I created ilikum (ee-lee-kum) to present emerging cultural art forms from the Middle East that propel social change. The Arabic word, ilikum, means to you, and the content includes visual art, music, film, animation, literature, poetry, dance, and theater from a broad interpretation of Middle East countries and adjacent countries within Middle East influential proximity. Sometimes, non-Middle Eastern content is added that corresponds or responds to a Middle East cultural counterpart when the connection enhances or challenges other content.
Additionally, I look at the producing artists to understand who they are in association with what they produce, and where possible, in context to the social-political environment where they are from. Content can be explored by both country and class of culture.
Creative producers portray identity and societal challenges that directly correlate to the political and social circumstances under which the art is produced, and this is true, of course, with the creative producers throughout the world and throughout history, not just in the Middle East now. Further, these artists reveal and respond in a way that politics and news media cannot and will not, and it is useful to see how artistic perspective conforms to or diverges from what we expect from Eastern cultures. And, because much of ilikum.org content is sourced and presented as social media, artists’ use of social media is examined too, and it proves to be a vital tool for artists to publicize their work under challenging circumstances that would otherwise prohibit us knowing about it.
I am a brand identity developer, strategist, and graphic designer in the Greater New York City area. I studied art and design at the former Cooper School of Art in the Midwest and Middle East language and culture at Columbia University. I have traveled to the Middle East, and I urge you to explore travel-safe areas too — it is a fantastic place with remarkable people and astonishing historical and contemporary culture. ilikum.org is a cultural effort of T.R. Nimen ©2017. All artist content is protected under its respective source copyrights.