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The power of art

Tamadher Al Fahal

Tamadher Al Fahal  

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Tamadher Al Fahal’s The Diary of a Mad Arabian woman is a humorous take on what it means to be an Arab woman

“My name is Tamadher and I am a mad Arabian woman,” began Tamadher Al Fahal’s TEDx Bangalore talk. Tamadher’s ‘madness’ is in her creativity, expressed powerfully in her zine, which is pronounced ‘zeen’ and is a smaller version of a magazine Diary of a Mad Arabian Woman.

Tamadher, who has a background in interior design, says The Diary of a Mad Arabian Woman, which she created after attending a zine workshop, emerged out of her desire to express the anger and hurt she felt at how women are perceived. “The idea developed from a series of social encounters of how women are judged. There are notions that they lack sense because of their emotional nature. How they are weak. All these statements made me angry and frustrated.” She adds that such beliefs aren’t just restricted to the Arab world, but are universal.

Tamadher says that she is against stereotyping and coming to quick judgements about people based on their identity and how they look. “When I think of my religion as being supportive, others might think it represses me, which is not true.”

Though entertaining and fun, Diary of a Mad Arabian Woman is marked by a spirit of enquiry, of questioning long-held accepted beliefs and traditions and delving deep to derive her own understanding of her identity.

Tamadher strongly believes in the power of art. “I have always considered it a therapeutic tool. Art can be used to express subtle nuances, without hurting anyone’s sentiments,” says Tamadher, who has explored in her MA thesis, the idea of creating “a new image of Islamic art and design, based on philosophical references and by looking back at the profound principles of faith.”

In 2012, Tamadher and her partner, Nada Alaradi founded Project Ulafa’a. The initiative is based on the powerful belief that art unifies. “It is an initiative of young artists. Through our work, which is based on reconciliation through the Arts, we bring society and the community together.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:41:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/the-power-of-art/article6580552.ece

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