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Emirati women illustrators on Instagram: An exploratory study

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Abstract

Instagram has become a popular social media platform for visual expression: many Emirati youth are drawn to the platform because it is one of the most widespread social networks, allowing them to share information, pictures and personal stories. This research study will analyze a collection of illustrations posted on Instagram by a selected group of female Emirati artists by relating these posts to their social context. It employs a qualitative approach involving personal interviews to identify points of view related to the existing visual material created by these 'avant-garde' illustrators. The results show that a new trend of illustration stemming from Japanese animé and manga is emerging among young female Emirati artists whose Instagram posts constitute a subtle commentary about local traditions while revealing cultural inhibitions. The study also reveals how these illustrators' artwork impacts their followers and how these, conversely, contribute to shape the artists' work. The illustrators discuss the challenges they face and offer reflections on how best to grow their practice to reach a wider audience.

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