While the Coffee Grounds Settle

Stories by Women in the UAE



WHEN: 17 January–13 June 2022

WHERE: Fathom Gallery, Washington D.C., USA


Curated by Dirwaza Curatorial Lab for the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington D.C.



While the Coffee Grounds Settle: Stories by Women in the UAE is an exhibition celebrating the diversity of women in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through the lens of fluid, inclusive spaces that center cultures of femininity.

Featuring women artists spanning generations and backgrounds, the exhibition examines traditionally feminine spaces as venues for social exchange, as well as for women’s leadership and togetherness. Such spaces foster a sense of community through the construction of common interests and shared values, and help document the evolution of women’s power and narratives throughout time.

The living room as a vessel takes center stage throughout the exhibition. It is a space of liberation and exchange that organically preserves oral histories, passing on narratives of culture and society. The living room, the Majlis, and other spaces of this kind have their own nuanced cues, codes and hierarchies to maintain structure and clear communication, however, they are almost always colored with humor and allow space for curiosity, new ideas and fresh voices.

This exhibition highlights interior spaces that witness generational initiations directly impacting the authorship of women throughout history. These congregations become the classrooms that give license, authority and create change in the nation we know today.

In celebration of Emirati Women’s Day, this exhibition highlights artists of the United Arab Emirates – both nationals and residents alike – who further explore these feminine social spaces as being vital to the human experience in their privacy, intimacy, and empowerment.

Participating Artists are Aisha Juma, Areej Kaoud, ARUUA, Ayesha Hadhir, Azza Al Qubaisi, Bénédicte Gimonnet, Dima Abou Zannad, Fatema Al Fardan, Fatima Uzdenova, Fatma Lootah, Ghada Al Sayegh, Hala Al-Ani, Hala El Abora, Khawla Almarzoogi, Maitha Hamdan, Malda Smadi, Nahla Tabbaa, Dr. Najat Makki, Noura Al Neyadi, Rand Abdul Jabbar, Sara Ahli, Shaikha Al Ketbi, Shamma Al Amri, Taqwa Alnaqbi and Zainab Imad Eddin.





Photography by Andrew Truhn ,