Women artists for social transformation


Xabaca was born from the collaboration of Novact (BCN), Al Fanar (Madrid) and Jiwar (BCN).

It wants to support female Arab creators for two reasons: their role in social transformation through art and for the double oppression they face for being artists and women. Very often, cultural creation is a tool to visualize and cross red lines of power structures and facilitates the questioning of the status quo.

Female creators face a very specific type of repression. Patriarchy and the defiance towards the status quo generate a particular form of restraint which affects women in a different way than it affects men. The public and the political role of female creators is reduced, by minimizing the distribution, exposure and advocacy of their products.

Xabaca puts forward the realization of artistic works linked to this whole context, taking into account the importance of gender and repression as fundamental aspects of the defense of freedom of expression and free creation of female Arab artists.

In the mean time, Jiwar-NovAct-AlFanar will work to give a feedback to the Catalan and Spanish society spreading the word of the artists and contributing to break social stereotypes around a fixed image of “the Arabic women”.

Xabaca will be structured into two different areas:

1 Artistic development: to enhance art and creativity as means to combat gender discrimination, censorship and social injustice.

2 Empowering activist aspects: to strengthen the capacities of the two female Arab artists to increase their role in social change. This will be done by participation in workshops and putting them in touch with the international support network Xabaca, established in 2017.


Xabaca presentation in IEMed, March 2017 (Barcelona) witht the artists Fatima Mortada, Farah Ben Mansour, Haya Zaatry, Sofia Aissaoui & Houda Lakhdar.



  • Open call for Arab female artists living and working in MENA region (North Africa + Middle East).
  • Open to performers and visual artists.
  • Residency in Jiwar Creation and Society (Barcelona) from the 1st of November to the 1st of December 2018.
  • 2 full scholarships covering 100% the cost of the residence (travel + accommodation), including 450 euros per diem and artist
  • Artistic material covered 
until 200€/artist
  • Training: “Art and social transformation” (3 sessions)
  • Send your application to jiwar@jiwarbarcelona.com by July 1st at 0.00h BCN time.   Applications can be send preferably in English and French but also in Arabic



The artist has to send a PDF with not more than 5 pages with the following information:

  • Personal motivation letter to participate in Xabaca project (maximum 1,200 characters without spaces)
  • Statement/artist pro le (Max. 1,000 characters without spaces)
  • Proposal for the project to be done during the residence (maximum 2.000 characters without spaces) including technical requirements and objectives
  • Updated short CV version
  • Sample of your previous works (website link ok).


Artists selected in 2017 First Edition: Fatima Mortada (visual arts, Lebanon); Sofia Aissaoui & Houda Lakhdar (cinema, Morocco); Haya Zaatry (songwriter, Palestina); Farah Ben Mansour (illustration, Tunisia).

More about Jiwar: http://jiwarbarcelona.com/artistic-vindication-neighbourhood-values/

This project has, for the second edition 2018, the support of the City of Barcelona:




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