Inji Aflatoun, Egyptian painter and feminist, gets Google Doodle for her 95th birthday

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Inji Aflatoun, one of Egypt’s best-known painters and a leading feminist, was honored with a Google Doodle to celebrate what would have been her 95th birthday. (Google)
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Prisoners, 1957, oil on canvas by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Barjeel Art Foundation)
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Donshway, 1958, oil on wood by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Safarkhan Art Gallery)
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Loom, 1955, oil on canvas by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Safarkhan Art Gallery)
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Martyrs Procession, oil on canvas by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Safarkhan Art Gallery)
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Mathbahat Dinshaway (the Dinshaway Massacre), c. 1950, ink on paper by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Barjeel Art Foundation)
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Soldier (Fedayeen), 1970, oil on canvas on wood by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Safarkhan Art Gallery)
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Tarqab (expectation), c. 1940, ink on paper by Inji Aflatoun. (Courtesy Barjeel Art Foundation)
Updated 16 April 2019

Inji Aflatoun, Egyptian painter and feminist, gets Google Doodle for her 95th birthday

  • The doodle features Aflatoun in front of her canvas of surrealist and cubist paintings

DUBAI: Inji Aflatoun, one of Egypt’s best-known painters and a leading feminist, was honored today with a Google Doodle to celebrate what would have been her 95th birthday.

The doodle features Aflatoun in front of her canvas of surrealist and cubist paintings, which led critics to call her a “pioneer of modern Egyptian art,” according to Google’s description of the creative talent.

Aflatoun was born in Cairo in 1924 to a Muslim family that she described was “semi-feudal and bourgeois” — her father, Hazzan, was an entomologist who founded the entomology department of Cairo University aside from being the dean of the science faulty; her mother Salha, meanwhile, was a French-trained dress-designer who served in the women’s committee of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society.

Under the mentorship of her private art tutor, Kamel Al-Timisani, Aflatoun was introduced to surrealist and cubist aesthetics.

Aflatoun was also drawn into the feminist movement, joining Iskra – a Communist youth party – in 1942, and becoming a founding member of the League of University and Institutes’ Young Women in 1945 and representing the league during the same year at the first conference of Women’s International Democratic Federation in Paris.

She also wrote two political pamphlets — “Eighty Million Women with Us” in 1948 and “We Egyptian Women” in 1949 — which heavily attacked class and gender oppression, mainly because of British rule.

She was arrested and imprisoned by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s government during a round-up of communists in the mid-50s, and since her release in 1963 devoted her time to painting.

Aflatoun died on April 17, 1989, just a day after celebrating her 65th birthday.


Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

The Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down in solidarity with protesters. Supplied
Updated 13 November 2019

Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

  • In a show of solidarity with anti-government protestors, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down
  • Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

DUBAI: Iraq is currently in the midst of ongoing anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of more than 260 Iraqis since they erupted earlier this month. In a show of solidarity, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down.

Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

“Fatherland” is a collection of expressionist paintings by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Serwan Baran that were commissioned by Baghdad-based non-profit organization the Ruya Foundation, which in an official statement shared that the move was to show support to “the popular youth uprisings that have erupted in Iraq against state corruption and deteriorating economic and living conditions.”

“We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesting, and the bloodshed that has led to the death of over 265 protesters so far,” read the statement shared on the organization’s Twitter account. “Peaceful protesting is a basic right, enshrined in Article 38.c of the Iraqi Constitution.”

“Since our founding in late 2012, we have worked hard, frequently in inhospitable circumstances, to create a platform for artists across Iraq to freely express their creativity, in a firm belief that culture is an integral component of any society, and a powerful force for change towards an open and free country. This is particularly important for Iraq, given its difficult recent history and authoritarian past,” it continued.

The Baghdad-based foundation, which was co-founded by Tamara Chalabi, daughter of former Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, has overseen the Iraq Pavilion in Venice since 2013.