Sheema Kermani performs at inaugural sister-hood conference in Oslo




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Published on Apr 12, 2015

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Fuuse World Woman was the first sister-hood conference celebrating women’s activism and creativity. The event took place in 2015 in Oslo, Norway and was organized by human rights activist and award winning film director Deeyah Khan through her arts and media production company, Fuuse.


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Sheema Kermani is a Pakistani classical dancer, teacher, actor and human rights activist, whose prestigious theatre and dance company promotes the plight of women and suppressed minorities. In 2005 Sheema Kermani was nominated as one of the “1000 Peace Women from across the Globe”, for the Nobel peace Prize. She has faced censorship and threats throughout her career.

Sheema Kermani started training as a dancer at the age of 14 with renowned Indian gurus, and preserves the classical and traditional dance forms of Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Odissi, reinventing them for a new generation.

In 1979, she founded Tehrik-e-Niswan (The Women’s Movement) in Karachi, which is widely seen as the cultural wing of Pakistan’s women’s rights movement. For over 30 years, she has staged plays in low-income urban and rural communities that touch on taboo topics, including domestic violence, rape, child molestation, the claustrophobic fate of unmarried women, and the importance of education for girls.

Sheema Kermani was the only dancer in Pakistan throughout the years of General Zia- ul- Haq’s Martial Law, when dance came to be seen as an activity highly disliked by the state and the clergy. She stood up against great odds and continued with her efforts to establish classical dance as an art form and a profound medium of expression and communication.

She worked as the Choreographer and Artistic Director of the Pakistan National Performing Arts Group, Karachi for five years until 2007, and has performed in many countries of the world including China, Egypt, Indonesia, U.S.A., U.K., Germany, France, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Bahrain, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. Among her audiences have been personalities such as the Prince of Wales, the Queen of Thailand, the Palestinian Leila Khaled, Benazir Bhutto and Jacqueline Kennedy Onnasis.

Sheema has received numerous awards both nationally and internationally including the ACHA (Association for Communal Harmony in Asia) Peace Star Award 2012, the Courageous Woman Award 2014 and The GATE Award 2013, Metro Detroit, USA.


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