Dive into deepest oceans and seas of the Arabian Gulf. Dive deep and uncover the hidden wonders, the finest of pearls, the most precious water gems for hundred of years.The pearls, both a curse and a blessing to the people of the Gulf.
On land, the people suffered from barren lands. But in the big blue world under the surface, it was a world of treasures waiting to be found. Families migrated and settled on the coastal line, some of them just came for the season and returned to the desert during winter. But all came with the same purpose of finding their pearly fortune.The world of pearls boomed,from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and its influence and importance did not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. Pearls were the lucky fortune and lifeline of many Emirati families.
However, like all great adventures, turbulences are always ashore. The discovery of the Japanese cultured pearls rocked the boat for the Gulf pearling world. But the people endured and pushed on, and soon after, pearls turned into oil.
But the struggle and turmoil of the Emirati pearl divers are not soon forgotten. Their story and endurances of the past hold a message of hope. It is the story of a nation that pushed on, going to any means to make ends meet, with the dreams of discovering that one pearl at the bottom of the ocean that would give them light to a better future.All this history, this heritage, my heritage makes it inevitable for me to explore it and reinterpret it in the best way I know, through garments.
The brave explorers would dive in with nothing more than a clothing-peg to pinch their nostrils, leather sheaths to protect their fingers and toes and allow them to break the shells free from the rocks at the bottom of the sea.They descended into the dark temperamental seas, attached by a rope and its accompanying rope to weigh them down into the abyss of pearls. Their loot string bags hung around their necks, held by the puller at the surface, on the other side of the string. The rest of their attire consisted only of a plain cotton shirt and a piece of cloth (wizar), wrapped around the waist.
I want to create an hommage to all these souls who ventured into the sea, day after day, for their families, for their country, for their heritage. It’s about their ropes, their utensils, shells, strings and fishnets. It’s about deconstructing every single aspect of their lives and traditions, only to bring them back together in a new picture. It’s also about paying tribute to the women behind the pearl divers, always worrying about their husbands, fathers, sons, and appropriating their garments to them as well.