This article is part of a whole outfit including a combination overgarment tunic (thawb_kandurah) (ZI2021.500903 UAE), cloak (abayah) (ZI2021.500903a UAE), face mask (burgu) (ZI2021.500903c UAE), and underpants (sarwal) (ZI2021.500903d UAE)
On the day the UAE mission to Mars was launched on 9th of February 2021, Dr. Reem Tariq el Mutwalli was surfing social media, an image of a woman carrying cardboard with a simple hand written message that read “we reached Mars” captured her attention.
She reached out to the account that posted the image. A young UAE photographer Alia Bent Sultan al Joker had been visiting her best friend’s farm on this festive day. As the whole country was glued to the media stations in excitement and anticipation of the coverage. The whole nation was firing the SM competing to post masses of congratulatory posts. In this herd-excitement, her friend’s mother agreed to pose for the photograph to eco her personal proud sentiments of the occasion, and the photograph was birthed.
Both ladies welcomed Dr. Reem’s suggestion to donate the image as well as the whole outfit portrayed in the image to the Zay Collection in commemoration of this monumental date. The image went viral and soon Khasibah became a public figure interviewed by press and media including Vogue Arabia, all wanting to photograph her to relive the moment.
Alia Bint Sultan Al Joker (@alia_bent_sultan), born in Dubai, graduated with a BA in Integrated communication and marketing, Zayed University UAE (2003). Obtained her masters in Quality Management, Wollongong University, UAE (2009), and currently holds the position of Director of Family Development at the ministry of community development. Photography is her passion.
Khasibah Ali al Dhmani is registered to have been born on the 1st of July 1953. (Most birth dates occurring before the formation of the UAE in 1971, are surmised, as birth dates were not recorded. Hence everyone is generally listed as being born on the 1st of July, and the year it is calculated based on anecdotes of special events that corresponded to the year of birth, for example, the year when someone took power, or the year that faced an extreme heatwave, etc.)
She was married at the age of 14 and gave birth to 6 sons and 10 daughters. She never attended any formal schooling but managed to create a cottage industry making and selling traditional perfume and incense. She is very active and participates in different cultural weeks depicting local UAE heritage, and now has her own Instagram handle (@khaseibah_).
This light rectangular loose net weave synthetic veil (shaylah) is simply a length of cut fabric adorned all over at regular intervals with machine embroidery (khwar) in gold metallic thread (zari), using small repetitive paisley (kazuwah) motifs, accentuated by citrine colour iron-on crystals (fsus).
An additional line of citrine colour iron-on crystals also accentuates one of the longer hemlines so as to frame the wearer’s face and its draping frontal portions.
This type of veil is reserved for special locations and social gatherings and it is worn together with a cloak (abayah) to cover just the head, shoulders, and upper portion of the body. It is generally draped off the head, gathered on each side, and tucked in place at the elbow junctures similar to draping a shawl.
A common public practice within the region is to pull down the top portion above the forehead concealing the whole face down to the chest line, or reversly hold one of the draped corners in both hands and flip it up to cover the crown concealing the entire face, neck, and chest areas. This then renders the article a (ghishwah) from the verb to conceal. Both actions are carried out by women very swiftly, elegantly, and somewhat sensuously when any non-relative male crosses their path unexpectedly.