UAE, Yemen
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Yemen’s Hidden Side Dazzles In “Wanderlust Found”

"Boy In The Souq", By Noavi
“Boy In The Souq”, By Noavi
"Boats Against The Current", By Noavi
“Boats Against The Current”, By Noavi

Generosity, affection and simple, enduring pleasures: these are some of the myriad forms that wonder lights on in an inaugural series of still and moving images, Wanderlust Found.

WANDERLUST FOUND [yemen] from noavi on Vimeo.

“What you find may surprise you,” the short film declares, and these words are breathtakingly fulfilled by its portraits of daily life in Yemen. Its exploration captures moment after luminous moment of intimate welcome: fishermen singing with the joy of self-sufficiency as they haul in their lines, a small girl proudly holding up a baby lamb, and grinning boys leaping and tumbling in a seaside football game, to name a few.

The series was born from “the concept of traveling and catching honest moments” in countries “that are politically stigmatized, and focusing on quality of life – things that are not traditionally newsworthy,” declare its masterminds, the collective of filmmakers and photographers called Noavi. Yemen is the first country covered by the project, with images that transcend politics and social divisions in an astonishing breadth of subject matter and tone.

An exhibition of 20 of these images is now on display in Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers, along with a limited edition of 100 sets of the photos in specially designed boxes. But the project’s commitment to human connection doesn’t stop at the visual. Rather, Noavi is making it actionable, and reciprocal, by donating a portion of sales to a scholarship fund for Fatima, a resident of Socotra Island, to help make her dream of attending university come true.

For more info – wanderlustfound.com/

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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