The fine art of keeping girls in school

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The fine art of keeping girls in school

The majority of the 24 artists whose works are currently on display at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) are not exactly spring chickens. But ‘emerging’ seems to compensate for the talent, which wasn’t caught early on.

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Published: Sun 20 Jan 2013, 9:03 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:24 AM

Of the few ‘young’ ones, there’s Shahrokhi, Iranian, ‘81-born, who is exhibiting his clay and green paint dragon sculpture — a throwback to the ming dynasty. Adel, Egyptian, ‘84-born who combines photographs with mixed media. And Ramy Dozy, ‘82-born, displaying his acrylic on canvas crocodile called Lacoste, part of the Hyperréalisme Movement in Egypt.

The others, older, are well-steeped in the what is still the contemporary Iranian Art movement.

The Farjam Collection at the DIFC has, in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), brought paintings, calligraphy, sculptures and photography by these 24 ‘emerging and established’ — young and not so young — artists to the forefront. The artists are based throughout various Arabic countries, though none in the UAE. Their works will be on display until March 7 and will be followed by an auction which will see the money raised fund the WFP’s operations to assist refugees in Iran.

Called Aware, the exhibition aims to spread information about ground realities in conflict zones, the condition of refugees, what ails them, what we can do to help, and, as Farjam spokespeople say, “to enhance our collective consciousness for the impoverished and malnourished communities globally”.

Optimistic about the reach of art, and talking about the goals of WFP, Negar Gerami, WFP representative in Iran, says the proceeds of the exhibit will allow the organisation to continue to help educate refugee girls’ by supplying, every month, a tin of vegetable oil as an incentive to 3,000 primary and secondary school girls and their female teachers in refugee settlements. Gerami says the results have been positive: “The oil tin incentive encourages parents to enrol their girls in school and keep them in school.” WFP also provides female teachers with four litres of vegetable oil every month.

Due to their efforts in refugee settlements the discrepancy between boys enrolled in school and girls enrolled in school, from a 60 per cent disparity back in 1999, has come down last year to 30 per cent. It’s a long road ahead, but every donation helps.

Fact Box

The exhibition is on at Gate Village 4, DIFC.

For more information about WFP in Iran visit

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