A Love Song to Socotra

“It has been said that the one who does not steal will not be scared, and I am a free woman who never fears anything.”    - Sadiya Eissa Soliman Abdullah.

Sadiya captured by Amira al-Sharif

Sadiya captured by Amira al-Sharif

The photo series ‘A Love Song to Socotra’ revolves around a woman named Sadiya Eissa Soliman Abdullah. A mother of seven, and a resident of the island, she was born in Detwah Lagoon, a protected area in Socotra.

Sadiya grew up in a cave with her parents and her three sisters, where there was a well for water and all the goats would go up into the mountains by themselves. She wears a long colorful dress with a colorful scarf, which she uses to cover her face whenever there is a stranger. These photos show Sadiya’s daily life and means of survival in Detwah Lagoon. Here she has been fighting for her land against the al-Aragabaa tribe during the past 14 years, as they claim to own it. They want her land as it has become an eco-tourist area. She has been imprisoned in a male prison for fifty days, to put pressure on her to give up her fight for her land, but she will never give up her land.

 

Amira al-Sharif is a photographer artist and photojournalist based in Sana’a. Through her artistic focus on documenting the lives and struggles of today’s Yemeni women, she aims to push cultural and social boundaries. ‘Yemeni women with fighting spirits’ is her long term documentary project, on the resilience of Yemeni women and their contributions to their communities. Al-Sharif has worked as a freelance photojournalist for a number of international and local newspapers and magazines as well as being commissioned by a number of humanitarian and development organizations. She is also a recipient of prestigious prizes and funds, such as the Prince Claus and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.