Lest We Forget is an initiative by the Sheikha Salama Foundation which aims to archive, preserve and record vernacular oral histories of the United Arab Emirates. The initiative works on various yearly exhibitions and publications. Their 2015 exhibition featured Emirati Family Photographs 1950-1999 portrayed the UAE’s history through a series of never before seen photographs dating back from 1950s.
Their 2016 exhibition, Emirati Adornment: Tangible and Intangible focused on exploring Emirati traditions through a collection of clothing, weapons, perfume and jewelry.
The idea of Lest We Forget as both an initiative and an archive is to really develop a history of vernacular Emirati memory, not just of Emiratis, but of people who have lived and contributed to the Emirates as well as nationals who have lived their whole lives here.
Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Lest We Forget collaborated to produce a series of short films for the 2015 and 2016 exhibitions. In 2015, Image Nation produced four films, directed by Arab Film Studio filmmakers Tanya Daud and Lubna Bagsair. In 2016, Image Nation produced six films, each on a different form of adornment, directed by Lubna Bagsair and Omar Butti. The producers are: Nadia Durry and Hana Makki.
2015: FEMALE PORTRAITS
Salha Al Kaabi (Home): This short, directed by Lubna Bagsair, tells the story of an Emirati grandmother’s relationship with her home. Given to her by the late Sheikh Zayed, Salha’s home is humble, but is her very own palace.
Nawal Abdel Fatah Ali: this short, directed by Tanya Daud, is about an Emirati woman with Egyptian origins and her memories of first moving and living in Abu Dhabi in 1971.
Raisa Al Mansoori: This short, directed by Tanya Daud, tells of Raisa’s memory of an iconic family photograph featuring the women of her family in the desert.
Al Mahalab: (directed by Lubna Bagsair) This short tells of a dying tradition, Al Mahalab, a form of hair oil traditionally used on brides. Sheikha Al Mansoori hopes her daughter will carry on this dying tradition and find a place for it in the present.
Bakhour: (directed by Omar Butti) This short tells of Ateeja Al Mansoori’s memory of her mother and how she taught her to make Bakhour
Dagger: (directed by Lubna Bagsair) This short is told through the point of view of Mohamad Al Jneibi who remembers his grandfather, a fisherman, through a dagger he gifted him before his death
Henna: (directed by Lubna Bagsair) This short features the enigmatic, tough-as-nails Fatima Al Hamli. She’s the first Emirati women camel owner, but in this short, she tells us of her hardships as a Bedouin living with her aunt – and the memories she associates with her – henna.
Kohl: (directed by Lubna Bagsair) This short is about Ateeja Al Mansoori’s love of making traditional Emirati Kohl and how she hopes this tradition will live on past her generation.
Pearl: (directed by Omar Butti) In this short, Mustafa Al Fardhan tells of his memories of his grandfather, a pearl fisherman.