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Abstract

This research paper focuses on the art of three women artists—Fatima Abu-Roomi, Samah Shihadi and Fatma Shanan. The research paper focuses on the work of three women artists who are ‘double-minority’—Fatima Abu-Roomi, Samah Shihadi, and Fatma Shanan. Their ‘double-minority’ status comes from being Arab women, raised in patriarchal communities as Muslims (Abu-Roomi and Shihadi), or Druze (Shanan), who live and work among a Jewish majority in the Western-based environment of Israel. The objectives of this research are to point out the significance of their art as an innovative and unique voice within the Israeli art scene that reflect the conditions of young Arab women living in Israel today. Through analysis of their art, the research will aim to explore the artistic strategies, topics, and styles, as a means of negotiating their identity as a ‘double-minority’. A feminist reading of the artwork will be followed by another theoretical point of view from the psychoanalyst Donald W. Winnicott who coined the term “potential space”. In different “potential spaces”, the artists question cultural boundaries, national issues of colonialism, and gender roles. Choosing art as an ideological site, as well as a practical platform, allows them to widely investigate their identity in a complex minority situation and formulate a path for social change.

Note on the Author

Ms. Marnin-Distelfeld earned her Ph.D. from the University of Haifa, Israel in 2012. Her dissertation dealt with representations of homemakers as they appeared in the popular Hebrew culture of Mandatory Palestine. Ms. Marnin-Distelfeld is currently on leave from Zefat Academic College where she teaches art history classes at the department of literature, art and music. Her studies focus on gender and art in Israel – past and present.

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