AUD School of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh has recently edited and published a book entitled Reeds from Red Lips on Arts and Gender in Southwestern Asia.
The book includes diverse stories told through poetry and prose in English, French, Modern Standard Arabic and Lebanese, and encompasses a selection of conceptual photography artworks, digital visuals, cartoons and paintings. It features established scholars, poets and authors, journalists, artists and students, from Southwestern Asia or living in the region: Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Norah Al Nimer, Katia Aoun Hage, Malak El Gohary, Amal Chehayeb, Lana AlBeik, Dr. Frank Darwiche, Noor Husain, Joelle Sfeir, Maram El Hendy, Dr. Omar Sabbagh, Karma Bou Saab, Farah Nasser, Haeley Ahn, Masooma Rana, Sandra Malki, Maya Khadra and Nour Zahi Al-Hassanieh.
In her book foreword, Dr. Chrabieh explains that the diversity of Southwestern Asian voices is “so vast that it is unlikely to work on an exhaustive review, and this is definitely not the goal of the book; neither is it to obtain a fixed view of the gender and art relation (…). The book gathers the visions, journeys, statements, biographies and artworks of some authors and artists who either self-define or reject the gender binary by emphasizing the fluidity of gender and subverting gender conformity. It also displays a mosaic of languages and local dialects, visual techniques and writing styles; reeds that vibrate and produce different sounds and pitch ranges out of empowered lips”.
According to Dr. Chrabieh, “most of those who contributed to this collective work are part of the Red Lips High Heels’ movement (http://www.redlipshighheels.com/), an online gathering project of writers and artists I launched in 2012 in Lebanon. This movement advocates peacebuilding, human rights and women’s rights in Southwestern Asia. (…) Southwestern Asia has unfortunately been too often stereotyped, viewed as homogeneous and demonized, but the authors and artists featured in this book deconstruct prejudices. They tell stories of the rich pasts and current diversities of this part of the world. They prove somehow that the local belongings, realities, memories and histories are quite complex, a mélange of grey zones and multiple shades”.
Dr. Chrabieh adds: “I would like to express my gratitude to the many peoples who have been providing support to the Red Lips High Heels’ movement since 2012 and to this book’s project. I would like to thank in particular the authors and artists who allowed me to publish their works and my assistant researcher Haeley Ahn for her dedication and valuable input in the editing, proofreading and design of the book. To my students and former students at the American University in Dubai: thank you for inspiring me with your life stories, talents, skills and knowledge”.
Reeds from Red Lips is available on amazon.com:
Kindle Edition ASIN: B0711D71C1