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Nujoom Alghanem is an Emirati artist, poet, and multi- award-winning film director. She was born in Dubai in 1962, has published eight poetry collections and produced around twenty films including short fiction, short documentaries, art films and seven feature-length documentaries. Her films have won local, regional and international prizes. She is the founder of Nahar Productions, a film production company based in Dubai and a professional trainer and mentor in filmmaking, art and creative writing.

In 1999, she graduated with MA in Media Production, School of Film, Griffith University in Australia.

In 1996, she finished her bachelor’s degree in Video Production from Ohio University in the United States.

Visual Art:

Nujoom started practicing drawing when she was in high school, and she continued to paint on doors and walls, considering it only a hobby. In the mid-1980s, after her meeting with the late artist Hassan Sharif, she began producing some paintings and sculptural works at Al-Muaraija Studio in Sharjah, where she had the opportunity to present them to the public for the first time.

 

  • She co-founded the Aqwas group, with artist Hassan Sharif, Youssef Khalil, the late Sudanese storyteller, and Khalid Albudoor, the poet, researcher, and translator. (January 1985)

 

  • She published in the Aqwas group’s Silsilat Al Ramad (Chain of Ashes,) which was a poetry/ art/ short story publication.

 

  • She participated with the Emirates Fine Arts Society in the fourth annual exhibition at the Expo Center in Sharjah. (March 28, 1985)

 

  • As part of the initiatives of the Aqwas Group, she participated in a one-day group exhibition in the Central Market of Sharjah with the late artist Hassan Sharif and the poet Khalid Albudoor. After this exhibition, she stopped public participation at the group’s initiatives. (April 19, 1985)

 

  • Photos of her work Between Heaven and Earth were loaned to the Mind / Body exhibition that was held in the Gallery of Light at Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC.) It was curated by the artist and writer Cristiana De Marchi. The production date of this work goes back to April 1994 at the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA, while she was studying for her bachelor's degree. (2013)

 

·She was one of five artists who participated in the exhibition Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play curated by Hammad Nasar for the UAE National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She presented her work "Between Heaven and Earth – The body I borrowed" for the first time in an integrated way with sound and images. (2017)

 

  • In the same year, she participated with her art film Dancing with Shadows at "Mind the Gap", the annual group exhibition at Tashkeel in Dubai.

 

  • She participated in the Sharjah's 21st annual Islamic Art Festival, which carried the slogan "Horizon" with a joint work with the international British singer and song-writer Sami Yusuf, entitled The Room of Mysteries. The exhibition was held at the Sharjah Art Museum. (2018)

 

  • Under the assignment of the "U.A.E. Unlimited" platform, she undertook the task of mentoring six emerging artists to participate in the fifth session exhibition titled Tashweesh: Noise of Materials. She also was the guest artist in the same exhibition where she showed her installation work "Around Us". The exhibition was held at the Maraya Art Center in Sharjah and was curated by Laura Metzler. (2018)

 

 

  • Nujoom was chosen as the solo artist to represent the UAE at the Venice Biennale in Italy. Passage was the name of the site-specific film she produced, and was co-written, designed, and supervised by curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. (2019)

 

  • Nujoom had a solo exhibition named Malamih, in Maraya Art Center in Sharjah, UAE. Under the curation of Dr Nina Heydemann, the exhibition spanned three floors of artworks all shown for the first time. The pieces ranged from paintings, ceramic sculptures, installations, and video art. (2021)

 

  • Exhibited The Room of Mysteries installation at Manarat Al Saadiyat as part of Ramadan Arcade. (May 2021)

 

  • Exhibited An Imaginary Portrait of Palestine which included a film screening and art installation. The exhibition was part of a residency program in collaboration with Tashkeel (UAE). (January 2022)

 

Filmmaking:

In addition to being a visual artist, Nujoom Alghanem is also a writer and film director that has been active in the Arab world.  She started in the field of cinema in 1997.  

Her film "Between Two Banks" was the first Emirati documentary movie to participate in an international film festival in 1999 at the Yamagata International Film Festival for Documentary Films in Japan.  Right after that, her films began to participate in international and regional film festivals besides the local festivals.

