Saudi Arabia is seeing a significant rise in the number of female activists who are vigorously working on changing laws that contribute to the marginalization of women. Samar Badawi and Manal Al-Sharif are two of the women whose names have been circulating in the Western media for their brave attempts in challenging Saudi law. On March 8th, 2012, the U.S. Department of State awarded Badawi an “International Women of Courage Award” for being the first Saudi female to file suit against the Saudi government and win. Subsequently Manal Al-Sharif made Time Magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” for inspiring a movement that encourages women to drive.
While Badawi and Al-Sharif are seen as heroes in the United States, their international recognition has ironically caused their efforts to be dismissed and devalued in Saudi Arabia because of their U.S. connections. In this body of work, my aim as a Saudi artist is to acknowledge the efforts and bravery of the many female activists in Saudi, while simultaneously highlighting the limitations present in the dialogue taking place between the East and the West.