Samia Halaby, 1936, Jerusalem
Samia Halaby is a leading abstract painter and an influential scholar of Palestinian art. She is recognized as a pioneer of contemporary abstraction in the Arab world. Halaby’s work has been exhibited around the world. Samia Halaby has also taught at universities throughout the United States, and her writings on art have been published both in scholarly journals as well as in independent books.
Dina Amro is a sound artist and Master’s student at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work includes ethnomusicological research exploring the overlap between themes of motherhood and sovereignty over resources. Dina creates mythical stories that draw inspiration from womanly storytelling traditions. The lyrics, mostly revolving around water wells and springs and spirits that inhabit them, are fictional dialogues inspired from family rituals that take place where young women and older women share space and time. Examples include the ritual of hair brushing and braiding and the ritual of sharing lentil soup on rainy days. In addition to relying substantively on her narrative, she uses the sounds resources that the site offers, such as the sound of rain and running water in the winter, resulting in a site-specific sound installation. Her collaboration with Shada Safadi and Sakiya is the artist’s first public piece, with Shada providing visual elements to accompany Dina’s work.
Born in 1982 in Majdal Shams in the occupied Syrian Golan heights, Shada completed a two years program in painting and etching at Adham Ismail Institute, and graduated from Damascus University with a degree in Fine Arts from the department of painting in 2005. Shada won the third place of the Young Artist of the Year Award for her work “In the Presence of the Crow” with the A. M. Qattan Foundation in 2008. Shada is a founding member of Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture in Majdal Shams. She has participated in multiple group exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture, Golan Heights in 2006. She currently lives and works between her hometown in the Golan heights and the West Bank.
Yara Bamieh is an architect and illustrator based in Ramallah. She has been part of Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation since 2014. Yara participated in different workshops including a course on children book illustration at Chelsea University in London. She wrote and illustrated three children’s books: “The Little Secret”, “Where is my Beak”, and “Bulqash” which won the “Etisalat” award in 2015 in the Best Production category.
Yara is particularly interested in learning where colors come from. She is inspired by nature and its colors which led her to an adventure for hunting and capturing materials in nature producing beautiful inks that can glide through a brush.
Dr Nasser Golzari and Dr Yara Sharif
Dr. Golzari and Dr. Sharif are award-winning architects and academics with an interest in design as a mean to facilitate and empower ‘forgotten’ communities, while also interrogating the role of architecture and social commitment.
Combining research with design their work runs parallel between the architecture practice NG Architects, London and their design studio at the University of Westminster. They have co-founded Palestine Regeneration Team (PART). A design-led research group that aims through speculative and live projects to search for creative and responsive spatial possibilities.
Golzari and Sharif have been working on community projects in the UK, Europe and the Middle East with different NGOs and partners including UN-Habitat, Riwaq, UNESCO and local councils. Their work and design has been nominated and has won a number of awards including the Civic Trust Awards, the 2014 Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction for the Middle East Region. In addition, very recently, both have won the RIBA President’s Award for Research (Commendation) 2016 for their design work in Palestine.
Both Golzari and Sharif have published widely. Their upcoming publication due 2019 will be a chapter titled Absurd-City, Subver-City as part of a major publication edited by Michael Sorkin on the reconstruction of Gaza titled Open Gaza.
Natasha Aruri [Dr-Phil, MSc, MArch, BArch] – Urbanist, architect and activist working east and north of the Mediterranean as consultant, conceptor and coordinator. She is co-founder and -director of UR°BANA, a collective concerned with urban research, design and action. Besides working as guest lecturer at universities and trainer with civil organisations, she is the City Research Team Lead for Ramallah in the “Urbanisation, Gender and the Global South: a transformative knowledge network” – GenUrb project. Her research focuses on cities of exasperated insecurities; spacio-politics of and resistance to (neo)colonialism; and facing uncertainties through people-based, dynamic strategies of spatial design. Currently she is also Visiting Professor at Dessau Institute of Architecture (DIA), Germany.