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Two Libyan Women Show The One Thing that War Can Never Kill

Between the vibrant artistic scene that emerged along the 2011 revolution in Libya and the political uncertainty that followed, an arts collective helmed by two Libyan women is striving to keep the local art scene alive and bring it to the world stage.

Born in 2012, Noon arts is the brainchild of Najlaa Alageli and Nesreen Gebreel, two Libyan expats who decided to move back to Tripoli to scout for artists that could show an authentic portrayal of Libya to the world. “The idea was to put some positive focus on Libya, as the image of the country has been associated with Qaddafi for almost more than 30 years,” Alageli says.

However, as the political situation deteriorated in 2012, they relocated again to set up exhibitions abroad. “There was a great explosion in the art scene, where artists felt free to paint, sculpt, and make art without boundaries: new artists emerged and the old artists’ passions were lit. But currently, as the country has taken a turn to the worst, artists are still working, but in hiding. The lucky ones are outside the country,” says Gebreel.

But conflict and uncertainty mean no barrier for Alageli and Gebreel, who continue to struggle to nurture and invigorate a now fertile terrain. Their last exhibition, entitled “A Libyan Lama” was held last January at the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta, Malta, a multi-media exhibit that included paintings, sculptures, installation art and photography that crystallize the image of a changing post-Revolutionary Libya. “It is vital to showcase Libyan art to the world, because art does not hide the truth: only through art do we get the whole picture of a country and its people,” Alageli adds.

For more information: Visit Noon Arts‘s website.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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