Lebanese and Egyptian-Saudi curators Christina Shoucair and Kinzy Diab.
The recent art exhibition titled "Through Their Eyes: Perspectives Unveiled" at the Oxo Tower in London provided a captivating glimpse into the diverse artistic expressions of women from Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the UAE. The exhibition, curated by Christina Shoucair and Kinzy Diab, sought to spotlight the multiplicity of voices within the Arab female experience.
Shoucair stressed how important diversity is to the selecting process, stressing its representation of a range of geography, artistic styles and media. The eclectic scenes featured in the gallery included women seated around a dinner table, niqabs adorned with rhinestones, and anime-style representations of Egyptian popular culture.
"Crevice" (2023) by Palestinian-Jordanian artist Farah Foudeh.
The exhibition was a collaborative effort, with each artist exploring the subject of where the real significance of art resides. They debated whether it is innate to the piece, visible to the viewer, or a reflection of the artist's intent. The primary theme of the artwork was viewer viewpoint, but the artists also tackled a wide range of societal themes in their diversified subject matter.
"Fidelity" (2023) by Saudi artist Amira Nazer.
One particularly noteworthy work by Bahraini artist Huda Jamal, titled "Titled: You," showed three ladies seated at a table staring intensely at the viewer, questioning conventional roles and allowing the observer to ponder their unsaid thoughts. In order to explore the significance of traditional clothes in the face of cultural shifts, Saudi artist Amira Nazer used a theoretical method, printing pictures of thobe and shumagh onto cloth to create a complex visual experience.
"Rhinestone Ngab" (2023) by Moroccan artist Sara Benabdallah.
Metaphors and pictures were used by other artists to promote reflection on politics and social issues. The political and commercialization of women's bodies was addressed by Jordanian-Palestinian photographer Farah Foudeh in her series "Crevice," which drew comparisons between the female form and the male-dominated arid environment. With captions drawn from Nabati poetry, Emirati artist Aliyah Alawadhi's "The East is a Career" critiqued colonial intrusion by fusing distorted images from a 1940s film about Middle Eastern oil development.
“Through Their Eyes: Perspectives Unveiled” on display at the Oxo Tower in London
Kinzy Diab highlited the significance of contextual viewpoints in influencing the changing interpretations of art, stressing the vital roles played by a range of experiences, sociopolitical backgrounds, and geographical settings. The exhibition, serving as the launch of Shoucair and Diab's art collective Hayaty Diaries, underscored the importance of recognizing and celebrating the rich tapestry of the Arab female experience beyond stereotypes and preconceptions.