AL JAALE'AH: LOCALLY GLOBAL
Al Jaale’ah: locally global is a community and cultural engagement program by artist, Shireen Taweel with an exhibition outcome influenced by young Islamic women from secondary schools in the Liverpool region. This program provides a safe place for young Islamic women to share stories and learn creative skills.
Shireen Taweel is a local artist currently based at the Parramatta Artist Studios. Her creative practice continues a long tradition that involves the act of marking and piercing copper. This process stretches throughout history and across cultures, but is intimately connected to Taweel’s contemporary experience of being a migrant of Muslim and Lebanese heritage living in Australia.
The gestures that Taweel etches into copper are suggestive of an art form steeped in tradition, but are explored through new perspectives, placing emphasis on the global experience of migration, movement and multiculturalism. The resulting works contribute to a cross-cultural discourse of shared histories and experiences between diverse communities and cultural groups.
Taweel hosted a number of workshops with young Islamic women from local secondary schools Miller Technology High School; Amity College and Unity Grammar College to present this new body of work. Students shared stories of identity, belonging, sacred places and the nature of cross-cultural experience within the greater community of Western Sydney. They then drew patterns that are representative of their story, which Taweel intricately transferred by hand into sheet copper through a process of metal piercing.
The workshop experience promoted a cultural and creative exchange between the students and the artist. This exchange formed the foundation of the development of the finals works in the exhibition. Each artwork featured in the exhibition is coupled with a reflection from each student.
Image credit: tomorrow, InshAllah (series), 2016-17 (detail). Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Document Photography.