Foto Femme United and Musée de la Femme Marrakech present the opening of our joint exhibition, Photography: the Universal Language, running from 20 April to 31 October, 2024.

The partnership between FFU and Musée de la Femme honours the diverse narratives within the Arab World by offering a platform for female and non-binary photographers to express their distinct viewpoints. This open call exhibition endeavors to expand cultural comprehension and foster a more inclusive conversation within the art community through the universal language of photography.

Photography stands as the one universal language transcending borders, cultures, and linguistic barriers. Its power lies in the ability to capture moments, emotions, and narratives with visual eloquence that resonates universally. A photograph communicates stories, evokes feelings, and shares experiences without the need for translation. Whether capturing the vibrant tapestry of daily life, the beauty of nature, or the human condition, photography serves as a testament to our shared humanity. It is the one visual art medium that communicates across boundaries, making it a truly global language that speaks to the core of our collective existence.

We proudly present the winning photographers:

Héla Ammar, Tunisia.

Born in June 1969, Héla Ammar (@helaammar) is a Tunisian based visual artist. In addition to her training in visual art, she holds a Phd in Law. Her photographs and installations address the stakes of memory. Identity and marginal communities are reccurent themes in her work. Author of Corridors (2014), a photo book on Tunisian prisons, and co-author of Siliana Syndrome (2013), a survey on death row in Tunisia, she developed a whole artwork around the prison environment. A selection of her photographs and installations is part of the permanent collection of the British Museum (London), the Arab World Institute (Paris), the A.Slaoui Foundation's Museum (Casablanca) etc..

Luana Bassil
© Luana Bassil

Luana Bassil, Lebanon.

Luana Bassil (@luanabassil) is a Lebanese filmmaker and photographer, born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She spent her childhood discovering filmmakers and developed her taste for cinema from a young age. Throughout her youth, she could be seen taking analogue photos of her surroundings. Today, she resides in Brussels, Belgium, where she pursues her career as a photographer. Her passion for films and cinema has deeply influenced her work. To escape the political and personal challenges she faces, Luana finds solace in her country's true riches, namely the sea and mountains. Through her photos, the artist seeks to distance herself from the difficult and complex reality of Lebanese politics, subtly guiding us towards what is most authentic: the body and nature, far from the vicissitudes of a country in distress. Her work captures the beauty and authenticity of everyday life, offering a poetic, soothing, and sincere refuge.
Dhiaa Biya
© Dhiaa Biya

Dhiaa Biya, Morocco.

Dhiaa Biya (@dhiaa.biya) is a Moroccan photographer and filmmaker based in Brussels. After obtaining her bachelor's degree in image techniques at L'Institut Supérieur des Métiers de l'Audiovisuel et du Cinema in Rabat, she pursued her master's in filmmaking at LUCA school of Arts in Brussels. In her work, Dhiaa is inspired by the normality of day-to-day life and the underlying beauty of human (inter)actions. These simple stories are what make the subject of her works. She enjoys telling stories within a precise lens and concise framing and composition. To make anything at all, Dhiaa relies on visual mediums, poetry, and a lot of observation.

Fanny Deniau El Maimouni, Morocco.

Fanny Deniau El Maïmouni (@fannyfrommarrakech), French by birth, has been residing in Marrakech since 2016. In her beloved country, she organizes trips to the southern region of Morocco, as well as events with her agency, Authentique Nomade. Sensible to visual aesthetics, she is self-taught and has been practicing street photography for about fifteen years. The light of Morocco, and her love for her adopted country, awaken her artistic sensitivity. She has gained recognition in international photography competitions, receiving honorable mentions and numerous medals from 2018 to the present.
Hana Gamal
© Hana Gamal

Hana Gamal, Egypt.

Hana Gamal (@hanaperlas) is an Egyptian photographer and visual artist. She holds a dual bachelor degree in Mass Communication & Media Arts, and Psychology from the American University in Cairo. Her journey began in 2011, and since then, photography became her voice and principle creative vehicle. Hana's visual approach is an anthropological/psychological one. Her work explores notions of memory, change and loss. It ventures deep into the chaotic, complex, and poetic inner world of the human soul interconnected with the outer world and its impact on us. Two worlds flow and become one. This pluralist approach in her photography stresses the complex nature of the photographic message. Her art has taken her to some of the most inspiring biennales and exhibitions around the world, and featured in various local and international publications.

Sara Kontar, Syria.

A Syrian artist, photographer, and filmmaker based in France since 2016, Sara Kontar (@_.sarako._) holds a master's degree from L'École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris (ENSAD). She began her journey in photography in 2017, and since then, she has participated in numerous exhibitions in France and internationally. Her latest exhibition was part of the Dislocations collective exhibition at Palais de Tokyo in 2024. In 2021, she founded Al-Ayoun, a virtual space for visual storytellers in Syria and the diaspora, curating different exhibitions and events in Europe. Kontar's art and photography serve as a means to express her personal experiences of exile, with a keen focus on human emotions, identity, body language, movements, thoughts, and testimonies. She employs various photography mediums, including studio, experimental, art video, and documentary.
Dounia Laggoun
© Dounia Laggoun

Dounia Laggoun, Algeria.

