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These Female Arab Artists Are Exhibiting Their Work At The MEI In Washington

The Middle East Institute (MEI) Arts and Culture Center in Washington, USA, is running an exhibition called “Perceptible Rhythms/Alternative Temporalities” that explores the impact of conflict, urbanization and the climate crisis on environments in the Middle East.

Running until April 28th 2023, the exhibition has been curated by Maya El Khalil, and features artists from the Middle East and South Asia who use multimedia, installation, photography, drawing and painting, to explore ways to live in harmony with the planet by reconnecting with past cultural histories, remembering extinct plant species, and imagining alternative ways for humankind to attune to nature.

The featured Middle Eastern female artists that are participating are:

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Sarah Almehairi - UAE

Sarah Almehairi is a practicing artist from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She expresses herself by her use of various mediums, including mixed media, sculpture, painting, book art, and fiber art. Her art explores the themes of identity, language, materiality and memory through narrative work as well as abstraction. In her work featured in the exhibition, “Adjustments of the Daily,” geometric shapes and block colors serve as a constant reminder of strolling through urban areas.

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Sarah Abu Abdallah – Saudi Arabia

Saudi artist Sarah Abu-Abdallah’s work “challenges the impossible” by combining unlikely elements and connections as a gesture of hope and outlet for new narratives through video, installation, poetry, images and conversations. Through references to gender roles and the female experience, Abu Abdullah's explores issues of obscurity and value, probing the social and cultural conditions of contemporary Saudi Arabia. Her work entitled “Fortitude” explores issues of surrounding the social and cultural conditions of contemporary Saudi Arabia.

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Nadia Bseiso - Jordan

Nadia Bseiso is a Jordanian documentary photographer based in Amman. She focuses on long term projects, based on personal research in geopolitics, history, anthropology, and environmental degradation. In 2016, she was selected for the Arab Documentary Photography Program, funded by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Magnum Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund, for her project “Infertile Crescent,” which is featured in this exhibition and explores the impact of water scarcity in villages along Jordan’s border with Israel.

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Marianne Fahmy

Marianne Fahmy is an Egyptian artist from Alexandria, Egypt. Her medium of work is predominantly installation and film and focuses mostly on narratives of people, architecture and language, where she finds possibility for creative additions, that transform prescribed conventional narratives into a boundless artwork. In conversation with scientists and urban planners, she adds believability to the fabricated narratives she creates, where she combines science, historical events and myth to imagine a future society to come. In her work “Disappearing Land,” she imagines a future map of the Nile Delta river basin, which scientists predict will face severe flooding.

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Moza Almatrooshi - UAE

Participating artist, Moza Almatrooshi's uses fiction as a frame for the exploration and conversations around gender and geopolitics. Almatrooshi's reliance on the symbolism of food and magical realism creates translations of alternative truths, excavated from the severe erasure of Arabian polytheistic practices. These translations explore systems that thrive on the homogenization of doctored religious and national identities, and the ways in which they are mobilized to achieve set agendas.

In the UAE based artist’s work, entitled “The Agriculture School,” she positions farmers and foragers as the primary source of knowledge and invites them to set off to various mountainous regions to engage with each other and the land.

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