16 March 2023

Spring 2023 Residency Public Programmes | Shada Safadi and Jalila Haider

Alserkal Arts Foundation

Join us on Thursday 16 March for public programmes with Spring 2023 residents Shada Safadi and Jalila Haider at the Alserkal Arts Foundation Project Space, Warehouse 50.

Starts 6:30 pm

Ends 8:30 pm

Venue Alserkal Arts Foundation

Warehouse 50/51

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6:30 - 7:30pm | Birds, they no longer want to migrate | Presentation by Shada Safadi

Kindly note that this event was originally scheduled for Tuesday 14 March.

This presentation tells the stories of different birds, including migratory, local, and endangered birds. Shada will analyse how these stories deal with the relationship of birds and humans through social or geographical beliefs, and the efforts made to preserve the birds and the environment.

Shada also covers wind and the danger of wind farms to birds. Wind and air currents help birds to cross from one place to another and are an essential part of the migration journey, helping birds save energy during flight and to cover long distances. Shada examines how humans exploit wind to produce energy and questions what awaits us in the future with this continuation.

This presentation is in Arabic with simultaneous translation to English.

7:30 - 8:30pm, followed by dinner | The Last Testament of Simurgh | Storytelling, sharing, and a meal with Jalila Haider

The Simurgh’s tale is an ancient story of a magical bird with healing powers that witnessed the world destroyed three times due to human cruelty. It is said that she will return to the world for a fourth time only when people amend their past behaviour and embrace kindness towards each other, and particularly to women. How might we collectively create a world where the Simurgh might rise again?

Jalila invites you to a participatory gathering to read from fictional stories inspired by women she has met through field research as the first female lawyer from the Hazara community, an ethnic minority in Pakistan's Balochistan Province. Participants will be invited to rewrite the ending of the stories according to their own imaginations. While the original accounts may have shared anguish, grief, and sadness, she wants us to help transform them into stories of power, bravery, and emancipation.


Shada Safadi was born in 1982 in Majdal Shams, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. In 2004, Safadi completed a two-year class in painting and etching at Adham Ismail Institute, Damascus, following which she graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Damascus University in 2005.

A founding member of Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture in Golan Heights, Safadi has participated in multiple exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture, Majdal Shams in 2006. In addition, her work has been featured in exhibitions in Damascus and Aleppo in Syria; Jerusalem, Ramallah, Birzeit, and Bethlehem in the West Bank; Umea in Sweden; and London in the UK. Recently, she participated in the Syrian Cultural Caravan, with exhibitions in France, Germany, Norway, Spain and Belgium.

In 2008, Safadi won third place at A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year Awards for her series of paintings In the Presence of the Crow. In addition, in 2014 she was an artist-in-residence for three months at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. She currently lives and works between her hometown in Golan Heights and the West Bank.

Jalila Haider is the first female lawyer from the Hazara community, an ethnic minority in Pakistan's Balochistan Province. The emerging researcher addresses human rights in her legal and academic work. As a feminist and human rights activist, she has earned several national and international accolades and recognitions, including the State Department's International Women of Courage Award (IWOC) 2020. In 2019, she was named in the BBC’s 100 Women, a list of the world's most influential women, in recognition of her work for women's and human rights in her country.

In 2021, she received the prestigious Chevening Scholarship from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, to complete her master's degree in International Human Rights Law at the University of Sussex. Haider co-authored a research project with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) with Miguel Loureiro, titled Visible Outside, Invisible Inside: the Power of Patriarchy on Female Protest Leaders in Conflict and Violence-affected Settings. Currently, she works as the lead researcher on a project with the Institute of Development Studies on struggle diaries and the women's movement in Pakistan, as well as a research project with the South Asia Partnership on the political engagement of women from religious minorities.

Haider initiated the ‘Craft Surprise' initiative under the banner of her organisation, We the Humans Pakistan, through which women from her community make handcrafted carpets to earn a livelihood. During the Pakistan floods in 2022, Jalila made every effort to assist and support flood-affected people in Balochistan, providing emergency aid to places no other groups could access due to conflict and fear of terror threats.

Image credit: Shada Safadi and Shakila Haider