First established in 2008, the biennial Arab British Centre Award for Culture supports Arab culture and art in the UK, celebrating individuals who have contributed to the intercultural exchange between the two regions. On Thursday during this year’s award ceremony, Syrian children’s author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan was honoured with the award for uniting the Arab world with english-speaking families through her work.
Her stories, for instance, The Jasmine Sneeze and Tomorrow, highlight Damascus and the realities of being a child in the region.
Nadine Kaadan celebrates with family and friends
Courtesy of The Arab British Centre
Kaadan accepted the award saying, “honestly, when I was even nominated, I felt like such a winner because being among these wonderful women [in the shortlisted candidates of individuals] is just an incredible privilege, and to know about their work and be on the same level as them is so inspiring,” she said, tearing up.
“This award, this year, tells us something: this is Arab women, this is who we are. We are empowered, we are strong, and [we’ve had] enough of the media who keep misrepresenting who Arab women are, and who caricature us.”
For the category of organisations, the award was received by music events production company MARSM, a company which highlights Arab culture across the UK. “Moments like these, especially surrounded by such amazing individuals and organisations, puts things into perspective and allows us to reflect on the work we’ve done in the past years and the impact it has. Reminding ourselves and hopefully yourselves as well, that our work does pay off, it inspires, it unites, it creates and shapes,” said Federika Schliessler, from MARSM.
“More than anything, we are proud of creating a platform where artists do not compromise who they are and what they believe in, especially in order to find a place and voice in a city like London.”
Kaadan and MARSM have won 11,285 Dhs in cash and a British Council travel grant to visit a country in the Arab world. Taking home a British Council travel grant, Sudanese textile artist Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings was awarded runner-up for the category of individuals while London-based artist platform Sarha Collective was awarded runner-up in the category for organisations.