ART27’s First Hand: Women Artists combines the work of 4 award-winning artists who have had residencies at Art27 scotland. These international-facing artworks all explore themes of their homes, current and previous, from Pan-African Art by Maryam Yahia Mohamed, street photography by renowned Iranian photojournalist Laleh Sherkat, prints by Polish visual and sound artist Marta Adamowicz, and “Displaced Paintings” by Yemeni Artist Shatha Altowai.
ART27’s First Hand: Women Artists Exhibition will show from 5th – 29th of August, 10AM – 6PM.
Maryam Yahia Mohamed
African Oases: Exhibition of Pan-African art.
In African Oases Maryam Yahia Mohamed explores the diversity and richness of heritage on the African continent, through sculptures and portraits of African women.
“My project is based on the idea of the African heritage of North and South Africa and its costumes and musical instruments. I admire the ancient African civilization because of its music, ornaments, colours and impressive handicrafts. I am presenting it as a meeting of civilizations and diversity of culture, defining a part of the ancient African arts and reflecting them creatively in this work, filtering them through my eyes and sensitivity.”
Maryam’s works were shown in the exhibitions affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture at Atelier Cairo, Luxor International Exhibition and in Tunisia. In the UK her work was presented during the annual Hartlepool Festival, and recently in 2021 at Edinburgh’s Summerhall. African Oases is the artist’s first solo exhibition which was held at Art27 in May-June 2022.
Laleh Sherkat exhibits a range of documentary photography. Laleh’s work captures the experiences, expressions and lives of people through street photography. Previously, Laleh’s “We Are Southside” Exhibition with Art27 celebrated the diverse neighbourhood. The exhibition emerged in response to Art27 scotland’s community consultation which asked about the kind of neighbourhood people in the area wished to live in, and how the space at the Southside Community Centre could help. Laleh’s skilled street photography captures the shared vibrancy, strength and struggles of the many different communities that make the Southside neighbourhood their home.
Laleh Sherkat is an acclaimed Iranian photographer and former photojournalist. She is renowned for being one of the first woman to document the Iran-Iraq war and the first to photograph female prisoners in Iran. She is a founding member of the Iranian Photography Society and has juried and curated many photography exhibitions and competitions in Iran and Scotland.
The Displaced Paintings
Shatha Altowai exhibits a mixture of artworks she brought with her to Scotland from her home country of Yemen.
“They are about 11 figurative paintings that were the last ones made in Yemen in the beginning of the pandemic. They were made during the time when I was witnessing the whole world started to close for the Covid lockdowns, it was the time when I was desperately waiting to flee Yemen in order to resume my art practice in public which was restricted upon the threats I received since 2018.
In another words, it was like if I was personally in a lockdown since 2018 producing art at home waiting desperately to travel to any safe zone through a fellowship award that I had got, but the destination and the time of travel were not determined yet throughout my last 2 years in Yemen, and when I saw the whole world closing I thought that my situation became much worse. So I was painting these random paintings to reflect different feelings I had in that period. However, few months later, the destination & time of travel were determined and I was very happy to know that I will go to Scotland. So I decided that – since I had to leave many paintings behind me in Yemen – at least I had to take these last paintings with me, and I arrived in Edinburgh carrying these paintings with me in the middle of the pandemic. Because they remind me that: There is always hope even in the hardest moments.”
Shatha Altowai is a Yemeni visual artist based in Edinburgh. She has presented at several art galleries in Yemen and beyond. Much of her work reflects aspects of life in her society, and the suffering caused by the ongoing civil war in Yemen.
Shatha has been awarded the IIE-Artist Protection Fund (APF) Fellowship which was hosted at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh (2020-2021). Since her arrival in Edinburgh in November 2021, Shatha has had the opportunity to resume her art practice that was restricted for 2 years since 2018 due to threats she received in Yemen. She has been awarded also the first prize of The John Byrne Award on July 2021 for the first quarter.
Shatha launched several art exhibitions and participated in some cultural events in Scotland in collaboration with different organizations. And as artist-in-residence at Art27Scotland, she exhibited the ‘Scratched Identities’ exhibition (October 2021-January 2022) where she engaged Yemeni women along with women in the Southside neighborhood in Edinburgh. Shatha has also co-created a short-play ‘Saber Came to Tea’ in collaboration with Art27 and is starring with her musician husband Saber.
Marta Adamowicz is a visual and sound artist and illustrator of Polish origin. Her exhibition displays a choice of her prints. Marta has been involved in community work and creating safe spaces through art-making while working with Art27 Scotland and Zero Tolerance charity. Marta’s residency at ART27 engages with the Polish community in the Southside and wider Edinburgh area. ‘City of Homes’ is an audio-visual artwork – an outcome of residency by Marta Adamowicz and Robert Motyka. Artists have set out to work with the Polish community in Edinburgh to invoke a discussion and collect accounts of the immigrant experience and to establish if a connection exists between architectural structures and the concept of ‘home’.
Marta’s work deals mainly with social issues and community focused projects. Her artwork has been a part of many prestigious open exhibitions in Scotland and London. She has received the An Talla Solais award at the RSA Open, which resulted in a residency in the summer of 2019. Her sound work has been presented at local and international sound festivals.
Art27 scotland, 40-42 West Crosscauseway Edinburgh EH8 9JP
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Art27scotland is an Edinburgh-based non-profit Community Interest Company. It is inspired by Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ‘Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, and to enjoy the arts.’ Art27scotland is focused on exploring the powerful and sometimes conflicting relationship between our shared human and cultural rights.
Art27scotland is distinctive in Scotland, as it articulates global shared experiences through its locally-based international Artists in Residence. It aims to celebrate our connectedness to the rest of the world and develop empathy, listening and learning from others’ lived experience. It wants to share this exchange through art in order to stimulate broader democratic discussion and exchange relating to the rights of artistic expression, cultural participation and cultural democracy.
Art27scotland is part of the Culture Collective and funded by Creative Scotland.
For more information, please visit art27scotland.org.