SARA BIN SAFWAN
FOUNDER & CURATOR
Created Banat Collective with the intention to connect with other creative minded people and to expand her skills in critical writing and curation. Graduated with a bachelors in Culture, Criticism & Curation from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2015. Having sparked an interest in post-colonial theory during university, the issue of identity rung loud and clear, personally being from the UAE and Honduras with many crossings of each culture and religion, Sara naturally gravitated towards exploring in the way cultures function especially within the Middle-Eastern and Woman context. She has co-curated a couple of exhibitions in London, including Minor Transitions exhibited at 198 Learning Centre in Brixton.
While she has a passion for curation,writing and learning about artists, she also picks up a camera or ballpoint pen and makes some art from time to time. She also contributes for Azeema Magazine, and works for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi as a Researcher.
Eman Bahrani is a 19 years old Bahraini student attending a Public Health course in Qatar University in which she is a member of an Astronomy Club. She is a professional multi-tasker and a slow book reader. On most days, she sees words in her mind’s eye swarming before her till she writes them down and shares the poetry with her friends. Sometimes, her fingers twitch and she can almost trace a sketch for a painting in the air. She loves logging on YouTube to find new music but always ends up either on the weird side or the physics channels. Hangouts with her involve museums, galleries or movie theaters.
Eman always tries to find something new to do every summer. Last year, she joined an indoor graffiti class, but she would rather pet dogs than tag walls in the heat. This year, however, she is working at a call center. After customers drain her social battery by the end of the shift, she falls into a Wikipedia wormhole till she recharges to socialize again.
ALIYAH AL AWADHI
An Animation Design major at Zayed University, she lives in Abu Dhabi, and has lived here her whole life. She mainly works with mixed media as an art form, and is also an illustrator and a poet. She describes some of her art as Arab Feminism; mainly in that it deals with ideas that plague women in Arab societies, like the odd dichotomy between oversexualizing women but then alternately wanting to hide them away and secure their “purity”. She has also dabbled in performance art in and around Manarat Al Saadiyat.
She has been exhibited at the French Alliance and has also volunteered for Abu Dhabi Art, doing curatorial work.
She has also been a regular poetry performer at Rooftop Rhythms and has also won competitions with her writings, including being published in the UAE's first crowd-sourced book, "Soul Beats".
Farrah Fray is a writer and activist living in London. Growing up between London and Libya, she was always attuned to the cultural and societal differences between the two countries; and by expansion, between the Middle East and the West.
Settling in Libya up until the uprising in 2011, she knew that she not only wanted to write about the differences between Libya and elsewhere, but also about the things that unite and connect people during turbulent and tragic times.
Her work focuses on culture, displacement, feminism and identity. She has also translated for documentaries and Haawiyat, a comic aimed at Syrian refugees. Her poetry collection, The Scent of my Skin, was published last year by Palewell Press. Most recently, Farrah is working on a series of collaborations with Libyan artists to explore Libya’s fragmented identity.
Through her poetry she hopes to expand the understanding and representation of middle eastern women in modern society.
Fatema Nooh is a Bahraini graphic designer currently based in Berlin. Curious to see the world, she moved to Germany from the Gulf and soon noticed the big distortion of Middle East and Arabs, especially women.
Viewing things from a different perspective pushed her to use visual design to fight mainstream ideas and stereotypes, in order to arise conversations about more delicate, difficult topics. The misrepresentations of Arabs motivated her to take action to change the wrong ideas. She strives to show the concrete inner sides of people; her ultimate goal is to turn misrepresentation into understanding.
She likes typography and photography, she’s not afraid of iteration and is always looking for something new to learn. When she is not busy creating amazing designs, you might find her in museums, art and design galleries, lost in the vast world of books, or at the shopping malls, between fashion and make-up.