Interview Thana Faroq

Thana Faroq is a Yemeni photographer and educator based in the Netherlands. She spent several months in AZC’s where she became familiar with refugees from different countries, who all had their own stories. She uses a combination of disciplines as well as the physicality of the image itself as a way to respond to the changes that have been shaping and defining her life and sense of belonging both in Yemen and the Netherlands. Thana has received many awards and has been granted several funds including the 2019 Arab Documentary Fund supported by the Prince Claus Fund and Magnum Foundation. Apart from her own projects and commissioned work Thana is also a teacher at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague (KABK).

Where you already a photographer when you lived in Yemen?

Yes, I was. I always loved working with my camera and taking it to unknown places, but I guess I didn’t know what I could do with photography back then. The possibilities I mean, the urge to use photography as a social practice as a tool to negotiate themes of memories and intergenerational trauma grew in me after I left Yemen.

What is it like to teach at the school where you also graduated?

It feels incredible to apply all my learnings and share my experiences in the same school that contributed to my knowledge and professional skills. It makes me feel passionate and confident.

As a Yemeni artist, I believe that the power of my work lies in its ability to educate and inform.

What is the hardest part for you about the ongoing war in Yemen?

The uncertainty that the war brings to one’s life, the survival guilt, the family that you leave behind and worry about them every single day.

You’ve received quite a few awards, which one means the most to you?

I guess it was the most recent one, where my book won the 1st book award prize at Foto Wien festival in Vienna. I was thrilled that the committee appreciated my book and realized my artistic vision. It was hopeful.

You’ve used your abilities as an artist and as a speaker to get attention for the continuing situation, does that feel as a necessity for you?

As a Yemeni artist, I believe that the power of my work lies in its ability to educate and inform. I always have the urge and the responsibility to bring attention to my country through different medium, photography, writing, speaking etc.

Do you think you’ll ever move back to Yemen again?

Everything is possible..

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a book project ” How shall we greet the sun” My first book was a visual memoir of what seeking asylum looks like, figuring out if the war was real and questioning photography’s ability to visualize trauma. But when does the story end? Or does it ever end? This new body of work is about what happens after,I have been on a mission to create an archive of memories of our emotions and the feelings that are often lost in histories of migration and displacement, including nostalgia, joy, loneliness and not feeling much at all.

Meer werk zien van Thana? Klik hier voor haar website.


Lees ook


De shortlist van de Palm* Photo Prize 2024


Ilias Bardaa en zijn visuele ode aan de Maghreb en Amazigh Gemeenschap


Over beeldvorming en identiteit, een interview met fotograaf en onderzoeker Cigdem Yuksel