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Woman-led art exhibition adds character to social narratives

Rawan Hammad
Rawan Hammad, one of the ten women behind the She is Art exhibition, explains the idea of one of her pieces to a visitor. (Photo: Handout from Rawan Hammad)
AMMAN — Ten young Jordanian women joined forces at Luweibdeh’s Fann w Chai café to showcase their art, depicting stories of womanhood, childhood and the Palestinian struggle.اضافة اعلان

The artists became acquainted over the course of several fine arts workshop held around the Kingdom, and together breathed life into a joint exhibition they dubbed: “She is Art”, which shut its doors on Sunday.

The ten women hail from across the Kingdom, including Ajloun, Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa’. Most of them are university graduates who share a passion for caricature, fine arts, and animation.

Rawan Hammad, a 32 year-old animator and studio owner, took part in the event with pieces depicting young Bedouin girls in an effort to incorporate elements of Jordanian culture into cartoons that would appeal to children.

“I wanted to promote our culture and shed the light on the importance of encouraging kids to enjoy local cartoons through Jordanian characters,” Hammad told Jordan News. “Children prefer foreign cartoons because they are of better quality. I’m trying to provide the same quality with Arab characters so our children would stay connected to our culture.”

Hammad and her nine peers participated in a six-month workshop conducted by cartoonist Omar Al-Abdallat who helped introduced them to each other, and gave them the chance to exchange ideas and experiences.

“I conducted the workshop for these girls because as an artist, I know that society highlights male artists, but neglects female artists. I tried to target young women to encourage and motivate them to continue working in art,” Abdallat said in statements to local media.

“The idea is to shift focus from artists as individuals and promote teamwork instead. This allows novice artists to meet their more experienced counterparts, and exchange techniques,” he added. 

“The participants were selected based on their various skills, backgrounds and experiences,” Abdallat explained.   

“Meeting the girls has taught me a lot. I was so happy to know that there is a rich artistic environment in Jordan. My content now targets a broader audience, not just children,” Hammad told Jordan News.

Ghada Jermy, a fine arts graduate from the University of Jordan, pitched into the exhibition with three paintings, each examining women’s social woes from a different angle.

“Although my paintings expose women’s suffering, I focused on their strength, not their weakness. Society has convinced us that we’re weak, although I believe we’re just as strong as men,” Jermy said.

“Painters in Jordan are not familiar with each other, our works get more attention and fame than we do,” she explained. “So, given this opportunity, we were able to present our works in our own art exhibition. Fan w Chai gave us the validation we deserve,” Jermy explained.

Read more Culture & Arts stories.