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This edition of AWAN is more an act of defiance than a celebration. During a time when we witness horrific injustices on our screens unrelentingly – the work, voices, and perspectives of artists become radiant beacons, casting hopeful and uplifting rays of light. 


We stand unwaveringly with the people of Gaza and Palestine. We also stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan and every single oppressed person or community around the world. 


Amidst this darkness, we believe the purpose of art and culture is to reflect the times, shift the narrative, and allow opportunities for restoration and inspiration so that we may continue to fight. The fact that we continue during these times is an act of defiance in itself. 


We feel a tremendous sense of pride in the growing achievements and confidence of artists from the Arab world and its diaspora. This year, for our 10th edition, we embrace a diverse range of creative projects expressed through commissions and residences , film, art, literature, performance, music, comedy, and workshops. 


Our programme will certainly be in conversation with the current political and social climate we face – with a special emphasis on Gazan and Sudanese voices. Through creating opportunities for topical cultural exchange, our aim is to contribute to the formation and strengthening of communities that stand united for a shared vision of inclusivity, resilience, and positive transformation. 


We also want to acknowledge the fact that ‘Arab’ may feel exclusionary to some, particularly those from North and East Africa. We assure everyone of a warm inclusive welcome. 


We also want to clarify that ‘women’ is inclusive of all female-identifying peoples and are committed to challenging restrictive, reductive and binary stereotypes. 


Times are changing. And while our hearts continue to break for the injustices around the world, a global and cultural shift is taking place. We are evermore committed to showcasing the always inspiring and forever evolving programme of Awab Women Artists Now. 


We look forward to welcoming you for our special 10th edition. 




AWAN Festival is pleased to have the continuing support of Arts Council England, Bagri Foundation and Generation 2030 UK. And a special mention this year to the Cockayne Foundation for their generous support. 


We are also thrilled to continue working with AWAN’s partners: Rich Mix, Grand Junction, The Arab British Centre, The Mosaic Rooms, The Africa Center, The Garden Cinema, Finch Cafe and the Royal Albert Hall. We couldn’t do this without you.


Music, visual art, performance, comedy, film, and more by women artists from the Arab World

AWAN is produced by Arts Canteen 

Founder & Director: Aser El Saqqa

we are:

“A platform

for people's stories”

– Al Jazeera on AWAN 2016

"I wanted to provide a platform for Arab women artists to reclaim their bodies, reclaim their experiences, and reclaim their narratives as part of a wider attempt at increasing understanding of the Middle East and the Arab region" Joud Halawani Al Tamimi, Exhibition Curator, 2017

Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) is the UK’s only contemporary multi-arts festival dedicated to showcasing Arab women’s artistic work, taking place each March, to coincide with International Women’s Day across venues in London and beyond.


Produced by Arts Canteen, the festival showcases work in venues across London including Rich Mix, Royal Albert Hall, Grand Junction and the Arab British Centre, celebrating and promoting high quality female artists from the Arab world and diaspora the cross-arts festival features music, literature, visual art, theatre, comedy and performance, along with a series of workshops and development opportunities for emerging artists.

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