Brigitte Lacombe: Hey’Ya

Arab Sportswomen Celebrated in the Renowned Photographer’s New Series

Saudi Arabian basketball players and Qatari swimmers feature in Brigitte Lacombe’s striking portraits of Arab women in sport. Commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority, Brigitte and her sister, the documentary filmmaker Marian Lacombe, stayed at the pre-Olympic Arab Games in Doha for ten days last December to find their subjects. Traveling extensively around the Arab world, visiting Qatar, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, Lacombe photographed athletes who were often from economically deprived or war torn countries. “The young girls and women athletes we met were spirited and full of joy,” says Lacombe. “For them to arrive at this level of excellence requires extreme determination to overcome resistance––not only cultural, but economic and political.” The work will be shown at Lacombe’s first exhibition in London, Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport, opening at Sotheby’s in late July, alongside a video essay from Marian, and an accompanying large-format book designed by 2x4 and published by Q.M.A. to be published at the same time. Lifted from an Arab expression meaning “let's go,” the show’s title suggests that this is only the beginning for Lacombe. “I hope it will help to open some minds,” she says. “It could end up being an important project, one I will continue to work on.”

Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport by Brigitte Lacombe and Marian Lacombe is running at Sotheby's London from July 25 to August 11, traveling to the Q.M.A. Gallery in Doha, Qatar, Spring 2013.

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