Hayat Al-Sharif is a photographer and photojournalist from Yemen. She holds a BA in English Language from Sana’a University and has participated in leadership trainings in the USA and Morocco. Al-Sharif has been working freelance for over ten years. Her photography has focused on the everyday lives of ordinary people in Yemen, and especially women and children in the backdrop of war and hardship. Hayat’s work has been recognised by several international awards, including The Prince Claus Fund (2021) and The Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Project Awards (2021).
Al-Sharif’s photography has featured in international exhibitions, newspapers, and magazines. Most recently, Hayat’s photos were exhibited in ‘Invisible Connections’ (2022), a 3D virtual exhibition organised by UNESCO and the Office of the Special Enjoy of the Secretary General for Yemen. ‘Invisible Connections’ was also on display in the Netherlands. Hayat’s work also featured in a photo-essay ‘The Impossible Fire’, part of the 2021/2022 winter edition of the Swiss magazine Global. In 2019, Al-Sharif worked with the World Food Programme and spent six months documenting Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe. Her report was published in the UK-based Progressio Magazine and the photographs were exhibited in numerous exhibitions, including a group exhibition and competition by the French Culture Centre. Hayat and her work have also featured in ARTE TV, Donia Watan, SWR, SAGE Journals, and many other Arabic news outlets. Alongside this, she led a project part of Aid to Artisans, funded by the USAID.
Al-Sharif has also undertaken photographic assignments for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Sana'a, Yemen’s capital and has published several articles and photo-essays in newspapers such as the National Yemen and the Yemen Post. As well as her freelance photography work, Hayat has been involved in humanitarian aid projects through a combination of consultancy, writing, and translation.
Hayat is passionate about photography and enjoys the warm reactions of the people she photographs. She considers her documentation of social issues a weapon in the face of ignorance, poverty, and dictatorship, helping to deliver the message of suffering experienced by Yemeni children and women.
In the context of multilateral conflict in Yemen, Hayat, her journalist husband Redhwan Al-Sharif, with whom she regularly collaborates, and their family were the target of frequent threats, harassment, and attacks. Despite these obstacles, Al-Sharif continued working until she and her family were forced to flee Yemen. In January 2023, Hayat and her family arrived in Stavanger, Norway where she became the city’s 13th ICORN resident.
Al-Sharif continues her projects in Norway, including photographing daily life, organising and participating in exhibitions, preparing and writing a photography book, visiting photography schools and working with Norwegian artists. In 2023, she was awarded Stavanger Municipality's Cultural Prize and her work featured in the Tasweer Photo Festival in Qatar. In 2023, Al-Sharif's photo essay 'The Impossible Fire' was also featured in 'THE QUICK + THE BRAVE'.
Hayat Al-Sharifi’s work can be seen on her blog and Instagram account.
In the media:
Utrop: 'Jemenittisk fotograf er fribykunstner i Norge'.
Sølvberget: 'Hayat Al-Sharif er Stavangers nye fribykunstner'.
Stavanger Aftenblad: 'Det livsfarlige bildet'.
NRK: 'Stavanger Kommune: Ny friby-kunstner'.
Gulf Times: 'Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar opens at Mathaf'.
Tasweer: 'I AM THE TRAVELER AND ALSO THE ROAD'.