13 August 2022
Amulets of Palm | تمائم من سعف
Maitha Al Suwaidi & Reem Almenhali
Part of More Than Human
Performance followed by discussion
A multimedia performance that features magical narratives surrounding palm trees and the people of the palm. This performance will use poetic and visual forms of fiction to capture the palm as a mystical soul, an abundant ground, and an entity.
Originally from Sharjah, UAE, Maitha Alsuwaidi is a writer, researcher, and performance artist. As a writer, Maitha enjoys exploring fiction, poetry, the personal essay, and plays. Her work is published on literary/art digital platforms including Postscript Magazine and Sekka Magazine. In theatre, she writes and partakes in experimental work and has acted in Al Raheel | Departure in January 2020, an all-female poetic production commissioned by AD’s Cultural Foundation and NYUAD’s Art Center. Maitha draws on her background as a social scientist in her creative endeavours by qualitatively and quantitatively exploring topics of childhood, mental health, womanhood, and bilingualism. At the intersection of her interests, she aims to explore how ethnography ethically informs and compliments creative narratives, and how creative expression can aid in politics and the process of policymaking. Maitha holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from NYU Abu Dhabi and is currently studying for a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Oxford as a 2021 UAE Rhodes Scholar.
Reem Almenhali is an Emirati performance artist and a playwright. Her body of work includes two performances Deliberately and in Cash and Al Raheel | Departure. Reem received a B.A in theater with a minor in psychology from New York University Abu Dhabi.
Recently, Reem wrote and directed Deliberately and in Cash, a performance lecture on the practice of collecting Diya (blood money) in the Gulf. The piece is a response to a blood money raising campaign that took place in Kuwait in 2019 and successfully raised more than 10 Million Dinars (around 30 million dollars) to set free a man that murdered a female journalist for writing an article portraying the women of his tribes as paid dancers. Reem analyzes the incident through tracing the history of the practice, surveying people’s current affiliation with tribes and relationship to tribal values, and uses the performance to create a space to honor the murdered journalist.
Reem also wrote Al Raheel | Departure, and and co-created the performance in collaboration with the director Joanna Settle. Al Raheel is a bilingual contemporary theater piece that uses poetry to explore how the rapidly evolving lifestyle in the UAE and its bilingual reality effected notions of womanhood and redefined belonging for women in different stages of life. Reem won the 2020 Gulf Capital ADMAF Creativity Award for writing the script of Al Rhaeel.
Reem has also written poems, few of which were performed in public events such as Hekayah | The Story and Rooftop Rhythms, short stories, and prose. Reem is interested in making work that traces the evolution of things in the gulf; how practices and lifestyles changed over time, the shift in lexicon, how the gulf’s post-modern fashion scene emerged. She’s also interested in writing about the idea of time being a place to belong to while utilizing the Arabic and English languages to create bilingual texts that explore how two languages can be dual window to meaning.