Vernissage: Writing – My Window to the World

For decades many women in Iraq have been exposed to social and domestic violence. Furthermore, among the most important barriers for women to lead a self-determined life and engage in cultural, social, political and professional activities are gender-specific discrimination, the poor security situation for women and their limited freedom to travel. 

Out of this situation, several women from different regions and ethnic backgrounds have gathered in writing workshops organised by elbarlament to reflect on their situation and write stories and poems.

The Lebanese-Ecuadorian artist duo Rajwa Tohmé and Daniela Delgado Viteri travelled to Iraq to portray women of the project “Civil Society Cultural Initiatives in Iraq 2019” and to capture their voice and their stories. The portraits show strong Iraqi women for whom writing has opened new doors. In addition, videos showed women who, with the help of cultural initiatives, want to heal social wounds and strengthen social commitment for a better future for Iraq. Another part of the exhibition provided insights into storytelling workshops in Duhok. The storytelling and listening there gives Yezidi women and Syrian refugee women the opportunity not only to express themselves creatively, but also to process their traumatic experiences.

On the 18th December, 2019, the photographs and videos of the participants were exhibited in the courtyard of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition was opened by the Talitha Kumi Children’s Choir from Bethlehem, as well as the Minister of State for International Cultural Policy at the Federal Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering, who emphasised the importance of cultural initiatives in peacebuilding processes. After opening remarks by elbarlament’s Managing Director, Dr Birgit Laubach, two participants of the writing workshops, Eman El-Waily from Basra and Hanaa Ahmad Mohammad from Mosul, offered a reading of their poetry and shared their experiences in Iraqi society and their journey to writing.

The event was part of the project “Cultural Initiatives for Civil Society in Iraq 2019”, which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office