Juman Nimri’s artworks engage audience in Jordan’s political, social issues

An undated photo of Juman Nimri next to one of her her paintings (Photo: Handout from Juman Nimri)
An undated photo of Juman Nimri next to one of her paintings (Photo: Handout from Juman Nimri)
AMMAN — “I've always been interested in the social and political surrounding environment, and it's from there that I get my inspiration for my artwork,” local artist Juman Nimri said in an interview with Jordan News.اضافة اعلان

“War, Arab Spring, women and children’s issues, refugees, and other themes are all addressed in several of my (pieces),” she added.

Nimri often creates installation art — a three-dimensional art form that is generally site-specific and intended to change people's perceptions on different issues.

An undated photo of Juman Nimri besides “The Soul's Repose” Installation (Photo: Handout from Juman Nimri)

“I use installation work when I have an idea that I can't explain through painting,” she explained.

She spoke specifically about her "Immigrant Spirit" installation — a work of art that represents souls who have migrated away from their homes, which were once havens filled with peace and comfort.

Her “Cloud Residence” installation, showcased in her sixth solo exhibition “Another Dream” at Orient Gallery in Amman in 2018, was also designed to represent immigration.

“I reflect a suitcase (in my painting) as a condition of eeriness, whether mandatory or optional, but with the same emotions in both circumstances,” Nimri said.

Through her work, Nimri also pays great attention to children's issues in society. Several of her collections support children’s rights, like the “Laila Ya Laila” and “On our bodies” installations.

A painting from “Another Dream” collection by local artist Juman Nimri (Photo: Handout from Juman Nimri)

“Children are the first victims of wars and crises, and I have expressed childhood in several of my paintings and installations,” she said.

“The child shall have his full rights in society.”

Several of Nimri’s artworks engage with social and political issues prevalent across Jordan and the Middle East, such as women's rights.

Nimri’s “The Soul's Repose” installation was made from 150 dolls weaved with fabric, each with its own unique identity.

A painting from “Paintings in Quarantine 2020” collection (Photo: Handout from Juman Nimri)

“This artwork is a dedication to all of the women who were beaten, insulted physically and emotionally, and deprived of their rights,” she explained. “They are not victims anymore, they are angels, perhaps flying above or rising above the human race.

For now, they need no laws and rules to protect them nor do they need humans to give them justice.”

According to the artist, the painting "Little Souls" and the installations “On our Bodies” and “The Soul's Repose” were first showcased in Amman and recently showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yinchuan in China.

Nimri, who obtained her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Yarmouk University in Irbid, has shown her work in six solo exhibitions and participated in numerous art residencies in other countries. She has also taken part in many group exhibitions both inside and outside Jordan, as well as multiple symposiums and workshops.

“I began my career in 2000, participating in several exhibitions and became interested in graphic art (printmaking). In 2005, I had my first exhibition with the French Cultural Center (Institut Français de Jordanie),” she told Jordan News.

She said that the cactus plant has been a motif in her work since the beginning.

“There has been an unnoticed presence of the cactus in my work. In my newer work, it is reborn again to give a strong presence,” she said.
“The cactus has a wide range of connotations and meanings, which change depending on the artwork.”

Since 2008, she has run “Studio Beit Luweibdeh,” where she teaches art to children and organizes annual group exhibitions for them every year. “As an artist, I have to support the art culture in children, parents, and the community,” she said.

Nimri also created a painting collection during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Amman, entitled “Paintings in Quarantine 2020.”

The collection represents the social and psychological situation of civilians in Jordan during lockdowns, according to the artist.

The angels depicted in the painting were meant to reflect the lessons and messages learnt from the pandemic.

Currently, the painter is working on NFT (non-fungible token) art — a digital asset where artworks can be purchased and sold online.

Continually evolving, she hopes to try new media and expand her practice even further in the future.

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