Monday, October 20, 2014

Love Matters, “Without Barriers”: Pioneering sexual and reproductive health website goes offline to collaborate with Egypt’s graffiti movement


The taboo breaking website Love Matters Arabic celebrates the launch of a unique exhibition,“Without Barriers” (الحب ثقافة: بصراحةوبلاحواجز),on Wednesday 22nd October.The exhibitionis collaboration with members of the Egyptian street art movement. It explores themes around intimacy and relationships through the medium of graffiti andis a visual response to the sensitive topics addressed by Love Matters Arabic,

Comprising the work of 13 artists, led by Egyptian creative Mohammed Khaled, “Without Barriers”opens at Darb 1718 in Old Cairo. The opening willfeature a special performance by Aya Metwallialongside live painting and speeches by Love Matters representatives. The exhibition will then be free and open to the public from23rd October to3rd November.

Love Matters Arabic is a multimedia platformdelivering information on safe and satisfying relationships in areas where this information is censored or not available,. Developed in response to the lack of reliable online resources for young adults in the Arab world, itis the first website of its kind available in Arabic. Itwas officially launched in Egypt in March 2014, is designed to provide young people in the region with unambiguous and reliable information in their own language on sex and intimacy. Talking openly and without shame, Love Matters Arabic takes into consideration the cultural and religious values of the target audience, creating safe spaces onlinefor young people to engage on sensitive topics.

The “Without Barriers” exhibition is the first time Love Matters has extended its digitially based project to incorporate offline activity in the Middle East. The completedartwork will be hosted on the site and promoted via a social media campaign, encouragingpeople to share their experiences of the exhibition and the themes around it using the hashtag #No_Barriers (بلا_حواجز#).

“Since 2011, the street art movement in Egypt has been gaining momentum, addressing not just political but also social issues”, saysLove Matters Content Strategist Michelle Chakkalakel. “As we work to raise awareness around the Love Matters Arabic project as an important resource for young people, we saw the relevance of collaborating with local graffiti artists.”

“We're very excited to be working with artists on this project,” agrees the global head of the Love Matters project, Michele Ernsting. “The goal of Love Matters Arabic is to make it possible for people talk in an open and honest way about love, sex and relationships. Street art is such a powerful way to express and share ideas. It's a great way for us to bring online and offline conversations together, to strengthen each other's work.”

Since the Love Matters Arabic site went live seven months ago, it has received a positive response from its growing community of users, accumulating more than 2.6 million page views and 4,000 Twitter followers. The platform’s YouTube channel has meanwhile totaled over three million views, with the most popularvideo being “First night sex” كيف تستعدان لليلةالزفاف؟ .

Our site reaches out to youth and talks openly about many topics they are searching for online,” explains Love Matters’editorElise Aghazarian. “They reach out to our professional consultants, who respond to the questions and needs of users.”

The opening night of “Without Barriers”on October 22nd is by invitation onlyFor press accreditation to the event please contactiQ Group PR ( Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Artists and members of the Love Matters Arabic team are available for interview upon request. For further information regarding the Love Matters Arabic project, contact coordinatorAbir Sarras ( or partner representativeHannah Wallace Bowman(