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YEMEN COSTUMES AND ARTS AND CRAFTS OF YEMEN: A PHOTO ESSAY
I lived in the Yemen Arab Republic from 1981-1986 where I carried out research on the regional costumes and arts and crafts of Yemen.

At the time of my stay in Yemen it was a divided country with South Yemen – the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen being off limits to tourism. Therefore, my travels and documentation does not include costumes and arts and crafts of what used to be called the Democratic Republic of Yemen and is limited to the then Yemen Arab Republic. The Republic of Yemen was formed in 1990 when the two Yemen’s were united.

It became a passion to research, survey and write an overview on the varied regional costumes. I photographed women over a five year period and aimed to capture them wearing their costumes as they carried out daily activities - giving the viewer an insight into what it is like to be a Yemeni woman.

Additionally, I conducted research on the arts and crafts of Yemen photo documenting traditional crafts in the areas where they were produced.

A DEVELOPMENT PROJECT THAT WORKED: A PHOTO ESSAY
The project was implemented by World Learning Inc. a non-governmental agency based in Washington DC. The project received funding from UNCHR and the Bureau of Refugees – State Department from early 1988 through the end of 1992. The first 8 months of my stay in Baluchistan was spent researching Pashtun embroidery, designing products and helping to write the proposal for the Afghan Women’s Income Generation Project.

The project aimed to help widows and female heads of household upgrade their embroidery skills and learn to make products that would sell locally. We started with 15 women, one staff member and my self. By the end of the project we were supporting over 400 women producers and 9 local Afghan staff.

The production was geared to sell locally rather than internationally. Due to the love of embroidery by the Pakistani population I knew there would be a high demand for these products – however – no one had tried this approach before so it was a gamble that ended positively since the project was very successful and sustained itself – although in a different manner - after funding stopped.


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