It’s no secret that quarantine left us searching for ways to kill time. To free from constraints and fill their schedule, some people decided to immerse themselves in art. Be it through sound, images, or stories, this form of self-expression has been a universal language that tied the world together during these hard times. Hind Joucka – founder – and Sama Shahrouri –Editor in Chief of artmejournal, artmejo ’s online magazine, a Jordanian platform that promotes art and culture in the Arab world, decided to share how art has been essential in times of confinement.
How artmejo Came to Be
In 2014, Joucka noticed a gap between art enthusiasts and artistic institutions in the kingdom. Coincidentally, she had been assigned an arts and culture project in university. She went on to create artmejo as part of that project. Her goal was simple: connecting artists with aesthetes. Joucka expressed how art is extremely meaningful to her, how it carries timeless messages, and how she wants to give everyone the chance to experience them. Her platform was originally about showcasing art galleries, events, workshops, along with her art and culture-centered articles. She never stopped working on the platform even after graduating. But when Joucka took on various projects in Jordan such as Art at the Park, it became hard to keep up. To save her passion project, it was time to have more hands-on deck.
artmejournal" And The Platform Expansion"
As one of artmejo’s first followers on social media, Sama Shahrouri carried a huge love for the platform. She reached out to Joucka with a proposition. Shahrouri revealed that as an artist, she’s not only passionate about viewing art but also reading about it. So, she suggested creating an online journal that would serve as a hub for artistic content in the Arab world. The two met at Art at the Park to discuss details. Later on, they started recruiting Arab writing volunteers from all over the globe to generate content such as art reviews, artist interviews, features, etc. Shahrouri revealed that youth involvement in the artistic movement has reshaped art, particularly in the Arab world. This explains why you can see work by several young talents in the journal. Shahrouri explained that Jordan is witnessing an artistic revolution as our generation constantly aims at creating something different and going beyond the threshold.
There is No Quarantine Without “Art”
The months before COVID-19, artmejo not only showcased art galleries and exhibitions, but they also created a large mural in one of the city’s oldest areas, DT Amman, where they provided multiple consultations. After the pandemic resulted in institutions closing their doors and everyone remaining home.
The artmejo team created three alternative ways to stay entertained during confinement:
● Hajer Fanni:
“Artistic Quarantine” is all about online workshops accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Young emerging artists from Europe and the MENA region showcase several art techniques, tips, and guided hands-on activities for everyone to experience!
● Art Around:
Fun, friendly, and educational content! Team collaborators use their cameras to film the art scene around them. Be it the Louvre Museum, street art in Amsterdam, or buildings in China, you’ll travel the world without leaving the couch.
● At the Studio With:
Ever wondered what goes on in an artist's mind? This fun series hosts artist interviews with topics that cover life, journey, inspirations, and artistic space. Some of the people interviewed were Tamam Al-Akhal and Rawand Issa!
Finally, and in honor of artmejo’s second anniversary, Joucka and Shahrouri shared their advice for budding young artists: Just do it! Shahrouri explained that you will come face to face with many obstacles, but if you focus on your passion, the only thing you’ll see is a clear road towards your destination. While it may be a long journey ahead, it’s definitely worth it.