Poetry:

As a poet, she began writing in the late seventies and published her work in the local newspapers and some GCC periodicals in the early eighties. She has published the following collections:

  • An evening of Paradise (1989). Writers & Literature Association, Bahrain.

  • Sins (1991). Writers & Literature Association, Bahrain.

  • Journeyings (1995). Dar Aljadeed Publishing, Lebanon.

  • Homes of Pomegranates (1999). Arab Diffusion Company, Lebanon.

  • Indescribable (2005). Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, Lebanon.

  • AngelsofDistantYearning(2008).ArabInstituteforResearchand Publishing, Lebanon.

  • A Night Heavy on the Night (2010) Qalam, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage -the Cultural Foundation, UAE.

  • I Fall Into Myself (2012) Arab Institute for Research and Publishing, Lebanon.

Her poems have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, German, French, Turkish, Italian, Macedonian, Greek, Urdu, and others.

 

Recognitions

  • Award of Achievement – Al Ain Film Festival – 2021.

  • Award of Excellence – Gulf Madhyamam Daily – 2020.

  • Medal for the Pride of the UAE - Mohammed bin Rashid Government Excellence Award – 2019, UAE.

  • Honored by Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for taking an active part in the Gulf Cinema – 2016.

  • Won Sayidaty magazine’s Award for Excellence and Innovation - 2016.

  • Selected as the Personality of the Month by Emaratalyoum Newspaper in Dubai, December 2015.

  • Recognized with other 11 women from around the Middle East for being un-stoppable - Femina Middle East magazine - 2015.

  • Recognition for her distinguished role in film production in the UAE, Watani, Filmi Program - 2014.

  • Recognized for her contribution in filmmaking in the Gulf Region by the GCC Film Festival in Kuwait - 2013.

  • Honored by Filmi, part of Watani Al Emarat initiative for her contribution in the film movement in the UAE – 2013.

  • L’Officiel Woman of the Year Awards in Literature - 2010.

  • Recognized as the most promising film director in Dubai International Film Festival – 2008.

  • Rashid Award for Scientific Outstanding, 2002.

  • Nantes Mayer’s Medal on her contribution in filmmaking - the Three Continents’ Film Festival, Nantes, France-2001.

 

Work Experience:

  • In terms of work experience, Alghanem started her career early on when she was still a high school student. She worked in the field of journalism for several years until she held the position of head of the cultural department of the Dubai and Northern Emirates offices at Al Ittihad newspaper, a well-established and largest daily newspaper in the UAE.

  • After obtaining her master's degree, she worked for the Emirates Media Incorporated in Abu Dhabi, where over the years, she held matiple positions. Some of these included training coordinator, head of the training department, and director of new media in addition to her role as secretary of the Executive Committee.

  • Nujoom is acclaimed for her vast experience in various fields of audio, visual, written and electronic media, in addition to her numerous artistic skills.

 

 

Mentoring and Training

Throughout her career, Nujoom has been involved in mentoring and training programs related to art, creative writing, and filmmaking. Some of her recent mentoring activities in the UAE and the region include collaborating with the following organizations and platforms:

  • TAM Development LLC. (Saudi Arabia) – works with them as a mentor and regional film consultant.

  • Maraya Art Center (Sharjah, UAE) – worked with them as a mentor and conducted art workshops. 

  • UAEUNLIMTED (Abu Dhabi, UAE) – collaborated with them as a guest artist to mentor six emerging artists.

  • Dar Al Adaab Emirates Literature Foundation (UAE) – prepared and delivered a script-writing workshop

  • Youth Theater and Arts (Dubai, UAE) – prepared and delivered video art workshops

  •  BLEEP (UAE) – trained and mentored young and emerging artists

 

Current Activities:

  • A trustee on the Board of Trustees of the International Prize of Arabic Fiction from 2012 until today.

  • She has been participating as a jury member in numerous film festivals regionally and internationally.

  • Works as a Cultural Consultant for media projects and media companies.

  • A trainer and mentor in the following areas: film production, creative writing, and art.

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Nujoom Alghanem

نجوم الغانم