By Sadeem Al-Qurashi
This Is Us by Somaya Samawi.
Although she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, the 25-year-old Yemeni artist, Somaya Samawi, began her path working in the field of photography back in 2018. To Somaya, photography is an art form similar to paintings. Beyond this, it acts as a form of self-expression where feelings can be translated through photographs and communicated to the viewer.
How a photographer chooses to express themselves depends on the decoration, the model, the location, the method of photography, the angle, and the idea. The photographer utilises such elements to express ideas and emotions. What is left is a photograph telling authentic stories of people, places, and events. In this case, these authentic stories belong to Yemen and its people.
As described by Somaya, her photographs often resemble minimalistic art with a “less is more” approach. Centring fewer, yet impactful, subjects that show the viewer exactly what the photographer aims to portray, making it the focal point of the image.
Although Somaya’s work embodies the spirit of pop culture, her style provides a fun touch without altering the natural essence of her subject. ‘The natural essence is basically beautiful, and the essence of Yemeni beauty is full of radiant colours,’ says Somaya. Despite this, due to its great diversity in language, shape, terrain, customs, and food, Yemen’s cultural beauty is yet to be fully represented in its vast form, leaving a lot of room for creativity and artistic experimentation.
Through her work, Somaya highlights the importance of cultural representation as it is part of many Yemenis’ daily lives, including hers. Because of this, she continues to be inspired by her culture in all of its forms. ‘The beauty of Yemen and my love for this land are the primary sources of my utterance for everything I photograph,’ says the photographer. She finds that the beauty that lies in Yemen is found in the simple details of its people and their lifestyle. Living a simple life, the simple Yemeni man, for instance, radiates an unnatural beauty that Somaya hopes for others to see when viewing her images.
This article is part of the Forces of Creativity Issue. To continue reading the article, click here to buy a digital copy of the issue.
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