Sara Shehda is a Bedouin artist who lives and creates in Arad. Her art focuses on identity and the cultural and emotional realities of Bedouin and Arab women in Israel who live on the seamline between traditional culture and the desire for self-advancement and fulfillment.
The works in the exhibition Sound of Silence respond to authentic socio-cultural situations in Arab society from a female perspective. The exhibition invites visitors-men and women to dialogue about changing a reality that silences women’s voices.
The artist’s self-portraits do not tell her personal story but visually portray women’s life in Arab society, in contemporary Israel. In all the works, the artist wears a hijab, which symbolizes Muslim womanhood and their obligations to tradition, family and the social framework.
The recurring motif of “something lacking and concealed” is in all the works, which Sara loads with silent and silenced thoughts, faiths, aspirations, dreams, fears, memories and emotions of women in the Arab sector. The texts*, colors and metaphorical objects weaved into the background provide additional depth and layers of meaning, while the artist vacillates between personal and communal and between phantasy and reality.
Art in general, and photography in particular, are powerful tools for creating a dialogue, even on subjects that tend to be avoided, like those dealt with in the exhibition: violence in society, violence against women, loneliness, exclusion, oppression and freedom of speech.
*The texts are taken from Les Fleurs du Mal, a book of poetry by French poet, Charles Baudelaire