“Nude” and “vulnerable” aren’t words commonly used to describe Arab males. But that’s how Tamara Abdul Hadi pictures them—literally—in the project Picture an Arab Man. With the goal of breaking the stereotype of Arab men as violent and dangerous, Abdul Hadi has traveled during the past three years to countries including Egypt, Palestine, and Yemen to photograph semi-naked men. Born in the United Arab Emirates to Iraqi parents and raised in Montreal, Abdul Hadi created the series to question some misconceptions of the contemporary Arab man in both the Western and Arab worlds, where they are seen as hyper-masculine and sexist.
“It is a celebration of their sensual beauty, an unexplored aspect of the identity of the contemporary Arab man on the cusp of change in a society that reveres an out-dated form of hyper-masculinity,” Abdul Hadi states on her website.
She also doesn’t list the religions of her subjects.
“ ‘Muslim’ and ‘Arab’ are not synonymous, as there are Muslims of very diverse backgrounds and Arabs of all kinds of religions,” Abdul Hadi communicated in an email. “I’m trying to include as diverse a group as possible.”
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