From the SWAN Calendar: Golden Thread & Pori Art Museum Present Middle Eastern Women Artists
Dear Women in the Arts & Media Coalit,
Golden Thread Productions will honor over a century of activism by Middle Eastern women artists on Thursday, March 12 at 8 p.m. at its annual International Women’s Day celebration, What Do the Women Say?
Presented at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, California, the evening will feature original music as well as readings of early 20th century and contemporary poetry and prose.
The program will include the Bay Area debut of award-winning Syrian-American opera singer Saousan Jarjour, who will sing excerpts from a new opera by composer Julia Adolphe with a libretto by Iranian-born writer Nahal Navidar, as well as Syrian folk songs. Jarjour has sung both classical and contemporary roles and has won a variety of competitions. Nahal Navidar wrote her first play as an emotional response to living in a post 9/11 world. Her writing explores issues of identity of under-represented voices and women’s strength, often using magical realism to evoke the poetic core of emotions.
There will also be readings of early 20th-century writings by women from Iraq, Tunisia, and Algeria selected from Opening the Gates, A Century of Arab Feminist Writing, an anthology that features stories and essays from as early as 1867 that shatter the stereotypes of Middle Eastern women as submissive and silent. Published in 1990, the collection brings together many women’s voices including, Etel Adnan, Mary Ziyada, Nawal Al Saadawi, Huda Shaarawi, as well as authors never before translated into English.
The early 20th century readings will be presented alongside readings in English and Persian by leading Bay Area poets and authors: Elmaz Abinader (This House, My Bones), Anita Amirrezvani (The Blood of Flowers, Equal to the Sun), Najia Karim, and Deema Shehabi (Thirteen Departures From the Moon). Golden Thread artistic associate Haleh Hatami will facilitate a conversation with the artists following the presentations.
The videos explore the intersections of all forms of inequality, such as sexism, racism, and speciesism. Each artist reveals a unique perspective on issues such as gender communication, prejudice, shifting identities, violence, war, and the relationship between humans, non-human animals, nature, and the environment. Evocative images from the exhibit are available on Flickr.
The videos in this exhibition are grouped under six thematic headings: Nature, Self, Walls, Defiance, Violence, and Displacement. According to the curators, Alysse Stepanian (USA) and Neda Darzi (Iran), "The exhibit is not about Nietzsche, nationalities, race, religion, or politics . . . The title of the show points to the prevalent dualistic patriarchal worldview that subordinates and exploits nature and the powerless, separates men from women, and humans from 'animals.' "
Pictures and biographies of all the artists are available online. The artists represented are: Fereshteh Alamshah, Morehshin Allahyari, Maneli Aygani, Neda Darzi, Mozhgan Erfani, Samira Eskandarfar, Celia Eslamieh Shomal, Roxy Farhat, Tara Goudarzi, Samira Hashemi, Haleh Jamali, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Shahrzad Malekian, Nooshin Naficy, Azadeh Nilchiani, Raha Rastifard, Farideh Shahsavarani, Alysse Stepanian, Parya Vantankhah, Raheleh (Minoosh) Zomorodinia.
Co-curator Alysse Stepanian has lectured about interconnected oppressions during the exhibitions at each venue. Her lecture notes are included in a catalog published by the Pori Art Museum, and a vegan “Nietzsche Sandwich” has been added to the museum café menu on the occasion of this exhibition.
For more information about the exhibit, please visit the curator's website: Manipulated Image.
Everyone Is Invited to Celebrate SWAN Day!
Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day is a grassroots "do it yourself" holiday, and everyone is invited to join us in honoring women's creativity. The official date for the 8th International SWAN Day is Saturday, March 28, 2015, but please feel free to celebrate it any time during March or April that is convenient for you. The spirit of SWAN events is far more important than the exact dates.
There are no fees or application forms required to participate in SWAN Day. If you decide to create a SWAN event or if you are doing any event in March or April featuring women artists, we invite you to create a free listing on our official SWAN Calendar.
We will be featuring SWAN events in the WomenArts Blog and newsletters during March and April 2015. If you want us to write about you, creating a listing in the SWAN Calendar is the best way to let us know about your event.
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