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 aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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