Eman Ali (b: 1986) received her MA in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Arts in 2017 after a BA at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in 2008. Her photographic works have been interlacing religious, socio-political and consumerist ideologies under the umbrella of sexuality and gender with a focus on the Arabian Gulf.
"Utendi " is her first project in Africa. It is inspired by: In Praise of the Arab Woman (Utendi wa Mwana Manga ), a poem attributed to the mythic Swahili writer Fumo Liyongo. Wishing to gain insight into the representation of the feminine in Swahili culture, Ali travelled to Lamu, an island on the Northern coast of Kenya in which the Swahili tradition is uniquely alive. She was prompted into a contemplation of the history of some aspects of her own culture and a revelation of unexpected hauntingly familiar images that profoundly connects to her identity as an Arab woman.