Take 5 with Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, artist and producer of Flarewave
22 Sep 2023
‘The deaf community is not invisible’
On 30 September Flarewave presents... Deaf Talent Takeover comes to Brighton Dome, featuring live performances from, among others, poet Douglas Ridloff, deaf comedian and performer Amy Murray, comedian Gavin Lilley and comedy superstar John Bishop. The event is part of Flarewave, a deaf-led arts festival celebrating the work of deaf and hard of hearing artists in venues across Brighton from 28 September to 1 October.
We sat down with Flare Arts Co-Director, Member of the Flarewave Steering Group and Rotational Co-Producer of FlareWave Festival, Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings MBE, to find out more about the festival.
1. Tell us about yourself?
I am a textile artist, craft maker and independent curator who has exhibited both nationally and internationally and, in 2022, I received an MBE for services to people with disabilities in the arts. I am co-director of Flare Arts, an organisation that supports deaf and hard of hearing creatives in the UK and the producer of Flarewave festival.
2. What is Flarewave?
Flarewave came to fruition through wanting to platform and provide opportunities for deaf artists, whilst also educating and advocating for improved, integrated arts events and demonstrating best practices for working with deaf artists.
We also want younger deaf and hard of hearing generations to have role models: to see themselves in the arts and culture sector; and to see viable career progression pathways that are equitable and sustainable. We hope Flarewave will encourage them to develop their own creative skills.
3. Who can attend Flarewave?
Flarewave is an inclusive festival that anyone can attend to see the rich work of deaf artists. Brighton often showcases various arts festivals, but there is a gap when it comes to showcasing deaf artists within the mainstream world. This festival is fully integrated and accessible for everyone.
4. Tell us more about the artists taking part?
Our approach to Flarewave Festival programming is to highlight the diversity of the deaf community and provide diverse representation. We have a variety of artists attending the festival, like storytellers such as US poet and performer Douglas Ridloff, who also works as a sign-language consultant on films and TV shows like A Quiet Place and Only Murders in the Building. Actress Amy Murray will be performing her latest work and flutist Ruth Montgomery will play, and comedians Gavin Lilley and John Bishop are in conversation to discuss the power of communication. There‘s also a host of workshops and panel discussions - it’s all very exciting.
5. What are you most looking forward to and what do you hope audiences take away from Flarewave?
I am looking forward to seeing all our hard work pay off. Then I can sit back and enjoy the festival and see all the artists shine in what will be an amazingly integrated experience for all.
The benefits and wonderful experiences of attending festivals like Flarewave are to widen the eyes of the audience, whether deaf or hard of hearing or not. There’s a rich plethora of talent that is out there waiting to be seen - the deaf community is not invisible.
Flarewave presents... Deaf Talent Takeover takes place on Saturday 30 September
To find out more about Flarewave visit flarewavefestival.org