Hide and Reveal
"Hide and Reveal" is a portrait of women adorned in the time- period of 1918 while representing
various countries. This series creatively explores the concept of feminine self- identity, both
hidden and revealed, through social, political, digital and aesthetic challenges. There is a play on
the notion of “who am I?,” by both masking and illuminating personal identities versus social
IDs, like passports. The central focus in this photography and digital printing is to evoke an
emotional connection with the viewers who may also question what their identity is and how it
represents and reflects them. They may ask themselves, “Is my identity in my name? ...in my
looks? ...in my digital information? ...in my religious or political perspectives? ...in my artistic
vision? ...in my historical and familial culture?
As a Middle Eastern artist growing up in the conservative country of Yemen, I turned my lens on
Arab women who, through traditional cultural structures, are typically forbidden to be
photographed. Little did I realize that living in the United States would influence me to broaden my
perspective and context of this identity theme.
The story I’m passionate to depict through my images is the journey we make through time,
culture and art as we grapple with identity instability.
Who are we when we allow ourselves to flow with socio-political currents and what becomes of
us when we resist them? The concept of identity arose for me during puberty when I was forced
to accept that the freedom of my innocence must be traded for a life behind the veil. This social
trauma sparked my desire for creative exploration into the impact of identity.
Finally, this series begs the inquiry of whether we are satisfied with our reality and the
expectations of our future based on these identities.