Arts & Culture

The story behind the Omani Barbie photo series

Omani photographer Salim Sawakhroon presents Barbie in a way you've never seen before.


By Sekka

The Omani Barbie photo series sheds features traditional Balochi clothes. Image: Salim Sawakhroon.

“I capture everything that is neglected, and that does not cross anybody’s mind,” is how Omani photographer Salim Sawakhroon describes his style of photography.

Though the 28-year-old’s photography journey began at a young age, he is still exploring and getting to know this world, which he describes as: “simultaneously difficult, tiring, easy and simple.” With time, however, the rising photographer was able to create his own signature style, which is most apparent in his new photography series, Omani Barbie.

28-year-old Salim Sawakhroon is the photographer behind the photography series Omani Barbie.

His Omani Barbie photo series depicts a real-life Barbie, as modeled by “Sunflower,” dressed in traditional clothing that is worn in Oman: the traditional clothes of the Dhofar Governorate, the traditional clothes of the Ad Dakhiliyah ?Governorate and Balochi clothing. Through showcasing the variations of traditional clothing worn in Oman, coupled with gold Arabic jewelry, the series highlights the diverse heritage of the “colorful country” (as Salim describes it), and gives it a modern, Barbie world twist.

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The Omani Barbie photo series features traditional clothes worn in the Dhofar Governorate. Image: Salim Sawakhroon. Click on each image to enlarge it.

Salim describes the inspiration behind the series by saying that, “After the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, I thought a lot about an idea that did not resemble anything that was ever done before, and shortly afterwards the idea for the Omani Barbie emerged.”

A behind the scenes photo of the photographer behind the series Salim Sawakhroon, and the model “Sunflower.” Image: Courtesy of Salim Sawakhroon.

It took Salim two weeks to prepare for the photo shoot, on which he collaborated with Omani hair stylist Ghada, Omani make-up artist and fashion designer Khulood Al Baloushi (who worked on the Balochi look in addition to the make-up), as well as Saeed Al Nahawi, who contributed to the set’s design and decor. He also collaborated with Omani fashion designer Asmaa Al Jandal, who worked on the Dhofari look, and fashion house Dar Al Ruzn, which worked on the Al-Dakhiliya look. The photographs were shot at Thulth’s studio.

The Omani Barbie photo series feature traditional clothes worn in the Ad Dakhiliyah ?Governorate. Image: Salim Sawakhroon. Click on each image to enlarge it.

The young photographer is currently working on the second part of the series, which will highlight traditional clothing of other regions of Oman in an open-air setting, and which he will share exclusively with Sekka once it is ready.

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