The Jewels of Allah by Nina Ansary
Born in Tehran, Iran, Nina Ansary left her country of birth at the onset of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and has not returned since.
Growing up in New York City, she received her B.A. in Sociology from Barnard College and her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University. In 2013, Nina received her PhD in History from Columbia University.
Nina’s upcoming book, The Jewels of Allah (July 2015), is based on her doctoral thesis on the women’s movement in post-revolutionary Iran. Inspired by her scholarly journey, Nina seeks to shatter the stereotypical assumptions and the often misunderstood story of women in Iran today. The book additionally highlights the accomplishments and the powerful female voices in Iran’s past and present, to expose the concealed components leading to a full-blown feminist movement within a post-revolutionary patriarchal society.
(Image Credit: Morteza Pourhosseini)
Nature Middle East this week provides heartbreaking accounts of the impact of war upon Iraqi and Syrian children:
How fear has stolen the childhood of a generation
Across the Arab world many children are showing signs of severe psychological distress and support efforts are often futile in the face of continuing raging conflicts.
The toll of war on learning for a generation
The Syrian civil war is creating an uneducated generation — burdening social systems in countries of refuge, and forcing children into illegal labour.
Iraqi children endure a crippled healthcare system
Thirty years of conflict, sanctions and a mass exodus of medical professionals has severely compromised the health of Iraqi children. And there’s no respite on the horizon.
Once proud, Iraq’s schools reel from decades of setbacks
Schools in Iraq continue to struggle, limiting learning opportunities for the country’s youth. Educational indicators show a marked decline as wars, sanctions and sectarian strife have stripped Iraq’s education system of resources.
In the mountains of Pakistan, a mother and her ten-year-old daughter flee their home on the eve of the girl’s marriage to a tribal leader. A deadly hunt for them begins.
Premièred at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 5 2014.
A forced-network visualisation of key players & notable relationships in the Middle East created by David McCandless & UniversLab. Part of the Knowledge is Beautiful project. Powered by VizSweet.
The New Museum presents “Here and Elsewhere,” a major exhibition of contemporary art from and about the Arab world
July 16–September 28, 2014
The exhibition brings together more than forty-five artists from over fifteen countries, many of whom live and work internationally. In keeping with the New Museum’s dedication to showcasing the most engaging new art from around the globe, “Here and Elsewhere” is the most recent in a series of exhibitions that have introduced urgent questions and new aesthetics to US audiences.
(Image Credit: Marwa Arsanios, Have You Ever Killed a Bear? Or Becoming Jamila, 2014 (still). Video, color, sound; 28 min. Courtesy the artist)
Syria’s Apex Generation
9 June - 28 August (Dubai) | 11 June - 28 August (Beirut)
Syria’s Apex Generation explores the myriad ways artists are responding to the current conflict in Syria through multifaceted works that reflect a new phase of the country’s contemporary art. Focusing on painters who launched their careers in the 2000s when the Damascus art scene experienced significant growth, the exhibition will demonstrate how these artists have contributed to the catapulting of Syrian art over the past decade, which reached a high point just before the onset of the war.
(Painting: Massacre (2012), Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery)
For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore and elucidate the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country’s ongoing economic development. The conference is predicated on the notion that the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation is the indispensable key to sustainable growth.
In compliance with sanctions and corresponding laws, conference participants will educate each other on the issues impacting high tech entrepreneurship in Iran, the extent to which prevailing conditions in the country deviate from the “global innovation model,” and the steps that should be taken to reduce this gap. Some of the issues that will be explored in the conference include the status of civilian research and development spending, startup growth, protection of intellectual property rights, laws and regulations governing bankruptcy, attraction of venture capital, cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurs’ failure, existence of innovation clusters, ease of starting businesses, and the availability and accessibility of mentors and role models. Special attention will also be given to how Tehran can thrive by becoming a regional entrepreneurial hotspot, and the role that the city’s diverse and cosmopolitan nature can play in fostering creative tensions and intellectual exchanges that are paramount for unleashing innovation.
LOCAL / NOT LOCAL: Arabic & Iranian Typography is an exhibition in California, USA. The show is about showcasing foreign or Non-Latin typography, by designers living in the US paying homage to their cultural roots through their design practice. In this case Local Not Local is an exhibition that showcases the works of Arabic and Iranian designers based in California. This connection is reflected in their work in the form of on-going client work from the Middle East, self initiated projects, or locally based client work.
