News: Srijoni Exhibition – Arts Centre Washington | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Sangini is a Black and minority ethnic (BME) led, multicultural women’s organisation based in Sunderland. For the past few months their Srijoni project (funded by Sunderland Culture, Sunderland City Council and The Cultural Spring), which means ‘friend’ in Hindi, has involved women from diverse communities and supporting each other through arts and craft activity. 

Sangini’s Project Manager, artist Padma Rao, and Durham-based Islamic artist Roohia Syed-Ahmed worked with the women via online workshops to explore the notion of culture, cultural entitlement and identity through Arabic calligraphy, contemporary drawing and writing.

The artwork from the twenty women during this project will be exhibited at Arts Centre Washington from Tuesday 18th May and online via Sunderland Culture’s website.

Padma said: “Srijoni means creativity in Bangla and the aim of the project was to reduce isolation within BME communities by engaging women with arts and crafts activities. Participation in the arts within these communities is very low, but we’ve had terrific feedback from the women we’ve worked with.

“The activities we introduced them to, particularly the Arabic calligraphy, meant something to them, it was relevant and gave them a voice.

“It was also important to us to raise the profile of Islamic artists and art through the project. These artists and their work can sometimes be invisible within Sunderland’s wider cultural landscape.”

Kai Javed, Assistant Project Manager at Sangini, added: “Another aim of Srijoni was to demystify perceptions of Muslim women for a wider audience. We wanted people to see them as individuals, something other than a stereotypical media image, but as real people. Through the art they’ve produced we hope to help change perceptions, revealing their identities not as hidden Muslim women but people with artistic talents with something to say.”

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