Creative of January: Ali Al-Shehabi / Freej Sisterhood


Ali Al-Shehabi is a 23-year-old of Bahraini origin, who grew up in Dubai for 21 years of his life and had started photography in the early Summer of 2016. His journey started by getting into an accident that left him physically handicapped only for a couple of months. During his recovery phase, he used up his time to browse the internet and look at photographers works to inspire him and eventually lead to pursue it as a hobby.

He did not have the finance to invest into digital photography, so he looked into his mother's belongings from her early years and found a couple of film cameras that were in working condition, and that's where it all started. He also enjoys the process of film photography. In August 2016, Ali had moved to Tokyo, Japan to study Arts and Language. Living in Japan to him has been like a dream which he had maintained since childhood, including being invested into the culture and arts there. He capitalised on the situation and enhanced his abilities as a photographer. By March 2017, Ali had come back to Dubai and is now studying graphic designing to add to his arsenal. Ali has had exhibitions in Tokyo and Dubai, self published a zine, collaborations and is working on more creations.

In this series of photos, Ali reminisces his childhood in the neighbourhood of Al Karama, in Dubai which he has lived for all his life of 23 years. During his days of adolescence, Ali would spend most of his days in the streets and alleys of the neighbourhood playing with his friends in the area, and what he would see on the regular is the Arab women or sisters covered & going around doing their errands in the area or the market, and Ali always as a child, puzzled as to how they looked, where are they going, what are they doing. Based on that, he tries to bring the images of his memories back to life in a photo series, naming it "Freej Sisterhood" . The term freej is a Arabic-Khaleeji word for neighbourhood.