Shurooq Amin picked up a paintbrush before holding a pencil. However, her passion for art did not make her journey to become a world-famous artist easy.
The Kuwaiti artist, considered a provocative work, has been censored throughout her career. What she says is simply an Arab Muslim woman.
That’s why she sought out a creative, borderless world and urged her to delve into NFTs.
On International Women’s Day, we’ll look at how Amin and other creative women in the region are taking advantage of this space.
NFT and censorship
The idea of creating uncensored art was particularly appealing to Amin, as her work often explores the taboos and paradoxes that exist in modern Middle Eastern societies.
An exhibition she held in Kuwait City in 2012 It’s a man’s world It was shut down within 3 hours because it contained “inappropriate” content. This is because it depicts an Arab man living a double life.The exhibition was the one she was first closed to, even though it came after what was called a similar collection. Society GirlsDescribed an Arab woman as living a hidden life.
Weeks after shutdown It’s a man’s worldAmin’s morale has been destroyed.
“It was traumatic, I stayed in bed for days,” she says. The people. “It was as if they were telling me,’You, an Arab Muslim woman, dare to talk about patriarchy.'”
Despite the rebound, Amine in 2013 Pop cono graphic A collection of 15 pieces exploring the social taboo and traditional perception of being a Muslim Arab woman in the series.
The name comes from the innocent tongue slip that she made when she asked why her artwork was criticized.
“As soon as my daughter heard why my work was said to be pop conographic, something clicked in my head. I know exactly what I have to do. I did. “
Fast-forwarding for a few years and then several canceled shows, Amin put together all her previously banned works into one named NFT collection. Popcornographics..
“In this space, you can create your work without fear of silence. That’s the way to put out my art without limits,” she says.
Empowering women in digital space
Now that she has embraced the NFT community, Amin is committed to giving other creatives the same opportunity.
That’s how she crossed the road with Sharifa Al Barami, an Omani tech entrepreneur and angel investor with a similar mission.
Through his experience working with start-ups and entrepreneurs, AlBarami has always been interested in catching up with new technologies that could disrupt the sector and improve the human experience.
“That’s exactly what NFTs do,” she says. “They have so many possibilities in so many areas.”
After extensive research, AlBarami opened a big gap in the creative world as decentralized blockchain technology gives artists legitimate ownership of their original work, making it easier to present, access, or resell. I found it useful to fill. The purchaser is also guaranteed to be the owner of a unique digital asset.
“It’s revolutionary,” she says. “Creatives rarely can really harness their talents. Now is the time to do so.”
The desire to abandon the existing labor market structure and open up space for creatives to harness their skills is a key force behind Al Barami’s work in the NFT community.
“We need more artists in the world,” she says. “We need more people to create and express ourselves. This is the perfect way to empower them.”
Collectors host a weekly Twitter space on NFTs in the Arab world. Meanwhile, she analyzes the technology and guides potential participants. Held in Arabic, the space attracts more than 1,500 viewers and attendees and attracts the attention of Arab women, including Amin.
“This is a sign of what’s going to happen,” she says. “Many young Arab women are eager to know and understand this new technology, and they can quickly jump in and take astounding actions,” said Al Barami.
How NFTs Help Achieve Equality
Another promising NFT project led by a young Arab woman is Beyond Power.
Created in early December, it is a collection of about 10,000 illustrations and characters of women from different cultures and backgrounds, emphasizing expression and diversity.
Beyond Power was founded by Raya Oklah, 29, a UI / UX designer from Jordan who has been using NFTs full-time for the past five months.
“I quit my job to focus all my energy and potential on this, which is how much I believe in NFTs and what they can do,” she says.
She started by creating some characters and later hired a team of designers to help her grow the collection.
The purpose of Beyond Power is to equalize the opportunities for women in the Web3 era.
“Web 2, or the Internet we know and use today, is full of gender disparities,” says Oklah. “It’s a non-uniform space, but Web3 is different.”
Because Web 2 is centralized, decisions are mostly made by male-controlled authorities. According to Okra, this leaves no room for influence.
Web3’s non-hierarchical structure, on the other hand, allows women to create their own rules.
“It’s a space where we can shape ourselves,” she says. People.. “And we will open it up in a way that gives women equal opportunities.”
The The Beyond Power collection, due out in April, is a collection of powerful words for female characters wearing sunglasses.
“Powerful, fierce, hustler, etc … these words are meant to serve as affirmations,” says Okra. “We want all women to see our NFTs and see themselves with those characters.
“Because they are powerful, they are capable and will make a difference in this revolutionary space.”
How NFTs Affect Identity
Despite being intangible, some NFT artworks leave identifiable traces.
This is the work of Lebanese fashion designer Noorhage, who entered the world of digital art in early 2021.
Her first NFT was a portrait of three of the most powerful historical female figures in the Arab world. Nefertiti, Queen of Ancient Egypt. Dido, the founder and queen of Carthage, a Phoenician city-state in modern Tunisia. Zenobia, Queen of the Palmyra Empire in modern Syria.
These were sold within 24 hours.
“I was surprised,” she says. “I first worked on those pieces as a side project, but then I knew I needed to spend more time and effort.”
It wasn’t until last year that Hage actually delved into technology, even though her brother wanted her to join the NFT in 2017.
“It immediately clicked for me, I was immediately hooked on them,” she says.
She used her digital art skills to create a second collection of odes to her grandmother and her life.
“My artwork generally focuses on recording experiences and transferring memory from generation to generation, and this collection was no exception,” says Hage.
“My grandmother lived a really intriguing life. She traveled places, gathered things, and had a lot of experience. I used the clothes she gave me for her life. I wanted to translate it through her portrait. “
Despite the personal feelings behind the work, Hage’s work was successful among collectors, some of whom created the first NFT from her collection.
“This shows that loyalty to ourselves can be of great help, especially in such new and supportive media,” says Hage.
“It’s a very welcome community and not as scary as it looks. So anyone who wants to join is welcome. This is just the beginning.”
Updated: March 7, 2022 8:31 am