Yumna Al-Arashi on the symbolic rituals of Islam in her new film, The 99 Names of God
Born to a Yemeni father, Egyptian mother, and raised in the United States,Yumna Al-Arashi's work is an exploration of her heritage. Traversing the West between the USA and London (where she’s now based), her work reflects on the representation of women, religion and the Middle East. Yumna’s previous photography series focused on the beauty of Yemen’s landscape, a country mostly portrayed for its conflict.
In The 99 Names of God, she continues to challenge perception, by shining light on the lesser-known poetic rituals of Islam.
"The 99 Names of God embraces the rhythmic rituals that have run alongside Islamic tradition throughout the centuries in this surreal and poetic short film. Piecing together old and new, I aimed to create dream-like imagery which breathes fresh air to a subject hardly seen in positive light. The importance of geometry, nature, spiritual connectivity, style, meditation, and feminine power in Islamic tradition is something modern media has failed to depict, and my goal was to revive these themes in a truly beautiful manner. Islam’s underlying inherent meditative, universal and spiritual value has been washed over by negative media representation and male-dominated dogmatic imposition.
It is time we see new imagery dedicated to truly understanding a religion filled with mysticism and beauty, practiced by over 1.8 billion people around the world."
- Yumna Al-Arashi