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