Women front and centre of British Arab culture award shortlist

Organisations MARSM, Comma Press, Barakat Trust and Sarha Collective were also shortlisted for an award

Author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan is this year's winner of the Award for Culture by the Arab British Centre (individuals category). Courtesy Nadine Kaadan
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The Arab British Centre has announced its culture award shortlist, with an all-female line-up of Arab creatives.

The biennial award celebrates organisations and individuals whose work has significantly contributed to the British public’s understanding of the Arab world.

The award is split into two categories: individuals and organisations. The individual shortlist is made up entirely of women for 2019, including a comedian, artist, musician, curator and author.

The organisation shortlist includes cultural event producers, a publisher and artistic trust.

The Award for Culture was created in 2008 to raise the profile of contemporary Arab culture in the UK. Each winner will receive £2,500 (Dh11,100) and the opportunity to travel to one of thirteen Middle Eastern countries, including the UAE, with the British Council.

“The Arab British Centre Award for Culture serves as an exciting opportunity to reflect upon the current cultural landscape of the UK, and the hard work and dedication of the Arab cultural community, said Nadia El Sebai, executive director of the Arab British Centre.

“Since the inception of our award programme in 2008, we have seen the strength diversity and popularity of Arab culture grow exponentially, and in 2019, audiences in Britains are clearly hungry for content and experiences that showcase the best global talent, challenge perceptions and entertain.”

The organisation and individual winners will be announced at a ceremony on September 26 at City Hall London.

The nominees

Nadine Kaadan

Writer and illustrator Nadine Kaadan has been honing her craft since the age of eight and is now an award-winning children's author. Her books touch on sensitive topics like the upheaval in the Arab world or disability, giving children a way to learn about and process the world and it's complexities.

Esther Manito

Esther Manito. Photo by William Parry
Esther Manito. Photo by William Parry

Stand up comedian Esther Manito is on a mission to reclaim the word 'Arab' and bring better public perceptions of the culture. She has a unique perspective borne of her Lebanese-British background to her work, lambasting political and religious extremism whilst somehow managing to make the audience laugh.

Samar Ziadat

Samar Ziadat is cofounder of Glasgow’s Dardishi Festival and magazine, which celebrates showcases Arab and North African womxn’s contributions to contemporary art and culture.

Her community-focused practice centres on issues of decoloniality and queerness; presenting talks, delivering workshops and programming events that explore the hidden histories and narratives of marginalised and underrepresented communities.

Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings

British-Sudanese textiles artist Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings explores themes of identity and change, community and womanhood in her work, looking to her Sudanese heritage and Arabic geometry to bring her work to life.

She uses dyes and screen- printing on textured materials including silk, velvet, tissue and paper to create her work, which is meant to be touched.

Juliana Yazbeck

Juliana Yazbeck was keen that her debut album 'Sungod' has tracks in Arabic and English. 
Juliana Yazbeck was keen that her debut album 'Sungod' has tracks in Arabic and English. 

Musician Juliana Yazbeck is a familiar face on the Arab arts scene in the UK, recently performing at the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and London's Shubbak.

Her work, including newest album Sungod, deals with big issues in the world today including gender inequality and the immigrant experience.