The 99 Names of God embraces the rhythmic rituals that have run alongside Islamic tradition throughout the centuries in this surreal and poetic short film. Piecing together old and new, Arab-American filmmaker Yumna Al-Arashi aims to create dream-like imagery which breathes fresh air to a subject hardly seen in a positive light. The importance of geometry, nature, spiritual connectivity, style, meditation, and feminine power in Islamic tradition is something modern media has failed to depict – Al-Arashi’s goal was to revive these themes in a truly beautiful manner. Islam’s underlying inherent meditative, universal, and spiritual value has been washed over by negative media representation and male-dominated dogmatic imposition. It is time we see new imagery dedicated to truly understanding a religion filled with mysticism and beauty.
7 min, United Kingdom, 2018.
Yumna Al-Arashi is a Yemeni-American photographer and filmmaker. Born in Washington, DC in 1988. In her work, she explores the intersections between feminism, sexuality, human rights, and the Middle East. She has shot for titles like CR Fashion Book, Dazed, The New York Times, and Vogue. In the much-appreciated photo project Face, she documented the last generation of Muslim women with facial tattoos in North Africa. Her latest exhibition, entitled “I Am Who I Am Who Am I” at Anahita Contemporary, Berlin, uses self-portraiture as a form of resistance. She is currently studying for an MFA, at Zürich University of the Arts.