MENA Region Educational Resources

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Dinner with Friends by Azadeh Pirazimian and Shirley Siegal


Dinner with Friends | A Peace Project

Collaboration between Toronto Arts Foundation Award recipient Azadeh Pirazimian from Iran, and artist Shirley Siegal from Israel. This art project emphasizes women’s tremendous capacity in resolving conflict and building peace.

This project was born out of a belief that by coming together, discussing and co-operating, women of different cultures can bring social change and create a better future. Women around the world experience similar difficulties and challenges. Whether they are mothers, sisters or unmarried, they have a mutual language. They can help each other find solutions and relief from pain and suffering. Women often solve issues in a unique way, by listening and seeking non-violent paths of communication.

Dinner With Friends invited women from the Middle East to sit together, share stories and exchange powerful ideas. The project centerpiece is a dining table with plates, cups, water jar, cutlery, tablecloth, and napkins, painted by the artists. Siegal's paintings on ceramic plates are portraits of today's women in the Middle East. Azadeh's paintings combine portraits of women of the Middle East with calligraphy on table-ware and textiles. The dining table symbolizes nourishment, connection and friendship, but it is also a space of communication and negotiation. This art project is a call for women empowerment in different societies and for solving conflicts using peaceful dinner conversations. The artists depict the woman's centrality as the ‘Matriarch’ who calls the family to the table, and through food and talk conflicts are resolved and peace is made. This depiction envisions women’s significant potency in fixing issues and building peace; a presence that has been missing.

The project seeks to create a dialogue through paintings, art objects and direct participation of the audience in ‘round table’ conversations.

Artistic Process:


Shirley Siegal 

Azadeh Pirazimian

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