“Art connects women” – Creating, connecting and transforming
April 30, 2020
The world might not be built and ready for resilient, self- determined, change-oriented women. Nevertheless, they have an inner drive and the potential to pave their own way. Connecting such women, who’s aims are to create and see change in our world is the aim of the Programme “Art connects women”.
The Programme’s founder is Zaahirah Muthy, a passionate art activist, artist and also a businesswoman from Mauritius Island. Being a recognized artist herself, Muthy has dedicated her life to encouraging positive social change and channeling the message of empowerment through her art and artistic initiatives.
“Originally from Mauritius, I was a social worker back home, working for the rehabilitation of female substances abuse. Arts has always been my passion. I used to make counseling in a rehabilitation center and in prison. Listening to the stories there made me paint them as an artist. I have been inspired and learnt a lot through this” describes Muthy.
She first came to Dubai in 2011, which has been a drastic change in her life. The first step that she took was the foundation of ZeeArts, a community initiative to connect her passion, which is art and the community. Since then, it has grown into an international art hub that provides a range of art consultancy services and curatorship, with the goal of connecting artists from across the world with diverse artistic projects. Recently, ZeeArts has launched an online gallery that showcases myriad of original artworks and gives artists an opportunity to connect with designers, architects and developers.
“Since 2017, I have left the corporate world and set up ZeeArts as a company. I remember back, in 2012 I started with only 10 artists, today ZeeArts is one of the leading platform connecting artists across the world. We have around 700 artists registered with us” remembers back Muthy.
Muthy was moved to become a supporter specifically of women artists, which however came with many challenges in her own life as well as in moving ahead with the cause. When she started the “Art connects Women” programme in 2017, it started with only 20 women artists from 20 different countries. After a year, the Programme received interest from 78 women artists from 78 countries, followed by this year - the 4th Edition - with an incredible number of more than 289 applications (100 women artists from 100 countries).
“Woman itself is a special creature, we are quite complex. Nonetheless, dealing with women coming from different cultures, different ethnic groups, different languages is such an enriching experience. Sometimes communication is a barrier, but in those cases I take my phone and call them no matter which part of the world they are” says Muthy passionately.
She is very passionate about her visions, and strongly believes that a difference in the life of many women artists can be made through such projects as hers. On the other hand, there are many challenges to be faced, namely the one to find more supporters, sponsors. The struggle is however worthwhile, because as Muthy describes it:
“We want to support those women artists who are doing extraordinary artwork in their small villages and nobody knows about them.”
Within the Programme of the “Art connects Women”, the selected artists are invited to showcase their works, whether they are paintings, sculptures, installations or assemblages under always different themes (“Each for Equal” for this year).
The Programme also provides a platform for women artists to reflect, connect, collaborate and network strategically, to tackle some of the greatest challenges faced by today’s female entrepreneurs and artists. Alongside the displays and conference, a special publication is also presented, entitled “Women Artists Around the World”.
When asked about why in her opinion it is important to support specifically women artists, Muthy explains:
“Artworks created by women artists are valued less than the artworks of their male counterparts, however we have more female artists across the world. Many female artists are struggling to introduce their artworks in this competitive market. Our aim is to advocate, support and connect female artists to be more independent in a myriad of ways”.
Muthy’s initiation with ZeeArts has as its core drive to bring women from around the world together on a common platform to exhibit their artworks. Through connecting, new ideas and visions grow, providing an opportunity for women to reflect, resonate and repackage their strategic requirements and problems that they face as women artists and entrepreneurs at the same time.
ZeeArts’ core mission is to connect and empower local and international artists through art exhibitions, events, artist empowerment programmes, retreats and cultural exchanges.
The organization has a strong commitment to social responsibility, including investing in women artists as a means of bolstering economies and to meet the needs of long-term productivity and sustainable growth.
Creation, connection and transformation is how new ways are paved, new thoughts are initiated and new decisions are made. There is still a lot to go ahead, lot to work on and to improve. Empowering artists and giving them platforms, ways to be seen and to connect with each other and other professionals in the industry: they all are important elements to realize a new way of society, whereby women can balance their lives between being artists and having other, equally fulfilling roles.
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