painting by Thaira Al Mayahy

painting by Thaira Al Mayahy


Her Story Is supports artistic conversations, exchanges, and creation among female U.S. and Iraqi artists.

This project continues work begun in The Basra-Boston Project, which presented exhibits and performances in 2016.


Lillie Paquette created this video for "Her Story Is," a collaborative multidisciplinary exploration among women from Iraq and the Boston area. "Her Story Is" celebrates common ground among the artists in both countries, while acknowledging profound cultural and political differences.


Sunday, June 24th @ 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Avenue
Somerville, Massachusetts


Tuesday, June 26th @ 2:30 pm
Presentation by Anne Loyer, Jennifer Jean, Amir Al-Azraki, and Amy Merrill
University Hall, Room 2300
University of Massachusetts, Boston

Legislative Theater:
Saving the Joiner

Wednesday, June 27th @ 2:00 - 4;00 pm
Presented by Amir Al-Azraki
Writers' Workshop
William Joiner Institute
University Hall, Room 2300
University of Massachusetts, Boston


June 8th - 22nd @ 7 am - 10 pm
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress Street
Boston, Massachusetts

 The first night in Dubai (l-r): Jennifer Jean, Nadia Sekran, Dina Fadil, Anne Loyer, Amy Merrill, Lillie Paquette, Thaira Mayyahi, Elham Nasser al-Zabeedy, Mary Mohsen; photo courtesy of Amy Merrill

The first night in Dubai (l-r): Jennifer Jean, Nadia Sekran, Dina Fadil, Anne Loyer, Amy Merrill, Lillie Paquette, Thaira Mayyahi, Elham Nasser al-Zabeedy, Mary Mohsen; photo courtesy of Amy Merrill


- Staged reading of a play with music co-written by Amy Merrill and Elham Nasser Al-Zabeedy, featuring singer Nano Raies and oud player Mohamed Salah , directed by Kathryn Howell
- Poetry by Hana' Ahmed Mohammed and Jennnifer Jean
- Video by Lillie Paquette
- Art by Thaira Al Mayahi, Elham Nasser Al-Zabeedy, and Maryam Mohsen
- Commentary on Her Story Is by Anne Loyer, Amy Merrill, and Jennifer Jean


Her Story Is focuses on empowering women’s voices. For the past year, four American women artists and four Iraqi women artists have communicated via Skype, email, and blogging about their art, their lives, and the relation of both to their countries and the world.

In December 2017, seven of these artists met for five days in Dubai, a location accessible to both Americans and Iraqis. Over the five days, each participant offered a workshop for the others. At this face-to-face encounter among women from two countries divided by war and geography, the participants discussed their artistic disciplines, told personal stories, and laughed and cried. All felt that the face-to-face meeting was an invaluable step in building their relationships as individuals and artists as they discovered common and divergent experiences between women from Iraq and the United States.

After the artists and coordinators left Dubai, they reaffirmed their commitment to continuing the relationships and laying the groundwork for a series of collaborative projects in both countries. Since then, teams creating specific works have met regularly. As a full group, they continue to participate regularly in Skype calls as they prepare for the public exhibits and performances.

This project to support, strengthen, and expand relationships between women artists in Iraq and the Boston area continues work begun in the Basra-Boston Project, which offered a very successful exhibit and performances in 2016.



Friday, June 15, 2018
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress Street
Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Poetry Festival
Sunday, May 6th, 2018
LIbrary Room, Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square West
Salem, Massachusetts


Life writing and Autobiography Workshop:

January, 2018. Nadia Sekran, a translator and presenter at the Dubai workshop led a session in Basra, sponsored by the Lotus Women’s Cultural League, a co-sponsor of Her Story Is.  Nadia is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia, studying literature and linguistics.

Radio Al Rasheed Interview:

February 2018. Elham Nasser Al-Zabaedy was interviewed on International Woman’s Day. She talked about the Dubai workshop, and the importance of making the voices of Iraqi women writers and artists heard by international audiences to achieve cross-cultural communication

Writing workshop with the Lotus Women’s Cultural League and Basra University:

March 25-26, 2018 Aimed at continuing the impact of the workshop held in January. Elham talked about her experience in the Dubai workshop.


This project is the current phase in an ongoing collaboration among the Fort Point Theatre Channel, UMass Boston’s Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences, the University of Basra, the Center for Arabic Culture, the Odysseus Project, playwright Amir Al-Azraki, and the Lotus Women’s Cultural  League. This project is supported in part with funding from Boston Properties/Atlantic Wharf, the South Boston Community Development Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Boston Cultural Council.