SOAS University of London

Boushra Almutawakel, Strata, 2008

Yemen, of all the countries on the Arabian Peninsula, has a rich and unique architectural heritage and Sana’a is an organic living city, where the vernacular is honoured even in new Gulf-style villas, where a traditional mafraj (a salon with floor cushions) and qamariyah, (stained glass and stucco windows) can co-exist with swimming pools and gilt furniture. Boushra Almutawakil’s images of homes in Sana’a are portraits without people and she brings the same dispassionate, non-judgmental eye to each household, whether the poorest of the poor living in urban slums, the inhabitants of the Old City (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) or the newly rich living in suburban mansions. These rooms are very much inhabited, and they attest to the expediencies and aspirations, and the pride and dignity, of the householders.

Boushra Almutawakel was born in 1969, Sana’a, Yemen, where she continues to live and work.