NAYA | Christina Atik questions what’s not nice for a girl

Posting her work on Retrieving Beirut’s Instagram account, her illustrations began going viral, getting reposted and shared by many people.
by Carla Richa

11 July 2018 | 13:51

Source: by Annahar

  • by Carla Richa
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 11 July 2018 | 13:51

This undated photo shows Christina Atik. (HO)

BEIRUT: A new artist is in town with illustrations depicting Lebanese women and issues that the latter are faced with.

Christina Atik took over Instagram with her latest series about women where she illustrates how they are treated and talked to in Lebanon. “It was a form of therapy for me, to let out all this frustration from the society around me,” said Atik.

“It’s Not Nice For A Girl” began close to home, where the first illustration was about Atik’s sister Maria Atik and her “beautiful big Arab nose.”

“My mother is always telling her how her nose is not nice for a girl, and she’d be much prettier if she gets it fixed,” explained Atik.

This is how the idea of illustrations empowering women started.

After creating several designs, mostly about topics her and her friends discussed, she was contacted by Donia Maria Feghaly from Retrieving Beirut, which is an Instagram account dedicated to Lebanese artists' works; which then prompted her ascent into recognition.

Posting her work on Retrieving Beirut’s Instagram account, her illustrations began going viral, getting reposted and shared by many people.

 “There’s so much abuse and pressure on women everywhere,” Atik believes, which may be why many related to the drawings and shared them.

The illustrations are around topics that are considered taboos and big “no-no’s” in many societies, like “it’s not nice for a girl to have body hair” or “it’s not nice for a girl to live alone.”

“She made me feel understood and the fact that so many women reacted to them reinforced that feeling of solidarity,” shared Atik’s sister Maria Atik.

Atik, 26 years old, is a graphic designer. She was always interested in designing women-related drawings. She currently enjoys sitting with her group of friends, where they talk for hours and let out their emotions “These talks have greatly contributed to pushing me to do the series,” Atik said.

The young generation, made up of people like Atik, is speaking up more about the problems women face in the Arab world. With the free platforms offered, such as social media, people have a chance to share their opinions and thoughts on relevant topics.

“The illustrations were just emotions that I was feeling toward things I’m trying to deal with, or that my friends are trying to overcome,” said Atik.

Using Instagram, Atik was able to shed light on taboos people avoid talking about, and gave hope for women around Lebanon to feel empowered and heard. “She was able to transform a messed-up part of society into beautiful illustrations,” said Melissa Hajj, a fan of Atik’s work.

What’s next?

“I’m not really sure, who knows!” Atik told Annahar.

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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.farhat17@gmail.com 

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