Pieces of Us

Pieces of Us

Stories from Yemeni Women 


Curated by Tahani Almujahid, BA ‘22

Digital exhibition developed as part of UMMA’s Guest Instagram Curator Program

A photograph of a figure who appears to be seated. They are draped in colorful and pattern-rich, Bedouin fabrics that frame across her face like a Niqab. There is black fringe made of yarn in front of the figure's eyes.

Farah Maktari
Cultural Reinvention I  (2020)

Yemeni women in the diaspora, like myself, often look towards personal narratives and the materials and sounds of home to understand ourselves and our histories. 

The textural and sensory connection to Yemeni identity is often missing in Western media coverage, which narrowly focuses on the destruction of the ongoing civil war. Instead, this exhibition celebrates those day-to-day lived experiences of Yemeni women through the work of six visual and sound artists: Thana Faroq, Denise Kynd, Farah Maktari, Aseel Mohammed, INDKNA, and Intibint

Through photography, fashion, and music, Pieces of Us visualizes survival, creates community, and preserves a shared heritage across Yemen and the diaspora. Documentary photographer Thana Faroq transports herself back home to Yemen in her recent book, which features a powerful image of a stack of personal photographs saved by Yemeni women in a Markazi refugee camp. In the collage The Nomad, Denise Kynd memorializes her grandmother Zahra’s story of survival and resilience, connecting to her family across time. 

Other artists, like Farah Maktari, use fabric to weave the history of Yemeni women together. In Maktari’s textile project Cultural Reinvention, the artist reinterprets the depiction of a traditional Yemeni niqab by using Bedouin veil patterns and decorations. Aseel Mohammed combines photography and textiles in her series Afifah. The colorfully clad woman framed in a dull gray apartment window celebrates the life force of Yemeni women.

Using experimental sound compositions in their song Almahfadha, Yemeni band INDKNA make listeners feel nostalgic for a place that feels familiar, even if they haven’t been there. Singer Intibint lets listeners into her experience of Yemeni culture and identity in her music video, Telling my Mother. Featuring portraits from her everyday life, Intibint explores her attachment to a place she left her heart. 

As Yemenis at home and in the diaspora are forced to reckon with the destruction of their homeland, simply being is worth celebrating. This exhibition longs for Yemen. Connections to this place are made through photographs, textiles, and songs in which Yemeni women artists actively shape their experiences of reckoning and celebration. As these artists look for an understanding of themselves and their place in time, they, in turn, urge us to look towards our ancestors, to look within, and to remember where we come from. 

View Exhibition on Instagram

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See This Exhibition on Instagram

Developed as part of UMMA’s Guest Instagram Curator Program, this exhibition has both a website component (accessible above) and an Instagram version. You can view the Instagram version by clicking below and selecting “IG Exhibition” from UMMA’s highlights.

View Instagram Version

Featured Works of Art

Almahfadha (2021)

INDKNA’s song Almahfadha asks the poignant question: “what do you know about home?” Sung in the Adeni dialect while combining Yemeni music from various genres like electronic, jazz, to hip-hop and classical Arabic sounds, INDKNA offers alternative and empowering narratives for Yemenis. The band’s lyrics discuss the things they forgot at home—beloved material objects like wallets, bags—and shifts to forgetting more important things like their reputation—how to act and speak properly. Like references to local peaches or the stories that remind them of life in Yemen, the vocal repetition of these cherished memories makes us feel as though there is a loss of and a longing for home. View the lyrics in English and Arabic.

July 2021 virtual live performance co-sponsored by YallaPunk and the Arab American National Museum

Visit Artist’s website

Telling my Mother (2021)

Telling my Mother gives us a look into Intibint’s personal world through song and images. The video is shot on a camcorder, giving a casual and atmospheric feel. Featuring many intimate pieces of the home—from the Yemeni tapestry, bukhoor, to Islamic religious symbols and books on Yemen—as well as images of herself, the video paints a portrait of the artist’s everyday life. Attempting to navigate her Yemeni and British identities, Intibint also highlights places in her adopted home of London throughout the video. This is a combined musical and visual work that explores Intibint’s true self.

Visit Artist’s Youtube channel

About Tahani Almujahid 


Tahani Almujahid is a Yemeni-American creative from Dearborn, Michigan, with interests in Yemeni narratives, history, and popular culture. She is a senior studying English and International Studies at the University of Michigan, with her eyes on graduate school in English. In her free time, you can find Tahani reading poetry and drinking chai at Vertex. 


Lead support for this exhibition is provided by Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch. It was developed as part of the Guest Instagram Curator Program.

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