In celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8th, 2018), Puma teamed up with Omani photographer and brand ambassador Fatma Al Bakry (who is more commonly known to her Instagram followers as Novemberus) on an empowering photo exhibition, which was on full display at the newly-opened Renaissance Hotel last night. Standing out against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa, the photo exhibit, entitled “Be Your Own Muse”, features thirty women currently residing in the multi-ethnic Dubai and who span from thirty different countries across the globe including Algeria, Sudan, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, America, and more.
“This campaign is one that I hold very close to my heart as it’s my first exhibition,” says the self-taught photographer who loved the campaign from the start. “It’s a beautiful concept that I stand strongly by. The exhibition was about each woman embracing her ethnicity and the diversity that comes with it. Some of the women in the series may not look like where they come from, and that’s the most fascinating part about this,” she explains nodding to a portrait of a tanned, young woman with jet-black lengths who hails from Iraq. All the women had a bright dash of pigment inked across their lids or lips to represent the colors of their country’s respective flags.
Echoing on Al Bakry’s statement, Annabell Newman, one of the women photographed in the series adds “Being a part of this campaign was inspiring in so many ways. Seeing such a variety of strong, beautiful females from different countries, colors, and backgrounds come together to celebrate women was really special.”
In a post-Weinstein era when hashtags such as #MeToo and #TimesUp are dominating our social feeds, being a woman has never felt more powerful, a message that Al Bakry wanted to convey in her images. “Being a woman means that we have the responsibility to shut down every misconception that has been made about us in terms of what and who we should be,” she muses. “It means kicking down the doors for the next generation to come, and taking hits for all the other younger women out there who feel they could never accomplish their dreams based on who they are, or where they come from.” The words ring especially true for the campaign, which includes strong female role models from different industries— Najd Al Taher is a Kuwaiti artist, Tala Samman, a Syrian DJ, and young fashion influencer hailing from Iran, Parvané Barret.
As for how Al Bakry is spending her Woman’s Day? “I’m spending my Women’s Day shooting some more women, because I’m never not working,” she laughs. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Click through the gallery ahead to see some of the striking images from the “Be Your Own Muse” photo exhibition.