Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's only me and the mirror: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

Shoes of Saudi Arabia photography project Qassim blog
Sara is a 20 year old student from Qassim.
Saja introduced me to Fajer and Sara when I met them at her house. Sara takes some convincing, but eventually she agrees to be interviewed.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wedges and tight abayas: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

Shoes of Saudi Arabia photography project Al-Khobar Razan blog
Razan is a 16 year old student from Al-Khobar.
Razan tagged along with her sister Jori, who was around when I interviewed Reem. Unfortunately we didn't have time for me to ask her questions then, so we met up at a later time at the same coffee shop.

Monday, March 23, 2015

You can't judge a woman by her abaya: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

Shoes of Saudi Arabia photography project Al-Khobar blog
Fajer is a 21 year old soon to be university student from Al-Khobar.
Like Sarrah before her, Saja helps me find my next interview participant. We sit down outside of Saja's house, in her front courtyard.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"We don't all have long beards": How film can change Saudi Arabia

filmmaker Mohammed Salman Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia blog

Mohammed Salman is a Saudi filmmaker who is responsible for the short film competition at the Saudi Film Festival and is the director behind Epouvantail, which he will be registering at the Cannes Short Film Corner. His short film tells the story of a family and how they wait for angels to come and bless their farm, so that it can become what it once was. To encourage the angels' blessings, the family puts men's clothing on the scarecrows of the farm. After learning of Mohammed's work from a fellow Qatifi, I requested Mohammed for an interview and we sat down for coffee one afternoon.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On the outside looking in: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

Shoes of Saudi Arabia photography project Dhahran Aramco blog
Saja is a 25 year old business development analyst from Al-Khobar.
I've known Saja since I was a little kid. We didn't go to the same school as her father's Saudi (which makes her Saudi) and they went to a different school than us expat kids, but she was always a regular fixture at soccer. She now works for Aramco, the same company that our fathers used to work for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sister sister: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

Shoes of Saudi Arabia photography project Dhahran Mall Qatif blog
Jummana and Zainab are both 16 year old students from Qatif.
Sarrah and I leave our cafe and go looking for a couple more women to interview before she has to meet her friends. We go into an empty restaurant and see three girls sitting down together at a table. Sarrah asks them in Arabic if we can talk to them and two of them say yes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mathaq: Who needs men when there is food and art

Mathaq: Taste of Art and Food Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia culture blog

It's not often that there are public, outdoor events focused on art, food, and crafts in Saudi so when one rolls around, it's very popular. On March 14 and 15 female small business owners and artists set up booths and showed off their wares at Mathaq: Taste of Art and Food, an event held in Prince Saud Bin Naif Garden. It was a family event, meaning no single men were allowed to attend, other than participating artists and food vendors.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What to wear when you're all grown up: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

leather flats Shoes of Saudi Arabia Dhahran Mall blog
Noof is a 24 year old graduate looking for work. She is from Al-Khobar.
Sarrah and I leave the cafe to look for participants. We find Noof sitting at a gelato shop with a couple other girls.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Oh damn, she has really nice taste: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

pink Nikes Shoes of Saudi Arabia Pop Culture Middle East blog
Sarrah is a 24 year old IT professional from Mecca.
Sarrah has been taking piano lessons from me since the summer of last year. She was gracious enough to let me interview her and to be my interpreter for the day. My plan was to hit up the mall, where I would typically see Saudi women outside of my compound. Before we started, we sat down at a cafe first for her interview.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"I swear to God I'm thinking of you": Desert Designs' Collection

The Desert Designs' Collection Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia blog
Desert Designs Art Gallery

On March 9 Khobar's go-to hub for expats and their home decor needs Desert Designs, put up a collection of artworks by Eastern Province artists. Hussein Al-Mohasen, Jassim Al-Dhamin, Nada Farhat and Hussain Ismail all contributed works from 2008 to the present. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Shoes of Saudi Arabia:" The other women that wear the abaya

I originally set out to get to know Saudi women living in Saudi Arabia and while I will continue to do so in my project, it got me thinking about whom I was excluding as participants. Every woman in the kingdom is required wear an abaya, whether they are Saudi or not. This means that expat women have to wear them too. Of course not all women choose to wear it. Some are rebels like my mom, who remember what it was like to live here in the 1980s, when you could get away with wearing loose fitting pants and shirts. In fact, she now has an entire wardrobe of flowy, drab coloured ensembles that I call her Khobar outfits. But I digress.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dior every day: How shoes say a whole lot more than you think

To celebrate International Women's Day, I am launching my photography project "Shoes of Saudi Arabia." The theme for this year's Women's Day is Make It Happen, "encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women." The latter part of that statement is where my project focuses on.

Thursday, March 5, 2015