From the perception of success to making positive change in society, these are just some of the conversations that have been sparked by the work of women creatives, change-makers and social champions in the Festival of Women, N.O.W. presented by arts company T:>Works.
For artistic director Noorlinah Mohamed, besides celebrating the not ordinary work of women, the festival “engages with issues that are important to those around us and in the process we learn how little we know of the world we live in, and how much empathy, solidarity, alliance and unity can be achieved once we are exposed and are open to know”.
For her third and final edition of the festival, which is all-virtual at notordinarywork.com for the second year, from July 13 to 31, “my aim is not to draw attention to inequalities but to spotlight the courage, fortitude, ingenuity and smarts of women, and those who identify as women, regardless of upbringing, race and class”. The festival line-up highlights the causes and issues that women hold dear, especially those that are often invisible in the mainstream media.
Take, for example, Thamizhachi: A Digital Museum of Tamil Women Under Construction, led by anthropologist and writer Vithya Subramaniam of Brown Voices, a collective of Singapore Indian playwrights, which looks at the varied and nuanced ways of being a Singaporean Tamil woman.
Curated by artists ila and Sonia Kwek, the digital exhibition nudes.sg, the third iteration of their Red Thread series, features the images of bodies, along with personal and collective narratives. The artists are inviting people to spend a little time with themselves in their private spaces to take a photo of their own bodies for themselves.
Meanwhile, artist Salty Xi Jie Ng brings together 15 women from diverse cultures and backgrounds to discuss intimacy in ageing in Not Grey: Intimacy, Ageing and Being. Noorlinah will also kick off The ‘F’ Word series of talks, where guests address the scientific, psychological and personal experience of fear, and the strategies to cope.
“I don’t think it is important to continue doing and doing. It is sufficient to light the fire, stoke it for a while, and let it burn elsewhere and in other ways. That’s the mark of the festival’s contribution to the ecosystem,” says Noorlinah, who along with four N.O.W. 2021 collaborators, share insights from their respective works. For the full festival line-up, visit notordinarywork.com.