Posted on July 25, 2012

Commissioned by Qatar Museums Authority, Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport, the first exhibition in London by the internationally renowned photographer Brigitte Lacombe with the documentary maker Marian Lacombe, opened on July 24, 2012 at Sotheby’s Gallery in London in the presence of QMA’s Chief Executive Officer Mansoor Al Khater. The exhibition will stay on view until 11 August 2012 in conjunction with the XXX Olympiad in London.

Artist Brigitte Lacombe

The exhibition features a brand new series of large-scale photographs by Brigitte Lacombe of more than 50 Arab sportswomen, from beginners to Olympians, from 20 different Arab countries, shown alongside videos by her sister, Marian Lacombe, which situate the images within the women’s personal histories and a wider –often unspoken – discourse of gender, culture and sport in the Arab world.

The exhibition was conceived by the Qatar Museums Authority, combining its long-standing commitment to commissioning and showing the work of internationally renowned artists with the wider goal of the country to drive forward Qatar’s aim of educating and sparking debate about sport, and of persuading more girls to find a way to participate. Commenting on the importance of this exhibition, QMA CEO Mansoor Al Khater said: “This exhibition is a reflection of our belief in the power of culture in breaking down social barriers and building bridges between people of all nations and backgrounds. QMA is committed to enlarging the cultural debate and creating a platform for the voice of Qatar.”

QMA CEO Mansoor Al-Khater

The project, shot over a period of seven months, began in December 2011, in the Athletes Village at the Arab Games in Doha, where Brigitte and Marian Lacombe set up a specially created outdoor studio, working side by side. Thereafter they travelled working with women athletes of all ages and levels of achievement in countries from the Arabian Gulf to North Africa. With the support of Qatar’s Aspire programme, which promotes sporting opportunities for young people, they also worked with the talented younger generation of sporting hopefuls.

Award-winning French photographer Brigitte Lacombe lives in New York City. Over the last thirty years, she has worked extensively on assignments in magazines, the theatre and film. The long list of legendary directors she has worked with include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, Sam Mendes, Michael Haneke, David Mamet, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Jonze, and since 1983 she has worked on all David Mamet’s productions. Her work has been extensively published including two monographs (2001 and 2009). Since 2009, she has been working on an ongoing project for the Doha Film Institute and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar. Entitled, I am Film, this is a collection of portraits of international filmmaker and actors, with an emphasis on filmmakers from the Middle East region.

(R to L) Khalid Al-Mansouri - Qatar Ambassador to the UK, Julia Peyton Jones - Serpentine Gallery, H.E. Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani - Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee, Brigitte Lacombe - Artist, Robin Woodhead - Chairman Sotheby's and Mansoor Al-Khater - Qatar Museums Authority CEO

Marian Lacombe works as an independent documentary film-maker, following 20 years as a reporter, anchorwoman and editor-in-chief on daily news and magazines for the French tv channel M6 in Paris. She has directed documentaries on filmmakers, choreographers and designers such as Robert Altman, Philippe Decouflé and Christian Lacroix. Since 2010, she has been working with Brigitte Lacombe for the Doha Film Institute photographic project I am Film. She also travels around the world filming and working on travel assignments for Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.

QMA Gallery at the Cultural Village, Katara, will play host to the Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport exhibition in February 2013. An extensive educational program will complement this exhibition aiming to engage visitors. Hey’Ya, the title of the exhibition is an Arabic expression meaning Let’s Go.

(R to L) Dr. Hamed Mutabagani, Jean Paul Engelen Director of Public QMA, QMA CEO Mansoor Al-Khater, Marian Lacombe, Dalma Malhas, Brigitte Lacombe, Arwa Mutabagani and Sir Nick Serota Director of Tate Museum