United Kingdom

Wasma Mansour



Wasma Mansour (b. 1980) is a Saudi photographer based between Saudi Arabia and the UK whose practice also incorporates text and and an oral history element. She has been working on a long term project exploring the articulations, constructions and representations of single Saudi women residing in the UK.

She was nominated for Paul Huf Award in 2013 and long-listed for Terry O'Neil award in 2012.


Single Saudi Women - Portraits

Since 2008, my photography explored the spatial and material constructions of Saudi women who do not fit the stereotype: women who have chosen to live alone despite their belonging to a culture where male presence, shaping lives and spaces, is the norm. The first portfolio is a series of the women's portraits that were taken within their private spaces. The photographs were a result of a collaboration between myself and the participants.


Single Saudi Women - Still Life

These images explore the other aspects of Saudi women's lives that relate to the participants’ dwellings and things. I was inspired by the women’s accounts of their lives in the United Kingdom and therefore the photographs respond to stories and anecdotes connected to the objects depicted. I was also interested in surveying how much of the women’s previous gender-related Saudi identities would surface in their private spaces, and to what degree are the women willing to transgress these identities.


a package, of a package, of a package

Within a Middle Eastern context, a commodity such as a veil has been very powerful, becoming transfixed as a symbol synonymous with oppression, backwardness, weakness etc. In reality, however, it might be a personal choice (e.g. Egypt), a religious duty (e.g. Iran), a socio-religious obligation (e.g. Saudi Arabia), or a sign of resistance (e.g. Algeria). Common visual tropes inextricably link the veil to the Saudi woman. And yet for the women I worked with, the veil is something they own but do not use. For this series titled a package of a package of a package, I took the decision to photograph the veils out of the context of the women's homes and in a studio setting. In displacing the garment, I aimed to free it from its socio-religious connotations and transform it to an object imbued with symbolism.