Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Project Award 2021

In October 2020, Tasweer announced the open call for applications to this annual grant award and formed a jury with Sheikha Sara Al-Thani (Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Awards); Sueraya Shaheen (photographer and editor); and Kristine Khouri (independent researcher) and Sheikha Shaikha Al-Thani (Qatar Photographic Society), along with Tasweer’s Artistic Director Charlotte Cotton, Director Khalifa Ahmad Al Obaidly and Senior Curator Maryam Hassan Al-Thani. They reviewed applicants’ proposals and held meetings in January 2021 before selecting six awardees – Hayat Ahmed Al Sharif, Mohammed El Shamy, Mona Hassan, Rula Halawani, Samar Sayer Baiomy, Shaima Al-Tamimi.

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A woman dressed in black and wearing a veil holds a green sprig in her hand.

​Hayat Ahmed Yahya Alsharif

Yemeni-based photojournalist Hayat Ahmed Yahya Alsharif shares human-scaled stories of women’s lives in Yemen. Her grant award proposal focuses on her aims to share close encounters with Yemeni women and their struggle to survive and provide for their families in such extreme conditions of famine, war and a pandemic. 

Hayat Al Sharif
Hayat’s images are at once brave and engaging. She captures the humanity amongst the suffering she sees before her. But she does so with a sense of dignity to her vulnerable subjects. She transports us and it is heartbreaking. She wants a change, she wants to help. The camera is her tool – bearing witness, and it is a start.

– Sueraya Shaheen

A city street at night, crowd of people and a bright explosive firework lighting the night sky.

Mohammed ElShamy

Acclaimed photojournalist Mohammed ElShamy’s extensive project – Egyptians Exiled – takes us into the violent heart of August 2013, and Egypt’s regime change, uprising and public massacre in Cairo of 800 people in the Rabaa and Nahda public squares. He brings us into quiet contemplation of the impact upon individuals and families who form a new wave of Egyptian Diaspora identity.  ElShamy’s grant award proposal is for support to travel further to meet with exiled and displaced Egyptians and begin the process of creating a publication of this epic story of political and personal trauma.

El Shamy
Mohammed ElShamy is a photographer who bears witness to the historic movement of nations and their calls for change. He captures the moments he has lived through and experienced. From his point of view, the passion of the photographer and how he takes personal risks at the frontline are manifest. He is there, quietly, in the aftermath, portraying the dispersal of survivors, and the impact of the upheavals of our world. It is crucial that photographers show us what is happens in Arab countries and capture truth with an artist’s frame.

– Khalifa Al Obaidly

Two men stand in a dust filled landscape.

Mona Hassan

Mona Hassan’s photographs of the limestone quarry workers in the Manya Governorate of Upper Egypt, impressed the jurors of the Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Project Award, demonstrating her capacity to create unforgettable images of remote, underrepresented and unseen human life. Hassan’s proposal is to continue to gain the trust and travel with a nomadic Arab tribe in search of pasture for their livestock, through the governorates of Egypt.

Mona Hassan
We follow Mona Hassan, as she follows her subjects. We discover as she does – nomadic tribes and a simpler lifestyle that we could ever imagine. She will show us images that are taken in harsh circumstances of a harsh reality. Let’s see where she will take us next and teach us more.

– Sueraya Shaheen

Two domed tents sit in a landscape with trees either side.

Rula Halawani

Artist Rula Halawani focuses on the impact of occupation on space and nature – tracing the lives and histories that can still be found in often overlooked details, whether in the material culture of Palestinian society or the transformed landscapes of her childhood.  

Her grant award proposal is for support of her recently started For You Mother 2 – a series of photographs made with discontinued film stock, dedicated to her mother and Halawani’s childhood memories of wildflowers in Palestine and the disappearing Palestinian landscape, now replaced by Israeli settlements. Utilising traditional photographic means, Halawani calls forth the pre-1948 history of Palestinian culture and landscapes. 

Rula Halawani
Rula Halawani is an exceptional artist who has continually navigated and examined the consequences of occupation upon the cultural narratives and contested land of her native Palestine. I am incredibly excited to see how Rula Halawani will grow the second “chapter” of her For You Mother body of work. This recently started project summons Halawani’s personal history and the meaning of wildflowers in Palestine. Beauty and resilience – disappearance and regrowth – are undoubtedly the narrative "seeds" that Rula Halawani is nurturing.

– Charlotte Cotton

View of an urban river bank with buildings, boat and stairway, seen through a hole in a wall of a derelict building.

Samar Sayed Baiomy

Samar Sayed Baiomy’s ongoing Revive Memories project combines her photography, archival material, oral histories and academic research to create a deep analysis of the rapid destruction of a historic fishing village in Alexandria, Egypt. Baiomy’s proposal is to continue to use her photography to document the complete erasure of this seafront village during 2021 and capture the memories and experiences of its former residents.

Samar Sayed Baiomy
Samar’s project is one of the amazing projects that captivates my eyes and mind. It is such a deep journey, with all the details of the area and the people who have lived in the place called El Max in Alexandria. Between the sweet water from the Nile and the salt water from the Mediterranean where they meet in El Max, she brings so much to the surface – the old village demolished, only its memory stays in the minds of its people. This is an important document that narrates the stories of this community.

– Khalifa Al Obaidly

A photograph of an old brown Samsonite suitcase and text "Baba's suitcase when he moved to Abu Dhabi...".

Shaima Al-Tamimi

Through photography, film and writing, Yemeni-Kenyan artist Shaima Al-Tamimi tells deeply personal and resonant stories of experience, relationality, and memory. Al-Tamimi has created two 'chapters' of a long term project – As if We Never Came (shown here) which is a photographic delving into her ancestral history; and Don’t Get Too Comfortable, a recently completed photo-narrative video framed as a letter to her paternal grandfather. Al-Tamimi’s grant award proposal is for support to develop the third 'chapter' that consolidates her family’s archives using immersive Augmented Reality technologies.

Shaima Al-Tamimi is a remarkable visual storyteller who brings us into close and deep proximity to her family’s migratory identity and ancestral memories. The profound significance of photographs as material holders of histories, heritages, relationships – both loving and painful – is the foundations from which she creatively works. Her articulate movement from photography and film, and investigations with mixed reality technology gives us multilayered experiences that reconstruct and animate cultural memory.

– Charlotte Cotton