and my biggest inspiration. My mom is very traditional in her way of being and she also wears a hijab,’ he says. ‘When we have family over (uncles, aunts etc) I just always sit with the women, and every time I realise that women have so many stories to tell, and I get inspired a lot by these stories.’
Visitors will be able to see the show every night at 8:30 pm from March 8 to March 31st at the Dubai Festival City Promenade. Entry can be made through the Dubai Festival City Mall and is free.
To find out more about the Khaleeji Art Museum, visit www.khaleejiartmuseum.com.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.