Artistic productions created and performed by women were presented at the fifth Literature and Art Festival for Women in Qamishli.
The fifth Literature and Art Festival was held in the city of Qamishli, known for its ethno-religious diversity. It was organised by the Association of Educated Women and the Committee of Art and Culture within the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
Women presented their works of art, literature, handicrafts and music, all basing their productions on their respective ethnic backgrounds, whether they be Kurdish, Arab, Syriac or otherwise.
“The festival has displayed the folklore heritage of all the Kurdish, Arab and Syriac communities [in northern and eastern Syria]”, stated Basma Elias, a member of the Festival Preparatory Committee.
The Festival has been building up impetus over the past few years as more and more women are joining the literature, arts and crafts scene in Qamishli.
“I supervise a handicraft workshop; our goal is to bring all women around us to work with us. We have been working for 3 years and every year our numbers are increasing”, remarked Jihan Abd al-Ghafour, who works in handicrafts.
Since the city of Qamishli came under the de facto political control of the Autonomous Administration, much attention has been paid to empowering women and ethnic minority communities in the region.
For instance, marches have been held in Qamishli condemning gender-based violence and women’s unions have been established to discuss women-specific issues and provide a safe space for them to deliberate over social problems. In addition, ethnic minorities have been given the opportunity to preserve their cultures and express their identities in an open manner, in contrast to a past of repression in the region by the Syrian regime and then ISIS.
The general elevation of culture to the fore has been a prominent feature of the Autonomous Administration’s regional policies. Literature, art and music fairs have been commonplace in Qamishli and the region over the past 2-3 years since the liberation of those territories from ISIS.