Saudi poet’s new work commended

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Updated 03 February 2013
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Saudi poet’s new work commended

Saudi poet Nimah Ismail Nawwab’s latest book, “Canvas of the Soul: Mystic Poems from the Heartland of Arabia,” is getting good reviews as the poet continues her book tours, lectures, readings, book signings and workshops in several countries.
For many readers the majesty of Islamic arts is fully showcased in this remarkable feast for the eyes and senses, a feast that begins with the striking cover.
As an art lover and photographer whose work with artists, calligraphers and filmmakers has led to an interest in highlighting the Islamic arts, Nawwab decided to have the artwork produced in Turkey, which she considers “the land of master calligraphers.” She worked with the US-based publisher Tughra Publishing and their branch offices in Istanbul to compose the designs.
“Every graphic element, every color, on every page with every poem and how each poem was laid out was carefully worked out,” Nawwab told Arab News. “This is not the usual practice with publishers in the industry, but I stipulated that in the contract and it was a real blessing, and was due to my background with art history and familiarity of publication layout.”
Praise for her work has come from international scholars and artists such as Sami Yusuf, Shems Frieldander, Omid Safi, Mohamed Zakariya, James Morris and Tayyibah Taylor.
Nawwab was recently ranked at No. 6 in the list of the most influential Muslim women. Her new volume of English poetry offers readers a window into the soul of a woman who is a firm believer in combining the arts, promoting Islamic calligraphy and her stunning poetic compositions. She continues to break records with her poetic work raising the bar of her art, building on the previous best-seller “The Unfurling,” which had led to book signings in Washington, D.C., and Saudi Arabia.
Nawwab shares her moving poems that embody a voice that recalls that Islam emphasizes not only Divine Justice but also Divine Mercy.
According to one reviewer, the present book is significant in that it reflects something of that classical expression of spiritual beauty in a contemporary language from by a female poet who hails from the land of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Nawwab’s latest tours in the US, Canada and UK, and a most recent trip to Istanbul led to readings, lectures and signings where audiences engaged with her in a unique and highly interactive manner.
Musician Sami Yusuf described Nawwab as a talented writer and poet “who is not afraid to speak her mind and address issues that, quite frankly, are often ignored as a result of timidity.”
“I commend her efforts in this noble initiative where the arts combine in powerfully written poetic compositions and a showcasing of Islamic arts,” said Yusuf.
Professor Shems Friedlander, author, filmmaker, painter, who contributed the foreword to the volume, said: “Breath is the essence of life. Drawing is the essence of painting. Typography is the essence of design. Poetry is the essence of literature.”


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”