NAYA| Kharabish Nasawiya: Arabized feminism through pop art

The primary motive behind her art is everything tangible surrounding her. She gets inspired by incidents that emerge from daily life encounters occurring with the women she’s acquainted with.
by Salma Yassine

30 August 2019 | 13:15

Source: by Annahar

  • by Salma Yassine
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 30 August 2019 | 13:15

Comic of the incident that this project emanated from. (Photo courtesy of Kharabish Nasawiya).

BEIRUT: "Kharabish Nasawiya," which translates to feminist sketches in English, defies the conventional scheme of pop art through an Arabized lens that portrays an unapologetic feminist message using online platforms.

“We grow up with pop art. Even if you don’t know it’s pop art, you see it. The idea is that it’s very popular, colorful and catchy and that’s why I like it aesthetically,” the artist behind Kharabish Nasawiya, who asked to remain anonymous, told Annahar.

“I chose pop art because it’s close to people and it looks unthreatening, but what I hate about it is the misogyny and how it portrays women.”

Her observation of the former led her to start recycling the existing comics, which predominantly feature western looking individuals, with an Arabized twist added to its crux.

Additionally, and based on the request of her followers, she created characters that are less normative looking.

Those included personas of women with short hair, women of color, and women that are chubbier among others for the sake of altering the stereotypical images bound to them.

“You can just find and recycle normative looking people, but the less normative looking people are the ones that require a lot of work,” she noted to Annahar.

When asked about the trigger or inspiration behind her page, she noted “It wasn’t a project. It was an idea that resonated with a lot of women.”

The primary motive behind her art is everything tangible surrounding her. She gets inspired by incidents that emerge from daily life encounters occurring with the women she’s acquainted with. It comes from within their existing realities.

The artist behind Kharabish Nasawiya is inclusive. Through her pop art, she covers topics such as class, race, labor workers, military rule, gender and sexuality, some of which are controversial.

“We exist online and the online world is so misogynistic. It’s full of shaming and bullying and harassment, and I want to voice a feminist message in Arabic,” she said.

An attack was launched on the page by a group of Jordanian men who potentially belonged to a group of male right activists aiming to bring down a list of feminist pages beginning with Kharabish Nasawiya. They left rape and sexual harassment threats as well as sexist and racist comments.

“In moments of crises, this is when you know you have support. The people who follow the page were very supportive and everybody that knows the page re-rated it, which lifted the rating,” she added.

Regarding her future plans, the artist has considered putting a book together, yet the probability of it coming to life remains obscure. She has also thought of opening a Kharabish Nasawiya store that sells exclusive merchandise. However, the notion of converting her art into something commercial has curbed that.

“There is a spectrum of feminist issues that I believe in, but I don’t think that feminism should take any shape or form that anybody should impose. For me feminism is plural – feminisms, and I don’t want to apologize for being a feminist,” she said.

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Welcome to “NAYA,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations. NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

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