This article is part of a whole outfit including a combination overgarment tunic (thawb_kandurah) (ZI2021.500903 UAE), cloak (abayah) (ZI2021.500903a UAE), veil (shaylah) (ZI2021.500903b 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_).
The overall shape (gardhah) of the face mask (burgu) follows the (yasi) style, named after the Yas tribe. The indigo-dyed, burqu fabric (nil) is found in grades of bluish to purple, which is then rubbed and pounded to produce a metallic luster ranging from yellow to brown to reddish gold.
The indigo dye would stain the wearer’s face after repeated wear which meant a cloth lining, usually made from cotton, was inserted underneath the traditional face mask burgu to prevent this. By the 1980s the trend changed to using strips of masking tape (lazig), which were superseded at the turn of the century by clear transparent adhesive sheets, cut to shape, as can be seen in this example.
The mask burgu is fastened to the head using a braided silver metallic and white cotton cord known as (shbuch).