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Campaign employs art to ‘break silence’ around women’s marginalisation, exclusion

By Maria Weldali - Dec 07,2019 - Last updated at Dec 07,2019

A portrait of a woman painted on an eight-floor building on Arar Street in Amman; a collaborative project between two young artists showcased during the ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ (Photo by Maria Weldali)

AMMAN — “Break the Silence”, a campaign that encourages women to stand their ground, uses artistic expression to emphasise women’s integral role in society.

Taking place during the annual “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”, “Break the Silence” is organised by online gallery Artmejo in partnership with the Embassy of The Netherlands in Jordan, Artmejo Founder Hind Joucka told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The campaign urges local artists and writers to tell stories of how women have been marginalised in pursuing education and accessing economic opportunities, and “methodically excluded across time”, Joucka added.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which aims to eliminate the objectification and exploitation of women, began on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and is set to conclude on Human Rights Day on December 10, the founder said.

In response to an open call for artists, creators and innovators to create “sources of inspiration” that shed light on gender-based violence, with the aim of elevating women’s voices and concerns, Artmejo received over 70 submissions. Sixteen artworks were chosen by a panel of experts, Editor-in-Chief of Artmejo’s online magazine Sama Shahrouri told The Jordan Times.

“Throughout the 16 days, the 16 artworks will be featured on the embassy’s and Artmejo’s social media platforms,” Shahrouri added.

One of these pieces is a portrait of a woman painted on an eighth-floor building on Arar Street, Shahrouri said, adding that the mural is a collaborative project between two young artists. 

“Arar Street is a special location as it is near the downtown area. What also makes this mural resonate with real life is the girl’s expression and the words written by the young Jordanian poet Seba Abbadi,” she added.

Marimar Mohammad, one of the two artists painting the mural, said: “We used black and white in this picture to take the focus away from the identity of the woman, focusing on her sigh, her closed eyes and her head held up high.”

Dalal Mitwalli, the other artist, added: “This woman comes forward in full swing to represent all females from all ages, redefining this male-driven world.”

Joucka thanked the neighbourhood and the art community for their “helpful contribution”, noting that this kind of contribution is “the essence of such campaigns”.

Artmejo is an online platform that was created back in 2014 by Joucka and is geared towards bringing together all aspects of art in Jordan, Shahrouri said, adding that its online magazine Artmejournal began in July 2018.

“This online magazine has 19 Arab writers from all around the world, bringing many concepts together using art for readers beyond the region,” Shahrouri noted.

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