Art & PhotographyThe Arts

A Wide Range of Wondrous Women

Laila Masri paints outside the box–the box, she says, that society wants to push women into. “That box labeled ‘the oppressed, the angelic, the sexualised, the dominating…the list goes on.” Instead of “narrowing women down to one particular image”, she rather depicts women in all their variety: “their wide range of lifestyles, egos, personalities, quirks, and most of all, how they are inspired by both Middle Eastern and global influences of mainstream culture.”

Some of Masri’s work focuses on the ties binding women to their communities. In the recurring series “Social Threads”, feminine figures appear as processions of vertical skeins. But in individual portraits these threads evolve. In “Operation Dubai”, a female face is crowned with a modern cityscape, while “Mathematics” pictures a like figure’s angry explosive “brainstorm” hinting at new creations. Her latest portrait, “Opium Bride”, achieves her lushest enigma yet.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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