Lara Baladi Named One of 50 New Hundred Heroines 2020

From the series ABC: A Lesson In History 30 plates. Dimensions and materials variable. Lara Baladi, 2020.
ACT at MIT

ACT lecturer Lara Baladi was selected as one of fifty new names added to the pioneering list of global women photographers, Hundred+ Heroines.

Hundred Heroines is the pioneering charitable organization that promotes and celebrates the diversity of women working globally in photography today. On Monday 14th December 2020 they announced the names of an additional 50 inspiring women photographers to join its ever growing vital list.

This announcement marks two years to the day since the initial 100 photographic heroines were unveiled on 14 December 2018, to commemorate 100 years since (some) women secured the vote in Britain. Now the list far exceeds 100 – reflecting the sheer number of inspiring contemporary women photographers whose work cannot be ignored, and the organization’s own commitment to highlighting as many of them as possible.  In response to this growth, Hundred Heroines has become Hundred+ Heroines. 

This cohort represents a myriad of cultures, countries, approaches and aesthetics which is key to the ethos of Hundred+ Heroines.

About Lara Baladi:
Lara Baladi (b.1969, Lebanon) is an internationally recognized Egyptian-Lebanese multi-disciplinary artist, archivist and educator. Her artistic practice spans from photography, video, sculpture to architecture and multi-media installations. Through a process of investigation into archives, her work examines the divide between reality, fiction and fantasy, while questioning memory, mythological and socio-political narratives, personal histories and History.

Since 1997, Baladi has made forays into archival research, directed magazine editorials and curated exhibitions. In 2006, Baladi founded the artist residency Fenenin el Rehal (Arabic, Nomadic Artists) in Egypt’s White Desert. She won the first prize (Grand Nile Award) at the Cairo Biennale in 2008-09 for her ephemeral construction and sound installation Borg El Amal (Arabic, The Tower of Hope).

Since 2011, under the umbrella title, Vox Populi, she has been gathering an archive of data on the 2011 Egyptian revolution and other global, past and present, social movements. Various projects, including media initiatives, art installations and publications, continue to stem from this ongoing archive on the iconography of protests.

Baladi’s social and political engagement goes beyond her artistic practice. For more than twenty years, she has been on the Board of two of the most influential institutions in the Middle East, the Arab Image Foundation in Lebanon, and the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Egypt. In 2020, she joined the Board of directors of The Artists Sanctum, an American online Art initiative for creatives whose work contributes to social change.

A recipient of a Fellowship from the Japan Foundation in 2003, from MIT’s Open Documentary Lab in 2014, she was an artist in residency at Art Omi in 2014 (New York, USA), at MacDowell (New Hampshire, USA) and the Ida Ely Artist in Residence at MIT/CAST in 2015 among others. Since 2015, she has been a Lecturer in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

About Hundred+ Heroines:
Hundred+ Heroines is a gateway, not a gatekeeper; the heroines are already powerfully transforming the world of photography in their own right. The organization exists to amplify their influence, establishing the heroines as the household names they ought to be. The selection process is rigorous; shortlisted candidates are carefully considered by a Criteria of Merit panel – the members of which have been selected for their professional and academic experience relevant to photography and the visual arts, and for their independence and impartiality. The public’s input is also vital to its work. By building a rich online educational  platform where the work of trailblazing women artists can be discovered, Hundred+ Heroines endeavors to democratize access to the visual arts and encourage other would-be photographers to pursue their creative potential.

Hundred+ Heroines is the only UK charity dedicated to advancing public awareness of women in photography.  Heroines worldwide are using photography to change perceptions of women by highlighting inequalities, pushing boundaries, tackling taboo subjects, examining difficult social issues and challenging norms.  Truly global, the organization is wholly dedicated to encouraging wider public interest in their work to help harness the heroinic voices to bring about better representation of women in cultural programming. Since it commenced in 2018, Hundred+ Heroines has achieved charitable status, appointed a Criteria of Merit panel, and has created two online exhibitions; Struck by Light, and Cabinet of Remedies. It has published a vast array of online content, partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new ways of working it has initiated; the website continues to be updated with articles, reviews, and its online film festival curated by Lisl Ponger.