Northern Yemen, 2016
In her series “Northern Yemen,” Al-Arashi captures the majesty of the Yemeni landscape as well as the women who inhabit it.
Coverings resemble a superhero’s uniform, shielding and empowering its wearer in its night-colored drapery. Through the images, Al-Arashi hopes to shift the conversation around women’s rights in the Middle East away from its usual trappings, and in doing so, help stop the worldwide habit of policing women’s clothing and bodies.
”People often disregard Muslim women as being incapable of power or identity simply because they wear hijab,” the artist said. “I believe women’s emancipation does not require women to adhere to any way of dress ― whether it is hijab or bikinis. Defining emancipation based on physical appearance is not adhering to the truest form of the word. Woman’s emancipation enables a woman to have equal rights in every realm no matter how she dresses.”
“Emancipation will come when we can fully respect a woman,” Al-Arashi concluded, “no matter how she looks or where she comes from.”
- Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post, 2016