Sometimes writing these entries is nerve-wrecking because I keep thinking how to present culture without endorsing the politics of the (often authoritarian) state it’s produced in. As someone from Russia and living in the US I should be used to the dichotomy, right? Anyway, the main goal of this blog is to show that governments are fleeting, but art, when it’s honest and free, is forever. And one such example is Manal Al Dowayan, a relentless feminist Saudi artist whose body of work centers on showing the rightful place women take in her native society. This project, “Esmi/My Name” is dedicated to the practice where Saudi women often remain nameless, in referring to themselves, or when talked about by men in their lives. The tradition is not rooted in religion or history, but makes it easier to quell female identities. Al Dowayan’s sculpture, giant prayer beads handmade by Saudi Bedouin women, each engraved with women’s names. Because if you don’t mention the women in your life when you pray, you’re not being honest.