Tag Archives: Omani Women

Omani Women on exhibit at Athens Photo Festival

21st July, 2016

Omani Women on exhibit at Athens Photo Festival. The Photobook Exhibition at the Benaki Museum, the Hellenic Centre for Photography, Greece until 31/07/16. #APhF16

by Helen Couchman, Omani Women, exhibition, the Photobook, Athens, Greece, The Benikai Museum

Thanks to Jasmine for making it to see Omani Women at The Photobook Exhibition at The Benaki Museum, Athens

Thanks to Jasmine for making it to see ‘Omani Women’ at The Photobook Exhibition at The Benaki Museum, Athens

Omani Women – Islington Gazette article

8th March, 2016

Artist shows true colours of Oman

Portraits aim to overturn misconceptions

A Highbury artist is attempting to shed light on a little-known corner of the world with her unique portraits of Omani Women. Helen Couchman said the idea came to her after travelling to Oman for work four years ago. “I wanted to understand more about what we mean when we refer to the Middle East,” she said. “Its just so general and vague.”

It was while she was on assignment in the desert that she was first inspired; ” I was at the edge of what is known as The Empty Quarter when I met three women who appeared over the dunes in the middle of nowhere. The women – including a mother and her three daughters – took a shine to her and invited her to their farm. “I was struck by how brightly and confidently dresses the four women were,” Ms Couchman told the Gazette. “I began thinking about my expectations of them being more conservatively dressed.”

When she returned to the UK she searched through archives of Omani Women but found only portraits that were anthropological or of eroticised Persian beauty. Inspired by her own experiences she returned to the country to start her own project. Of course convincing strangers to pose for photos wasn’t easy. “I realised it might be quite a difficult question for people to consider so I approached people in the street rather than at their homes which I don’t think would have been very polite,” Ms Couchman said. Most families had at least on member who spoke English or else would invite a friend over who could. “I would ask them three questions,” she said. “Would they like to be in the portrait? What would they like to wear? And how would they like to present themselves?”

The result is a series of  image published in her new book Omani Women. She will be giving a talk and signing at Waterstones at Islington Green on 9th March at 6pm. 

by Sophie Inge, 3 March 2016

IGZ.2016-03-03.MAIN.ING.003.COL.pdf

Online, 8 March 2016:

Omani Women - 8th March 2016. Islington Gazette website home page

Islington Gazette online article - 8 March 2016

Muna from the Omani Women series in the Geographical Magazine

25th January, 2016

Muna from the Omani Women Series for the Geographical Magazine GE090_FEB16

Since 2012, Helen Couchman, a Fellow of the RGS-IGB, has repeatedly worked in Oman collaborating with Omani women on a series portraying the women she met , their self-presentation, fashion, modesty and individuality. The 146 portraits present a distinctly varied group and showcase the women’s personal styles. Having researched in libraries and archives and found no existing portraits of Omani women, it became clear that this offered a unique context for the work. Of the women who agreed to have their portrait taken, barely ten per cent chose to cover their faces – like Muna above – because of the photography. One of the key tenets of Couchman’s project was that the women themselves could dictate the nature of how they were portrayed. 33 portraits were exhibited in Muscat in 2015 and all 146 are featured in the new book ‘Omani Women’ along with a map of the journeys taken.

Geographical Magazine, February 2016

Geographical Magazine Febraury 2016 cover

February cover

 

UK book launch of Omani Women at The Photographers’ Gallery

12th November, 2015

Omani Women

 

​A new book by British artist Helen Couchman

In 2012 Couchman began her latest project, exploring portraiture by collaborating with women across the Sultanate of Oman. Before beginning her expeditions around Oman Couchman researched for images of Omani women in archives and museums around London and Oxford and found no material. The handful of images of women she found being anthropological images emphasising the women’s skills or the occasional eroticised Persian beauty, neither addressing the individual, stylish and confident women she had markedly noticed in the country.

“She camped in the mountains, the desert and on the beaches of this beautiful country, in order to gain access to the communities living between the northern tip of Musandam and the southern border with Yemen; between the edge of The Empty Quarter bordering with Saudi Arabia to the west; and along the length of the east coast and onto Masirah Island. On her travels she met women walking or working and asked to take their portraits.” – Sussan Babaie– Foreword for ‘Omani Women – About a journey’

The series depicts the diversity of Omani women, their self-presentation, fashion, modesty and beauty in the country. These portraits show a very diverse group of women from Bedu women to city girls in Muscat and their individual styles.

“Couchman’s project bridges a gap as far as local memory allows. This collapsing of time through an artist’s journey runs as a backdrop to her experience of Oman. The rare privilege afforded a woman artist to focus her camera lens on women of Oman makes this an unusual venture.” – Sussan Babaie– Foreword for ‘Omani Women – About a journey’

12 November 2015
6pm – 8pm
The Photographers’ Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street
London W1F 7LW

www.facebook.com/OmaniWomen
www.HelenCouchman.com
www.soloshowpublishing.com

Omani Women – About a journey – lecture at Gallery Sarah

31st October, 2015

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Gallery Sarah

Our current exhibiting photographer, Helen Couchman will be giving a lecture at Gallery Sarah this Saturday morning at 11.30 am about her photography journey through Oman and her book ‘Omani Women’.

If you would like to join us please email your name and we will reserve a seat for you.

Thank you.

Gallery Manager
Gallery Sarah

Helen Lecture Invite, 31 October 2015