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Our Mother's House initiative to be launched in UN
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 11 - 2015

Art Jameel, in partnership with Edge of Arabia and the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN, will launch a multifaceted initiative at the United Nations headquarters In New York.
The initiative — Our Mother's House — aims to draw attention to the urgent issue of cultural heritage protection, while advancing the equal representation of women in the Middle East.
The launch of this long-term program will include an art exhibition (Nov. 16-27) of two commissioned murals that celebrate the hundreds year old tradition of house-painting by skilled female artisans from the village of Rijal Alma in Saudi Arabia.
The installation also includes a presentation to highlight Saudi Arabia's bid to recognize this historic village as an official UNESCO World Heritage site.
Organized in collaboration with multiple sectors of the United Nations, the launch event features a reception and dedicated panel discussion on Nov. 20, organized by The Middle East Institute (Washington D.C) and highlighting the crucial role Asiri women artists have played in the composition and archiving of their local history.
Our Mother's House celebrates the creativity and determination of women artists who play an extraordinary role in preserving the cultural identity of their communities. It features artwork by woman artisans in the Asir region located in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, home to one of the country's most prominent cultural and archeological sites.
The artisans of Asir are an example of the endangered role of women within rural areas of contemporary Saudi society; traditionally at the forefront of recording and sharing histories, in one generation women in remote regions of Saudi Arabia have been marginalized within their communities.
The initiative seeks to promote artistic production, as well as gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Middle East, core missions of Art Jameel and Edge of Arabia. Program advisers include three Saudi artists: Arwa Alnaemi, whose work often explores the relationship of women to larger Saudi Society; Ahmed Mater, best known for his explorations of the Islamic culture and trends of consumerism and transformation in the region; and Fatimah Jaber, an Asiri house painter and founder of Fatimah Museum in Abha,
Additional support is provided by Ali Moghawi, an Asiri cultural historian and member of the Rijal Alma UNESCO World Heritage Bid.
Art Jameel, one of Community Jameel's Initiatives, fosters and promotes contemporary art and creative entrepreneurship across the MENAT region. In partnership with arts organizations worldwide, Art Jameel is developing two arts centers and cultural exchange programs to encourage networking and knowledge sharing.
Art Jameel is the founding partner of Edge of Arabia, The Crossway Foundation, Jeddah Art Week, and The Archive. Edge of Arabia is an independent, non-profit arts initiative, which connects artists and cultural communities between the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region, Europe and United States. — SG


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