Dounia-Noha Laggoun (@bleusaada) is a French artist photographer and videographer from South Algeria. She lives in the French Macif Central. She explores feminism, intimacy and transgression through photography, video and collage. She loves sculpting the symbols which composed her childhood imagination, to deconstruct and reappropriate them. Often she expresses herself through portraits of women, because photography allows her to explore "the other", craft stories and create a dialogue between her story and the model, breaking the silence by showing.

Hind Moumou, Morocco.

Hind Moumou is a photographer and independent filmmaker from Rabat, Morocco. She graduated from the University of Mohammed V with a bachelor's degree in English studies and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Philosophy from the same institution. Always intrigued by the genealogy of the human psyche, she worked as a preschool English teacher and pedagogical coordinator before transitioning her focus to visual arts. Her photography is characterized by a nocturnal aesthetic and moments of transition, exploring the liminality of time, such as dusk and dawn, as well as the liminality of space, such as connecting hallways and empty swimming pools. Additionally, she delves into the liminality of identity and the constant reinvention of one's being in its interaction with itself and with the lifeworld.
Amina Ounes
© Amina Ounes

Amina Ounes, Algeria.

Amina (, an Algerian artist, is essentially a poet. Embracing the essence of truth, shedding all vanity, she captures the poetry of the world with a pure aesthetic. Rooted in profound faith and spirituality, her artistry feels like a sacred calling, a testament to the divine within. Love and spirituality serve as the fundamental inspirations infusing her creations. Effortlessly, she conveys wordless poetry, captivating viewers with profound depth and a mystical emotional resonance. Amina extends her artistic reach beyond photography, embracing filmmaking and poetry as additional mediums to convey the ineffable beauty of existence.
Najat Saidi
© Najat Saidi

Najat Saidi, Morocco.

Najat Saidi (@najatsaidi_) is a French-Moroccan author, photographer and director. During her studies, she traveled to the Middle East, where she started photography. After graduating in international cooperation, she worked for 5 years managing environmental projects in Africa and Asia. At the same time, she continued to study photography. At the Kourtrajmé school and 1000 visages, she learned screenwriting and directing, where she directed her first fiction in 2023. Now she has decided to devote herself fully to the stories that inhabit her. She now combines writing, photography, sound and video to tell what we don't see or disappear. With a sensory approach, she tells stories, those of the people she meets, those of the places, those of our time.
Camélia Shahat
© Camélia Shahat

Camélia Shahat, Egypt.

Camélia Shahat (@shahatmorsiclub), a 34-year-old illustrator and designer based in France, dives into her own perception of the significance of preserving family legacy through her creative expression. With a rich heritage that is half Egyptian and half Algerian, her artistic endeavors predominantly focus on exploring femininity within Arab culture. Her aim is to illuminate every facet of a woman's beauty and to reinterpret her cultural identity through her own lens. Camélia perceives the body as a way to manifest women's empowerment, using gestures and attire as tools of expression. She harbors a particular fascination with hands, which she regards as emblems of strength and elegance, weaving this motif into her narrative of female empowerment and artistic identity.

Sarah Smahane Rahhaoui, Morocco.

Born in France in 1995, Sarah Smahane (@sarahsmahane) was raised by her immigrant Moroccan parents in a small, quiet, suburban town in France. Her artist name is not insignificant. Smahane is a middle name given to her by her late paternal grandfather for his love of the so-called Golden Age of Arabic music (Abdelhalim El Hafiz, Farid El Atrach, Fairuz, Oum Kelthoum, etc.), including the poetic songs of the Syrian singer Asmahan. Growing up among plural cultures and influences made her question her identity throughout her upbringing. During her childhood, she developed her interest in art with a local artist for seven years. She studied art and design in Paris and then worked for high-end Parisian design agencies, for clients in the MENA region alongside North African, Middle Eastern, and Western craftspeople. This is where she rediscovered her affection for her French, Moroccan, Amazigh, Arab, and Muslim heritage.
Tanya Traboulsi
© Tanya Traboulsi

Tanya Traboulsi, Lebanon.

Born to an Austrian mother and a Lebanese father, Tanya Traboulsi (@tanya_traboulsi) spent her childhood in Beirut. Growing up between two very different cultures, she experienced not only cultural enrichment but also a profound alienation from the concept of home. This sense of disruption and search defines Tanya's photographic work throughout the years. Later on, while in Austria, she completed high school and graduated from fashion school. Soon after, upon returning to Beirut, she developed a growing interest in photography, around which she now centers her practice.

Tanya's work explores highly personal themes of belonging, identity and memory and makes use of the image as a narrative tool. In her practice, Tanya often pairs her photographic work with material from her own family archive, in both of which Beirut is a significant recurring theme.