East Wing presents
Saudi Tales of Love
Works by Tasneem Alsultan
13 Feb - 13 March
Tasneem Alsultan began photography as a hobby in her late 20’s, after moving back to Saudi Arabia from the United States following her Master’s degree studies in social linguistics and anthropology. Her college thesis was focused on Saudi women studying abroad and specifically their issues of identy.
Tasneem’s photographic practice continues her questioning about women’s identity issues, focusing on love and marriage and how women find meaning in their lives. What began as a part time hobby, grew quickly into a full time profession and she soon gave up her teaching position to become a commercial photographer.
Saudi Tales of Love began as a reflection on her own personal story; Married at the age of 17 and becoming a mother at 21, Tasneem found herself living as a single parent for the last six years of an unhappy ten year marriage. She was divorced by the age of 27. She soon found herself interviewing and photographing other women who shared similar experiences. Saudi Tales of Love explores the stories of women who challenge themselves; living beyond the taboos and dictates of excepted society in Saudi Arabia. Their stories include courageous choices that involve marriage, divorce and other difficult personal experiences.
Born in the United States, Tasneem moved to Saudi Arabia when she was 16 and went to university at the same time she started her family. She is now based in Saudi and works as a freelance investigative photographer in the Middle East for multiple international media sources. Many of her narratives focus on women living in Saudi Arabia documenting important events, such as the first election where women were allowed to vote. She portrays fierce women who challenge stereotypes, exploring non traditional paths to fulfill their dreams and desires. Her photographs investigate the questions;
Do we need marriage to signify that we have love? Do you need a husband to have a significant life?
Tasneem documents the rituals of wedding ceremonies, contrasted with the the stories of women who reject expected stereotypes and managed to find creative ways of overcoming the multiple hurdles set in front of them by society and sometimes the state. Her portaits document these unique women in a direct and honest fashion. Tasneem is a member of Rawiya, the first all female photographic collective in the Middle East and her work is published internationally in important journals and by initiatives including; National Geographic, The New York Times, Amnesty International, Speigel, the Washington Post and others.
Tasneem Alsultan is represented by East Wing.