Sarha Collective is a London-based interdisciplinary platform started by two women, Mai Kanaaneh and Nadia Yahlom-Switat, who were inspired whilst living in Palestine to form a collective which would encourage new ways of representing and thinking about Palestine and the broader Middle East.
The collective was formed out of a concern that so many of the progressive ideas that we have encountered in the Middle East are not being given due recognition or support outside of the region. Our mission is to provide opportunities for audiences in Europe and beyond to learn about and participate in some of these through exhibitions, talks, performances, film screenings and other events.
Sarha aims to challenge all forms of thinking that reduce the Middle East to grotesque generalisations. Such generalisations both distort the past and present, and deny hope for future stability and autonomy in the region. We have seen how they have been used to justify the dominance of various political and economic interests in this part of the world and to legitimise war, colonisation and multiple other forms of repression.
The Collective rejects the characterisation of the Middle East as a savage and fanatical region: repressive by nature and doomed to cyclical violence. We reject it as a region of romantic and sensual plenty: naive, easily exploited and seduced by the West. And we reject it as one homogenous entity: stagnant, anachronistic and in need of constant foreign intervention.
We define ourselves as a collective because we believe in working collaboratively with all participants in our projects. We are committed to supporting early-career creatives and are particularly interested in hosting those whose work has never been shown in the UK previously. We work closely with artists at every stage of development and are always looking for new forms of collaboration and creative exchange as we continue to grow.
If you have an idea and want to see where you can take it, get in touch!