Podcast: Gallery Girl Meets Nadine Editions

In this episode of the Gallery Girl Podcast, our guest is Nadine Nour El Din, an artist and cultural practitioner. She is also the founder of Nadine Editions, a series of art activity books focusing on artists from the MENA region for children and adults of all ages. 

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A spread from Nadine’s book about Jewad Selim

“My earliest memories [of art] are drawing and creating things with my mum”, says Nadine, “[It] wasn’t until I took an accidental art class during my undergrad degree that I got interested in art again.” Her new project, Nadine Editions, is currently in the work, and provides educational materials about the artists from the Arab region. “For me the project has very personal motivations”, she says, “When I was younger in school we had primarily Western male artists as references for a lot of art class prompts. I think it’s such a shame that kids aren’t exposed to more artists from different backgrounds at such a young age.”

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Nadine having an art-themed birthday party age 7

While the books are still in the development stages, Nadine has published colouring pages of her first too artists – Inji Efflatoun and Jewad Selim – online. “Making them allows me to look at the artists in a way that I wouldn’t have done before”, she explains of the production process, “I have to zoom into the painting and look at the brushstrokes and make the decisions to simplify it in a way that reflects the work accurately.” Nadine will also hand paint all of the book illustrations herself too, so she will be able to reflect the spirit of the artists she is talking about. 

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Nadine’s colouring pages and book by Inji Efflatoun

In addition to the colouring pages, Nadine has also created Spotify playlists of the artists she’s researching. “They reflect what they would have been listening to, or what music would have been in their realm of existence”, she explains. And as a bonus, she’s made meditative films about the artwork too. “Because everyone’s so stressed out”, says Nadine, “It’s a really difficult time.” 

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Nadine working on a spread from her book about Jewad Selim

But how did she get started on actually researching the artists? She explains that she began with artists she wanted to learn more about personally. “My inspiration to start was probably Inji Efflatoun”, Nadine explains, “Not only was she an artist but also an activist and a women’s rights activist, and I think she was such an important character that not many people know about. I think it would be really nice to know her growing up.” 

And where does she research? “For a lot of them I’m reading their memoirs or going through archives”, says Nadine, “I feel a responsibility. A big part of the audience is young kids. It needs to be historically accurate. I don’t want to be teaching them incorrect information.” Stay tuned for more updates from Nadine Editions!

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer and curator. She is the founder of Gallery Girl - a London-based curatorial platform and website dedicated to modern and contemporary art from across the globe. Her work is primarily focused on supporting emerging female artists from the Middle East and the Caucasus. She has written for Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, Suitcase and Vice Arabia among other publications. Her exhibitions in London and Armenia have been featured in Vogue Arabia, The Art Newspaper, The Art Gorgeous and numerous other news outlets. Gallery Girl has also spoken in the UK, UAE and Belgium about the contemporary art scene in the MENA region, and is planning further events in London and Amman.

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