This is the Palestinian artist behind the powerful portraits you’ve been seeing all over Instagram

This is the Palestinian artist behind the powerful portraits you’ve been seeing all over Instagram
Shirien Damra is the Palestinian artist using social media to raise awareness. (Instagram/@shirien.creates)
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Updated 01 June 2020

This is the Palestinian artist behind the powerful portraits you’ve been seeing all over Instagram

This is the Palestinian artist behind the powerful portraits you’ve been seeing all over Instagram

DUBAI: On February 23, a black American man named Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while on a run in his Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood. The unarmed 25-year-old was reportedly killed by a former police officer and his son. 

Upon hearing about Arbery’s tragic death, 33-year-old freelance artist Shirien Darma sought to honor Arbery and show solidarity with the black community through her art. “I was afraid that people would only see the video and remember his soul being taken away from him,” the artist told Elle.com. “I wanted to not only have the art for myself to process, but also in the hopes that other people that are facing similar things can identify with it and help them process, too.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today, a disturbing video surfaced of the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud was murdered over two months ago in Georgia when he was chased and gunned down by two white men claiming they were conducting a citizen’s arrest for a burglary. Ahmaud was simply just going for a run. I haven’t seen the video because I can’t get myself to. Just hearing the story of his murder brought me to tears. Tears of anger and sadness. No one deserves to be killed for running on the basis of their skin color. May Ahmaud rest in power. May he and his loved ones see justice somehow. Say his name. #ahmaudarbery #irunwithmaud #justiceforahmaud #blacklivesmatter

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The Palestinian-American artist went on to create a portrait of the deceased man against a moss green and floral backdrop with the words “Justice for Ahmaud” written above his head. The digital illustration, which she posted on social media, has garnered almost 400,000 likes since its time of posting, and has been widely shared on the platform.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yesterday, in yet another act of anti-black police violence causing mass outrage, George Floyd yelled “I can’t breathe” and pleaded for his life as a white Minneapolis police officer violently pinned him down with his knee on his neck. George died after. He was murdered in broad daylight. His death is reminiscent of the death of Eric Garner. Even with a crowd yelling at him to stop and while folks filmed the murder, the cop did it anyway, showing the massive injustice, zero accountability and white supremacy embedded in the “criminal justice” system. Heartbroken, angry and disgusted. This must end. Much love and solidarity to Black communities grieving another beautiful life lost. May George Floyd Rest in Power. Text ‘Floyd’ to 55156 to demand the officers be charged with murder. You can also call Mayor Jacob Frey at (612)-673-2100, DA Mike Freeman at (612)-348-5550 and demand justice. #blacklivesmatter #georgefloyd #icantbreathe #justiceforgeorgefloyd

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In the following weeks, she made similar digital portraits after the deaths of African-Americans Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, who were also killed at the hands of the police. Her illustration of Floyd was re-posted by several celebrities, including French-Tunisian model and singer Sonia Ben Ammar, and has garnered over three million likes.

As the daughter of Palestinian Muslim immigrants, Damra is highly conscious of the issues of racism and oppression, so she makes sure to use her art as a tool to raise awareness. Damra’s Instagram account features art in support a variety of causes including Indigenous Peoples' Day, International Women's Day and coronavirus frontline workers.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, patient care techs and others who work in medicine are being stretched beyond the limit during this COVID-19 pandemic. They are working with limited masks, gloves, ventilators, test kits and hospital beds. They are on the front lines, putting their lives at risk to save ours. It’s our duty to care for them. The best and most effective way to do this is to stay quarantined and slow the spread of coronavirus so they can be able to take care of the sick and also take time to take care of themselves. Please stay home. Advocate for them to get their needs met. Sending prayers and good vibes to our homies on the frontlines defending us from collapse

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Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
Updated 17 January 2021

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
  • Egyptian archaeologist says discoveries will rewrite history of region

CAIRO: An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara area near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt has discovered dozens of archeological finds, including a Pharaonic funerary temple.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the discoveries —  made by the joint mission between the council and the Zahi Hawass Center of Egyptology — include wooden wells and coffins from the New Kingdom, dating back to 3000 B.C.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the council, said that the discoveries are located at the Saqqara necropolis, near the pyramid where King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, who ruled Egypt between 2323 and 2291 B.C., is buried.

Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and head of the mission, said that these discoveries will rewrite the history of the region, especially during the 18th and 19th Dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which time King Teti was worshiped.

Hawass said that the mission found the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, wife of King Teti, part of which was uncovered in the years prior to the mission, as well as three mud-brick warehouses on the southeastern side, used to store offerings and tools that were involved in a revival of the queen’s creed.

The mission also discovered 52 wells, ranging in depths between 10 to 12 meters and containing more than 50 wooden coffins from the New Kingdom era. This is the first time that coffins dating back to 3000 B.C. have been found in the Saqqara area.

The surfaces of the coffins depict various scenes involving the gods who were worshipped during this period, in addition to texts from the Book of the Dead that help the deceased pass on to the other world.

Inside the wells, the mission found numerous artifacts, such as statues of the deity Ptah, as well as a four-meter-long papyrus, representing chapter 17 from the Book of the Dead, with the name of its owner recorded on it. The same name was found on four statues.

Other finds included a set of wooden masks; games for the deceased to play in the other world, one of which is similar to chess; and statues and a shrine of Anubis, the god of death.

The mission also discovered a bronze ax, indicating that its owner was one of the leaders of the army in the New Kingdom era, and paintings inscribed with scenes of the deceased and his wife and hieroglyphic writings.

A large amount of pottery dating back to the New Kingdom was found, including pottery establishing trade relations between Egypt and Crete, as well as Syria and Palestine.

Hawass explained that this discovery confirms that the Saqqara antiquities area was not used for burial during the Late Period only, but also in the New Kingdom.

The mission studied the mummy of a woman who was found to be suffering from a disease known as Mediterranean fever or swine fever, which comes from direct contact with an animal and leads to a liver abscess.

Hawass asserted that the archeological discovery is one of the most significant ones of this year and will make Saqqara an important tourist and cultural destination. It will rewrite the history of Saqqara in the era of the New Kingdom and will confirm the importance of the worship of King Teti during the 19th Dynasty.