“The point of this exhibit is to break the notion that Arabic and Iranian typography is only practised in the Middle East. Locally based Middle Eastern designers reveal through their design practice that Arabic and Iranian typography has a place in California through community based projects, collaborations, and client work from abroad done locally,” says the co-curator of the exhibit Maece Seirafi.
A series of Arab and Iranian designers based in California will be participating in the show: Yusef Alahmad, Sam Anvari, Milka Broukhim, Kourosh Beigpour, Reem Hammad, Pouya Jahanshahi, Paymon Pojhan, Ebrahim Poustinchi, Maece Seirafi, and Shilla Shakoori.
June 26 – Aug 29, 2014
Opening Night Thursday June 26 | 6:00 P.M.
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, California
Women in Physics in the Palestinian Territories
Scenes from the life of women physicists in Palestine.
This is a study in observation, and looks at the multifaceted nature of the lives of women scientists in Palestine. Thoughts on academic opportunity and on career are presented alongside those relating to society, family and the realities of living under occupation.
In the Palestinian Territories, more women than men study physics, yet women faculty members remain a very small minority. At Birzeit University, outside Ramallah in the West Bank, Chair of the Physics Department Dr Wafaa Khater offers a unique example of success to her postgraduate students. The demands of social norms, of gender bias across the international scientific community, in addition to the challenges of pursuing science in the developing world and under occupation render a career in physics a difficult undertaking. Yet despite these obstacles, and in an ever changing landscape, more and more women are choosing to embark on a career in physics.
(-Photo-essay by Kate Shaw, ICTP, Trieste, Italy and Jack Owen, Freelance Photographer, London, England)
Behind the headlines is a series of events at the Museum exploring the cultural context behind news stories from across the world, looking closely at objects from the Museum’s collection.
Before 2011, the Syrian art scene was limited by the number of galleries and spaces for showing work, and the government control of cultural institutions. Since the uprising, an outpouring of creative expression from artists across all levels of Syrian society has formed a response to the violence. This panel discussion, chaired by Malu Halasa, co-editor of Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, and including panellists Issam Kourbaj, Zaher Omareen, Khalil Younes and Venetia Porter, will consider the pre-revolution period through looking at British Museum objects, the change that revolution has bought to the country’s artists, and the new possibilities that lie ahead.
The British Museum
Friday 20 June
BP Lecture Theatre
Art and Culture from the Frontline
Edited by Malu Halasa, Zaher Omareen and Nawara Mahfoud
In Syria, culture has become a critical line of defence against tyranny.
Syria Speaks is a celebration of a people determined to reclaim their dignity, freedom and self-expression. It showcases the work of over fifty artists and writers who are challenging the culture of violence in Syria. Their literature, poems and songs, cartoons, political posters and photographs document and interpret the momentous changes that have shifted the frame of reality so drastically in Syria.
Moving and inspiring, Syria Speaks is testament to the courage, creativity and imagination of the Syrian people.
(Cover image: Poster by Alshaab alsori aref tarekh showing a character by Mohamed Tayeb. Zaytoun, the Little Refugee, from the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus, is a political, artistic and educational project, which contests the monopoly of power to write history)
Published: June 2014
Although she was ready to give
herself to me, I abstained
and did not accept the temptation Satan offered.
She came unveiled in the night,
illuminated by her face,
night put aside its shadowy
veils as well.
Each one of her glances
could cause hearts to turn over.
But I clung to the divine precept
that condemns lust and reined in
the capricious horses of my passion
so that my instinct would not rebel against chastity.
And so I passed the night with her
like a thirsty little camel
whose muzzle keeps it from nursing.
by Ibn Faraj (10th Century)
Poems of Arab Andalusia
Publisher: City Lights Publishers
"…you would be be squelching around with blood on the floor…"
The artist Bob and Roberta Smith was inspired to produce this art work after listening to Dr David Nott in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s PM show. In the interview Dr David Nott talks about his experience working as a surgeon in war torn Syria.
The art piece is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2014 from 9 June to 17 August.
You can listen to the inspiring interview here.
(Image Credit: BBCPM)