Inji Altaoun, a true example of freedom and strife.
Today, Google celebrates the late Injie Aflatoun (1924-1989), feminist and pioneer of the fine art movement in Egypt and the Arab world. Google.com's home page features an illustration of the artist, who would have turned 95 today, backed by her murals.
For those who don’t know her, Aflatoun was born in Cairo to a francophone, aristocratic, and, as she put it, semi-feudal family.
During her high-school studies at the French Lycee School she began developing an interest in literature and political history. There, she became acquainted with Marxist theory, leading her to join the communist 'Escra' movement in 1944.
She began her artistic career in the 1940s, on becoming one of the first women to enroll in the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University. Under the mentorship of the artist and film director Kamel Telmissani, she says she learnt the real meaning of art, philosophy, and beauty.
Despite her aristocratic background and upbringing, Aflatoun found her place among the common people of Egypt. In her audio-recorded diaries she described herself as a "rebel"- an attribute proved in both personality and actions. Whilst facing a series of personal struggles, she fought the problems of social segregation and class oppression that inspired much of her work.
Aflatoun’s political activity peaked in the period 1942 to 1963. She co-founded the League of University and Institutes of Girls and joined the Young Women's Committee of the Egyptian Women's Union, before establishing the Women's Committee for Popular Resistance.
In the 1950's, just after joining the Egyptian women's movement and the Egyptian Communist movement, she was imprisoned. However, this didn't stop her from producing a collection of her most profound work from behind bars, in which she used various styles to depict the suffering of prisoners and their families.
Inji Aflatoun is a true example of a free-spirited artist and pioneer feminist, who defied convention in the search of justice and freedom.