ESMI - MY NAME


This project was developed to highlight the unique social attitudes towards women’s names in Saudi society. Men find it offensive to mention the names of the women in their lives and women also hide their identity so as not to offend the other members of her family. This is a custom occurring solely in Saudi Arabia and has no historical or religious foundation.

A wonderful hadith illustrates this concept; Amr ibn Al A’as said: The Prophet (PBUH) was asked (“Oh Prophet of God, who is the most beloved to you?” He said: “Aisha”). There are lessons to be learned from this hadith, The prophet and the Quran all mention women’s names and have never associated a woman’s name to shame or something that should be hidden.  Tribal and Bedouin traditions also use women’s names proudly. Following in the Prophets example, Saudi Arabia’s founding father, King Abdul Aziz, would take great pride in his sister’s name, Princess Noura. Especially when caught in tense situations he would shout “And I am the brother of Noura!”.

So with no traditional nor a religious basis for this phenomena I took my artwork to the society that encourages the hiding of a woman’s name, and asked them to make a group statement on the subject.

Identity is deeply linked to several elements of an individual’s personality and one’s name is integral among these elements. This fundamental subject forms the basis of my artwork entitled “My Name.



Produced in 2012 - Medium: Maple wood beads with natural wool rope hand made by beduin women. Sizes 4 meters long.  . Editions 9 unique pieces