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OMNI Arabic Year in Review: Montreal artist challenges outdated gender roles through her illustrations

Reem El Attar – or ”Reem Illustrates’ – is a Palestinian-Canadian illustrator using her art to fight the social and cultural standards she said are imposed on Arab and Muslim woman by the community.
Reem told OMNI Television that everything changed for her after learning about the death of 21-year-old Israa Ghrayeb, who was reportedly beaten to death by her family in an “honor killing” after posting a selfie with her fiancé a day before they were to be engaged. She noted that Israa’s story was just one of many that illustrated the prevalent cultural belief that men can dictate how women use their bodies and the double standards between genders when it comes to sex. It was the push she needed to be a driving force in changing that the only way she knew how: through art.
With over 20K followers on Instagram alone, Reem shares the lived experiences of women around the world through her beautiful illustrations to let them know they’re not alone and educate members of the community to break the misogynistic cycle.

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