The 1st edition of Artoday’s Empower Her Art Forum set off on 20 May 2023 at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC), featuring artworks by more than 100 female artists from 35 counties.
This edition features a diverse collection of art forms including painting, digital art, sculpture, installation, photography and NFTs.
Running till 24 May, the forum is organised by Artoday, an Egyptian-International social enterprise. The guests of honour for the 1rst edition are the French sculptor Camille Claudel ( 1864 – 1943), and the Egyptian veteran painter Zeinab al-Seginy (born in 1930).
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) took part in the opening ceremony. Coordinator of the Arts and Literature Committee at NCW, Dr Rania Yehia, Professor and Head of the Philosophy of Art Department at the Higher Institute of Art Criticism, Academy of Arts, expressed her happiness at the launch of the forum which, she says, represents Egypt’s appreciation of the role of arts, and the position of Egyptian women who rank among the pioneers of the fine arts.
“Arts in their various fields,” Dr Yehia noted, “are a means to support women’s endeavours to obtain their rights. This is manifested in some of the creative artworks by Egyptian pioneer artists, such as Injy Aflatoun; Gazbiya Sirry; Effat Nagy; Marguerite Nakhla; and Zeinab al-Seginy. They all conveyed different visions to the Egyptian—and human—community, depicted in numerous diverse artworks.”
Dr Yehia expressed her wish that the artworks by pioneer Egyptian artists should be documented, as a step toward introducing the new generation to them. “And of course we cannot forget the male pioneers of fine art, who supported women’s issues, topping them all the great sculptor Mahmoud Mukhtar (1891 – 1934) whose outstanding masterpiece Nahdet Masr (Egypt’s Awakening) depicts the Egyptian peasant woman awakening the Sphinx.
Dr Yehia reviewed the NCW’s efforts in the field of supporting women’s issues through arts. “That is why the council has recently formed a committee for arts and literature,” she said. She explained that the council has signed a cooperation protocol with the largest cultural and artistic institution in Egypt, the Academy of Arts, with the aim of contributing to lift Egyptian women through art.
During the 16-day campaign launched annually to raise awareness on combating violence against women, Dr Yehia said, an art competition was initiated under the title “Be” to encourage male and female students to present distinctive artworks that depict the principles of freedom, respect, equality, combating all forms of violence or discrimination against women, and promoting social protection.
The NCW’s women committee also created a mural entitled “Let’s protect her”. The mural is a collage of multiple artworks created by young male and female students from all over Egypt, who had taken part in a collective effort to create paintings denouncing violence against women and persons with special needs.
23 May 2023
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