Picture Perfect: Ziyah Gafić – by VICE

VICE produced a video about photographer Ziyah Gafic and his amazing travels to Saudi Arabia to document the homes and lives of Saudi women.

If you can’t watch the video, please click here.

Forty-five percent of Saudi Arabia’s population is female. Ironically, these ladies control an estimated $11.9 billion of the nation’s wealth but are denied rights that most women take for granted: They are forbidden from voting (until 2015), can’t drive, and require written permission from their male “guardians” (usually a father or husband) if they wish to travel abroad or open a business. It’s no wonder they are often stereotyped as faceless, voiceless shadows without control over their own destinies.

Offered a unique opportunity, I was invited into a world rarely visited by outsiders—one that is usually considered off-limits and impenetrable—to lift the abaya and niqab and meet the women underneath.

Dr. Fawzia Akhdar, retired member of the ministry of education: “The Saudi woman is a chancellor, judge, leader, and mother. She can shake the world with her left hand and rock her child with her right, as Napoleon said. The rest of the world views the Saudi woman differently because she is covered and wearing a hijab, so she must be oppressed. But the opposite is true. The Saudi woman is like the rest of the women of the world, or even stronger because she has had to fight to reach where she is.”

 

See more of Ziyah’s photos on VICE’s website.

 

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