Dardishi Zine is a community arts project founded by and showcasing the cultural talents of Arab and North African womxn in Glasgow (womxn is a term here used to encompass trans and cis women as well as intersex and nonbinary people). The group delivers a 3-day festival every year at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, and although the precarious nature of face-to- face events is ever-present in 2021, the publication of zines and online collaborative works has not been halted.
Dardishi: Issue 2 is a comforting read that is focused on the concept of healing. To create the publication, the community of artists and writers associated with Dardishi came together within its pages to analyse what ‘healing’ means to them. Overwhelmingly, the responses were heartfelt discussions of collective trauma ,stemming from the intergenerational issues faced by people of colour living in diasporic environments across the world: notions of colonialism, imperialism, war, poverty and displacement run rampant through the shared experiences of these womxn.
Dardishi: Issue 2 includes contributions from 34 talented creators, and incorporates a range of media, from poetry, prose, illustration, and collage, to both personal and critical essays. The womxn between the pages talk with sharp wit and bitter anger about their intersectional existences, and the differing experiences which define them as individuals.
It is important to note that the experiences of these womxn are centred around being people of colour, foreigners in a white society. When Aude Nasr’s illustrative tale of catching ‘the little ghosts sitting on our shoulders’ describes carrying on one’s back the trauma of one’s ancestors – how relatable is this feeling? For thousands of people living in Scotland it is a very familiar experience indeed.
Leila Maachi perhaps puts it best in her poem ‘the trial: case of the cyborg and the human’, which explores a world where a cyborg becomes the fabled ‘other’. How does this machine go about explaining separation? How can a robot understand inhumanity? Maachi asks the reader to explain the algorithm for human suffering to a confused cyborg. What answer should one give?
This zine is an important edition: every submission offers highly personal interpretations of growth and what healing means to each contributor. It can act not only as a source of comfort and community for its target audience of Arab and North African womxn, but for all those familiar with the pain of this type of collective trauma.
For those new to these discussions, however, the zine exists as an interesting starting point. To anyone who has never given this topic much thought, but is open to learning more: it comes highly recommended.