Sarah Daher—Curator, Writer, Researcher


This lark sips at every pond: women as artist and muse
February - April 2021

An exhibition is not an ending, not a period point to a certain narrative. The way a woman presents herself, through art, curation, or any other avenue, is not an endpoint. Her narrative, as a muse or subverter of the muse, is also its own journey in flux. “This lark sips at every pond” is instead an opening. Six female artists, a curious female curator, and a small space are enough to flute outwards into larger conversations about female representation in art, especially in less established and more grassroots spaces.

Vamika Sinha, Postscript Magazine

Exhibition Publication

Neomania Magazine
Art Dubai
Cake DXB
Global Art Daily

Lying in the wake of decades of artistic progression, the muse today is a concept floating heavily in rapid waters. The earliest origins of the muse are found in Greek mythology where the muses
were 9 goddesses of literature, science, and the arts; from their very inception in 700 BC muses were mystic women who induced men to create.

Later in modern art, muses were the sources of ever-flowing inspiration for the most celebrated male artists (think Stieglitz x Georgia O’Keefe, Lennon x Yoko Ono, Picasso x Dora Maar, and Freud x Celia Paul), all women artists in their own right but all romantically remembered for their relation to masterful men. But the tide is turning, we sit on the crest of a new wave in which the art world begins to build recognition for the multitude of talented female artists creating work today.

This lark sips at every pond platformed six female artists who challenge the dominant narrative of the female as a muse with no agency. Through film, music, painting, photography, poetry, and installation the exhibition asked crucially: what does the muse become when it is diffracted through the eye of a female artist? Where can inspiration
dwell? How can it be tapped? And who can sip from which pond?

Featuring works by the talented Aliyah Alawadhi, Mashael Alsaie, Juletta, Marta Lamovsek, Cristalina Parra, and Amina Yahia This lark sips at every pond was on show at maisan15 for three months in early 2021.

The accompanying exhibition publication features artist interviews, poetry, commissioned writing, and photography. It was edited by Sarah Daher, designed by Maria Daher, and published in an edition of 200 by Farook International Stationery.

This lark sips at every pond: women as artist and muse, images courtesy of curator


November - December 2018

The show, Within/Without, is a small jewel of works of contemporary and modern Arab art, focusing in the main on portraits. There are, as one might expect, works by Marwan, the great Syrian scholar of the face, in whose hands the visage assumes landscape-like properties — ravines and peaks and troughs.

Melissa Gronlund, The National

Exhibition Publication

The National
NYU Abu Dhabi
The Eye of Arabia

The face in art is typically seen as a sign of the self, and the faithful representation of physical appearance has been understood as synonymous with the truth of individuality. But what happens when portraiture’s commitment to verisimilitude is stripped away and personhood is detached from physical appearance?

Within/Without presents the work of artists, predominantly Arab, who have explored the connections and disconnections between the interior and exterior selves over the last five decades. From Bashar Alhroub’s ‘Here and Now’ photographs to Marwan Sahmarani’s painting ‘The Wolf is Crying Like a Child’, the artworks stretch across a wide spectrum of formal innovation, from new forms of figuration to expressionist abstraction.

In an age when people across the globe seem more and more obsessed with appearance, the artworks here remind us that artists from a variety of cultural traditions have for a long time been putting the self into question and challenging us to look at ourselves anew. The exhibition offers a welcome reprieve from the hyper self-focused images we are bombarded with every day.

Within/Without was curated by the Curatorial Practice class at NYUAD, taught by Professor Salwa Mikdadi: Nadia Al Hashmi, Alia Al Jallaf, Valentín Benoit, Niccolò Acram Cappelletto, Sarah Daher, Sakurako Naka, Penelope Peng, Giulia Turchetti, Vuk Vukovic. All the artworks in the exhibition were chosen from the private collection of HE Dr. Zaki Nusseibeh and displayed publicly for the first time.

Within/Without, images courtesy of Sebastian Rojas Cabal