A dazzling artwork at the Funun Arts event.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
SHE was a live art event organised by the always-on-the-job art promoter Funun Arts, where 18 UAE-based female artists engaged in a live art session to celebrate SHE, the latest book by UAE based author, Purva Grover.
The artists, living and working in the UAE, got together at Novotel World Trade Centre, Dubai (Oct. 2), to celebrate the spirit of womanhood. They hailed from different nationalities and varied backgrounds and filled the canvases with shades of SHE, to toast the book and its author.
Grover engaged in a conversation with the participants and audience, read excerpts from the book, and also signed copies, which was released in August.
From nail paints to sneakers, boardrooms to kitchenettes, babies to girlfriends, astronauts to homemakers, pink to blue ... all types of subjects could be seen on the canvases.
Each of the artists were provided with art supplies (beverages and snacks too), to play with colours. A few non-artists also took part in the interactive event, and were offered guidance by the artist community.
Participating artists included Amancia Sandra, Jasmine Mohammed Rizvi, Madiha Khan, Arezoo Rahmdel, Arthi Balaji, Richa Jain, Moni Shyam, Mubashra Madni, Pari Sagar, Paulomi Rana, Raisa Rajan, Rani Vaswambharam, Sabah Anees, Saima Hasan, Shiba Khan, Sunita Vasanth, Tatiana Yatlo and Vaheetha Banu.
The event was graced by female guests of honour — Nisha Ganapathy, Group Product Manager, DermoViva, Dabur International; Afshan Qureshi, Indian artist; and Nada Al Brazi, Lebanese artist. Other guests included art supporters such as Anjani Prakash Laitu, Peter Gressman, Saju Nair and Ahmed Al Awadhi.
“In the pages, we celebrate waxing woes and bad hair days, we tick the boxes and break the rules, and we apologise for getting old and feel guilty when promoted at work.
“We speak of unwanted advice, as we offer some too. We sigh, smile and scorn. We observe, absorb, judge and compare. We own our space,” said Grover, who has previously authored two books, The Trees Told Me So and It Was The Year 2020.
The Trees Told Me So (2017) is a book of short stories; it draws a poignant picture of love, life and loss, with an honest voice. It Was The Year 2020 (2021), is a fragmentary novel set in real-time. It dares to speak of the pandemic, while we wait to take over our lives, or whatever little is left of it.
SHE is not about female empowerment or male-bashing; it is simply a celebration of being a woman. The book is making waves for its truthful, relatable and fun approach to the topic of womanhood.
The writing style and subject of SHE is different from the author’s first two titles. Grover, who was granted the UAE Golden Visa for ten years (the first culture visa in the world) under the category Class of Creators from the People of Culture and Art as a writer in June 2021, says that “yes, this book comes at a time when my first two titles have been put under the literary sections stirring emotions (not hormones) of a purely different nature than this one.
“Why did I write this? As always, I don’t choose the words, the books choose me. So, yes, SHE chose me. I simply caved in. As an author, I am always up for challenging myself and hence the unique approach and subject.”
Over the coming months, it has been indicated, SHE will come closer to you, at art exhibitions, coffee mornings, ladies nights, pyjama parties, and more.
“Let’s celebrate the freedom of being ourselves. Let’s be unapologetic about chasing our dreams, making mistakes, and owning our identity and space as a female.
“Artists from Funun Arts will help you create magic,” said sisters and co-founders of Funun, Shiba and Farah Khan.
Funun Arts was also part World Migratory Bird Day (Oct. 9) commemoration at Dubai Creek Park in an event supported by Dubai Municipality.
Funun Arts joined the occasion by putting up an art exhibition, followed by live painting, to show its sensitivity to the environment. 17 artists showcased their work, which reflected their love for birds, nature, and environment.
Along with them, 6 artists did a live painting show, conveying the message of love towards nature. Three students - Khan Ayaan Abdulla, Mohammed Huzaifa Khan and Sumayyah Faridi — were also the part of event, setting an example for the emerging generations.
Participating artists were Anum Sultana, Deepika Devan, Farah Khan, Imran Manzoor, Labiba Ferhat, Madiha Khan, Mankush Srivastava, Rania Elsalamony, Sabah Anees, Sadia Fahad, Saida Bano, Saima Hasan, Shiba Khan, Sumayyah Faridi, Svetlana Kreventsova and Varsha Parab.
Shiba Khan also exhibited her artwork and painted live. Said she: “Migratory birds are always a delight to watch and to have new generations watch them, we must keep them safe. We are thankful to Dubai Municipality for giving us this opportunity.” Her artwork was titled Sunshine, and projected a new beginning and new hope.
Farah Khan, photographer and Creative Head of Funun Arts said: “This year’s global event, with the theme “Sing, Fly, Soar, like a Bird,” focuses on the phenomena of birds’ voices and flight, as a way to inspire and connect people of all ages in their shared desire to celebrate migratory birds and unite in a joint global effort to protect them and their habitats.
“My image of a hawk symbolises intelligence, independence, adaptability and much more. Hawks have inhabited every continent and that’s the reason they are also known as the symbols of freedom. Let us make the most of World Migratory Bird Day by joining hands to protect the migratory birds from the different threats they witness.”
Ahmed Al Awadhi, pioneer Emirate artist, said: “The occasion of World Migratory Bird Day reminds each one of us of the importance of migratory birds that are an important part of our ecosystem.”
Along with the art event, there were other attractions to learn from, such as how to track the path of migratory birds, workshops on nest making and yoga.
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