Arwa Abouon (1982-2020), Ustadha [Woman Teacher], Healing the Natural Way, Transmission, One on One, 2018, 3 ink-jet prints. MMFA, purchase, Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program
It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death of Arwa Abouon, a young and talented Montreal artist, who found ways to explore her plural identity with the utmost grace and finesse. This graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University leaves behind a body of work that is appreciated and recognized internationally. Drawing on her own experience, both as a Muslim living in the West and as an active member of the Libyan community in Quebec, she examined the challenges facing women in a multicultural society. She celebrated the role of women in Islamic culture, wherein they are seen as essential bearers of wisdom. In 2018, the Museum commissioned a photographic triptych from Abouon in view of the opening of the new Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World. The work depicts a scene of teaching and sharing amongst the artist’s mother and friends, the inner circle that played such an important role in Abouon’s personal and professional life. When hearing her speak about her work, we were touched by her sensitivity and generosity of spirit. Her spirit and her art will live on in us forever.