Yumna al-Arashi is becoming a name quite familiar in leading contemporary art and photography magazines. Her work can also been seen in Teen Vogue, Artsy, Vogue Arabia, Vice… the list goes on. But for this American born and raised Artist, her connection to Yemen holds a unique and fresh perspective. Being half Yemeni organically builds a strong connection between Yumna and Yemen, and her photographs taken in Yemen; weather in Northern Yemen or in the magical island of Socotra shows it quite well.
Her series Northern Yemen aims to portray a different image for women who wear Hijab, particularly Yemeni women. The photographer aims to portray power, grace and beauty without showing the skin or the face of her subject while enjoying the natural masterpiece of the Yemeni mountains. Looking at her photographs of those women, one can’t help but connect an element of beauty to the subjects in Yumna’s photographs even though their skin or face is not shown.
Surprisingly, the series was unplanned. It was in 2014 during a photo assignment Yumna had in Northern Yemen that Yumna made a trip to Kawkaban mountains where she asked her Yemeni friends who accompanied her to pose for her et voila!
Yumna al-Arashi (b. 1988) holds a degree in International Policies with a focus on the Middle East. She won numerous awards / grants in the field of photography including shortlisted for the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize (2017), Receipt of International Women’s Media Foundation “Women’s Stories” Award/Grant (2017), Receipt of ASOS “ASOS Supports Talent” Production Grant (2017), Receipt of Arab Fund for Culture and Arts Grant (2016) and a number of other prestigious awards and grants for her work in photography.
A translated version of this piece is Available in: العربية (Arabic)