In 1953, Munirah entered the world in Alahsa, under the stewardship of her father, Khalifa Almulhim, the esteemed mayor of the region. Immersed in the company of her siblings, she bore witness to her father's frequent trips to Riyadh and the gracious hospitality extended to guests visiting Alahsa. At the tender age of six, her father introduced her to a local school, where she shared a room with a handful of girls, gazing at other children peering through the windows from outside. The profound impact of her father's advocacy for education echoes through her life. Now, a retired principal, Munirah, with pride, lauds her late father for beseeching King Saud bin Abdul Aziz to inaugurate a school, resulting in a legacy that endures through her eight children, all holding higher-education degrees.

Dalal's narrative unfolds in the vibrant tapestry of a Saudi wedding. On the 15th of Shawwal, she left her parental home, accompanied by friends and family, to embark on a joyous celebration in her in-laws' backyard. The distinct rhythms of men celebrating on the rooftop, women and men dancing and singing separately, and the lingering fragrance of incense and rose water infuse the imagery with the enchantment of a timeless Saudi wedding, foretelling a union destined for enduring happiness.

Um Hameed's resilience forms the heart of this narrative. Marrying a man who, over the years, succumbed to severe diabetes, losing his sight and later his leg, she became the stalwart matriarch, sustaining her family's traditions. Weaving intricate patterns with date tree leaves, she emerged as the sole breadwinner, selling floor mats, lamp covers, fans, and baskets. Her grandchildren, enveloped in her care, reside on the family farm for two decades, a testament to her unwavering strength. The delicate balance of maintaining the farm is a symbolic exchange for their shelter.

Eman's forty-year journey in Alhasa is an exploration of familial and communal bonds. Embracing her role as a proud Hasawi, she navigates the dichotomy of weekends filled with community gatherings and weekdays devoted to nurturing her grandchildren. In a poignant twist, the project unveils the fragility of life when Eman's husband, Salman, returns with fresh produce and affectionate words, only to meet an untimely end. The subsequent two years see Eman visiting Salman's grave with her grandchildren, prompting the innocent inquiry of a child about the whereabouts of "Baba Salman."

This project, a melange of images, short videos, and poignant sound recordings, encapsulates the lives of these four grandmothers. Rooted in my ancestral land, this journey was a pilgrimage to honor women who seamlessly embraced every role they were entrusted with. An ode to these inspirational women, this collection invites viewers to share in the richness of their stories, celebrating the resilience, love, and enduring spirit that echo through the landscapes of Alahsa.

Thank you to Saudi Visual Arts commission for including me among the five photographers to visit and document my ancestral hometown of Alahsa. Mohammed Somji, thank you for continuously being a supportive mentor with valuable advice. Ali Alsumayin, cousin! Your films have always been inspirational and I wouldn't have had the courage to film, had I not known that you would guide and teach me to edit every step of the way.

Grandmothers from Alahsa

Mama Ouda

1 / 20