- Published on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 07:10
In December 2011, during the Arab Games in Doha, award winning French Photographer Brigitte Lacombe along with her sister, documentary filmmaker, Marian Lacombe, kicked off their first project exploring the lives of female Arab athletes. Over the course of six months, Brigitte and Marian shot images and footage of over fifty Arab female athletes during their training.
These images have been on exhibit at the Sotheby London Auction House, commissioned by Qatar Musuems Authority during the London 2012 Olympic games. The Hey'Ya: Arab Women in Sports exhibition is spread out into two rooms. With Brigitte's photographs scattered all across a number of rooms as well as Marian's unique series of films, highlighting the experience of these female athletes, are aired in the “cinema”, a boxed room in the back of the exhibition.
In the videos, it becomes apparent that a majority of the female athletes shared a common aim: to inspire other women to take part in sports. Although these women suffer many obstacles and challenges in their native countries, their stories prove that the “impossible” is possible and their dreams achievable- with a little courage.
The idea of combining both photography and film together into this exhibition was a moving decision; photography alone only communicates a certain amount of information whereas the power of video lies creating a wider story behind the picture. Both complimented one another and articulated the struggle, hard work, and efforts of these female athletes. The following are some of the athletes and the stories they shared:
“Basketball chose me” said Mariam Hussein, Somalian basketball player. Born in Somalia and now residing in Canada, Mariam Hussein describes the relief of playing with other female athletes, outlining the difficulties she encountered whilst playing with men. Mariam described the challenges female athletes face in Somalia by certain groups while honouring these female athletes’ courage despite living under constant threat for daring to pursue their dreams.
Palestinian athlete, Woroud Sawalha, describes her passion for running, explaining how it helps her put aside her thoughts on the ongoing conflict in her homeland. Unfortunately for Woroud, she had never had the opportunity to train on an actual athletic track or event train with a pair of spiked running shoes; she explains how both were not available in the village in which she resides. Woroud aims to change the Palestinian society's views on female athletes through her participation at the Olympics.
Maryam al Boinin, Qatari Equestrian, was inspired by her sister to take up horse riding and describes the sport as a relief from her distress. Maryam explains that Qatar is different from before, "What guys can do girls can do, too" she explains, referring to the wider range of opportunities made available for women to participate in the same sporting activities as men.
The exhibition will be running until the 11th August at Sotheby’s London Auction House. Entrance is free of charge to the public. The Hey’Ya: Arab women in Sports will be showcased at Qatar’s Museum Authority gallery in 2013By Eman Jueid, Aslan Media Content Manager