When Egyptian nationals Sabah Khodir and Mohamed Kassem had trouble finding an artistic platform dedicated to Middle Eastern artists, they decided to launch one of their own.

What started as an idea, eventually became EndQuote, an artwork collaborative that provides Mideastern writers, poets, and artists with a platform to freely express themselves and discuss topics that are often considered off-limits in the region.

Celebrating EndQuote's 2nd anniversary, StepFeed spoke to Khodir about the inspiration behind the page - one that is a must-follow for every Facebook user, especially the Arab youth.

First things first, what is EndQuote?

"EndQuote is an artwork collaborative meant to inspire and influence Middle Eastern artists and poets by providing a platform where they are allowed to freely express themselves without violent judgment or hesitation," she says. 

Apart from sharing their own work, the co-founders review submissions from other writers and publish them on the page.

The text is sometimes accompanied with captivating photos by talented photographers or artists. 

The platform shares diverse thought-provoking material, focusing on taboo subjects that are considered controversial in the region. 

"Whether it is about sexual appetite, gender discrimination or classism – our aim is to tackle contentious subjects through art and poetry," Khodir explains to StepFeed.

"We realized we could not find one artistic or poetic platform that was dedicated to absolute freedom of expression"

"...absolute freedom of expression in the Middle East."

It all started two years ago when Khodir and Kassem noticed the lack in platforms dedicated to free artistic expression in the Middle East.

This, along with their dedication to shattering misconceptions surrounding the region.

"We could not find one artistic or poetic platform that was dedicated to absolute freedom of expression in the Middle East. 

We also struggled with attempting to break misconceptions regarding the Middle East being nothing but an abyss of intolerance and empty canvasses of creativity."

She also notes that through EndQuote, the duo aims to shed light on the "talent hidden away in the Middle East and the vast amount of artistic intelligence barely being recognized for its beauty."

"It is difficult to be a woman in the Middle East"

"The feedback has been both good and bad," says Khodir, explaining that the negative responses did not come as a surprise, seeing as the page often tackles controversial topics.

What was unexpected, however, was the viral reception the page received, as it has already amassed over 85,000 likes on Facebook.

She finds it interesting that young Arab women make up the majority of EndQuote's fan base, indicating "how many women find themselves ready for a gender revolution."

This comes as she often writes about how women are constantly treated as what she describes as "second-class citizens in their own countries."

"Regardless of the counterargument on this subject, it is difficult to be a woman in the Middle East - the double standards, the objectification and the intolerance of female liberation are heightened here.

 It is difficult to be different in general, but to be a woman who does not surrender to gender expectation in the Middle East could be an unlivable reality."

"I have to practice the art of being both naked and unguarded"

Sabah Khodir

So, how did Khodir discover her love for poetry? 

The 26-year-old Egyptian-American, who graduated from the University of Phoenix, has always had a knack for words.

"I think I’ve always loved poetry before I could actually make the conscious decision that I loved poetry.

I enjoyed hearing the stories of others and being able to transcribe them poetically moments later.  Everything in the world fascinates and moves me; writing poetry is how I express that."

Still, she admits that it takes courage to express her personal thoughts and private experiences to thousands of followers.

"I am mostly a very private person – so in order to write honestly, I have to practice the art of being both naked and unguarded. 

I have to rip off the scab to a wound and relive it in order to present it. It can be nerve-racking, but it’s mostly gratifying."

Khodir is currently compiling some of the poetry and art found on EndQuote into a book and collaborating with a so-far-anonymous New York Time’s best-selling author to produce a novel.

As for future plans for EndQuote, Khodir says they are working on a website where artists can gather for workshops or events.

This profile is part of StepFeed's Featured Arabs series, featuring Arabs you should know about. Read previous profiles here.