Empowering Voices: Rana Ibrahim and the Iraqi Women Art and War Project – A Tribute to Refugee Week

In commemoration of Refugee Week, we shine a spotlight on the extraordinary journey and impactful work of Rana Ibrahim, a resident of Makespace Oxford, as she spearheads the Iraqi Women Art and War project. Rana’s story resonates with resilience, creativity, and the strength of refugee individuals, making a significant mark on society. Today, we delve into Rana’s personal experiences, highlighting her own words and the transformative power of art in amplifying marginalised voices.

Rana Ibrahim, founder of Iraqi Women Art and War project. Photo by Peoplesmove

Reflecting on her journey, Rana shares, “When I realised I couldn’t go back [to Iraq], I went through trauma, I blocked out certain memories.” Her compelling narrative echoes the challenges faced by refugees torn between two worlds. Rana’s courage to build a new life in England while grappling with the ongoing concerns for her family’s safety in Iraq is a testament to the resilience that defines many refugees’ experiences.

With an unwavering spirit, Rana embraced the healing power of art, finding solace in her background in archaeology. She remarks, “My degree from Iraq is in archaeology. So when I moved here, I volunteered with museums until I found a paid job, five years later.” Through her dedication, Rana harnessed the language of art to express her own voice and advocate for others affected by conflict.

In 2018, Rana embarked on an empowering endeavour with the launch of the Iraqi Women Art and War project. It became a transformative platform where women could share their stories through artistic expression. Rana passionately declares, “It was the first time I could be me, I could be Rana. I finally felt confident to talk about myself, Iraq, and the war.”

Rana Ibrahim, founder of Iraqi Women Art and War project. Photo by Peoplesmove

The Iraqi Women Art and War project has since become a catalyst for change, fostering empathy and understanding among participants and viewers. Rana’s initiative demonstrates the remarkable potential of art to dismantle stereotypes and create bridges of connection.

As we honour Refugee Week, Rana Ibrahim’s journey exemplifies the resilience and strength of refugees who have not only overcome adversity but also enriched their communities through their creative contributions. Her words and actions inspire us to recognise the transformative power of art, reminding us of the profound impact that can be made when marginalised voices have support.

Through the power of art, we can foster inclusivity, empathy, and a more compassionate world.

Find out more about Rana and her work by visiting the IWAW website.