Young Saudi preserving Arab culture through a camera lens

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Bateel Yamani at the launch of her first book of photographs. (AN photo)
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Artistic photographs by Bateel Yamani are placed on display during the launch of her first book of photographs. (AN photo)
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Artistic photographs by Bateel Yamani are placed on display during the launch of her first book of photographs. (AN photo)
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Updated 17 March 2018

Young Saudi preserving Arab culture through a camera lens

JEDDAH: Bateel Yamani, an 18-year-old photographer, launched her first book of photographs at an event at The Social Space in Jeddah this week.
Yamani, whose pictures impressed the guests at the launch, explained that the passion for photography runs in the family. Her grandfather and mother are both keen amateur photographers who would visit their city’s historic old quarter Al-Balad on a mission to capture its atmosphere.
“My mother bought me my first camera when I was seven years old. My parents believed in me, I started participating in competitions. I was in first or second grade when I participated in my first competition — and I won first place.”
Born and raised in Jeddah, Yamani’s childhood success encouraged her to pursue photography. Now she has self-published her book of photographs. The project is the culmination of nine-months’ work during her senior year at Dar Al-Fikr School in the city. She hopes to find a publisher after first self-publishing her work.
Talking to Arab News, she said: “This project is driven by pure passion and my responsibility of conserving my own culture as an Arab. I feel like we have a duty to preserve this culture, nourish it and teach the world about it.”
Yamani took the photos when she visited Morocco and stopped at the port cities of El Jadida and Casablanca as well as Marrakesh and Fez. She has plans for a further exhibition after she has visited other Arab countries, promising that “this is only the beginning.”
Nawaf Al-Nassar, a member of the Saudi Art Council, who was at the launch event, was impressed by Yamani’s work. “As an architect, I see a type of rhythm in the arches of the buildings in the photographs,” he said.
Among those who attended the launch was her school graduation project adviser, Ghadir Fanari, who said: “When Bateel wants to do something, she will pour her heart into it. She knows exactly what she wants to do, sets her goals and does everything possible to achieve them.”


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 23 min 19 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.