RUWA is a multi-disciplinary creative platform for visual storytellers across the Middle East, nurturing authentic and home grown visual narratives.

More about Ruwa ︎︎︎

Past Initiatives 


Who We Are

من نحن

Ruwa is a multi-disciplinary creative platform for visual storytellers across the Middle East,  nurturing authentic and home grown visual narratives. Rather than trying to shape specific ‘local’ perspectives for an ostensibly “global” audience, we aim to elevate and diversify the creative voices of our region. Ruwa embraces the rich, irreducible experiences of contemporary Middle Eastern visual artists, and encourages collaborations between publishing houses, academics, fellow creative artists, and local, community-centred institutions, functioning as a resource for connection, collaboration, knowledge- creation, and skill-cultivation in the region.

Ruwa’s projects will combine in-person and digital forms of engagement to build and sustain enduring relationships between participants and collaborating individuals and organisations. Ruwa provides customised experiences for visual artists, by focusing on their specific needs to produce and publish their work, introducing peer to peer support to conceptualize, market and develop projects. We aim to build a support community for visual storytellers, lens based workers and creatives rooted in the region for the region.

The Majnunehs


A Majnuneh is both a flower (bougainvillea) and a label given to those who dream and strive against the stream. Translated to crazy or insanely diabolical, the Majnuneh flower is named differently throughout our region. We are the Majnunehs behind Ruwa.

Tanya Habjouqa is a Jordanian-Texan visual artist, educator, and a member of NOOR Images. Habjouqa’s approach to visual storytelling fuses a mordant sense of irony with unstinting, forensic interrogations of the implications of geopolitical conflict on human lives. Trained in anthropology and journalism (MA: Global Media, SOAS, London), Habjouqa has worked in a number of conflict zones including Darfur and in occupied Iraq, and in dispossessed communities in Texas. Her work on Palestine-Israel has been cited as a powerful investigation of the cross-currents of politics, economics, religion, and cultural production.

She is a mentor in the acclaimed Arab Photography Documentary Programme and is a co-editor of the Jadaliyya Photography Page.  She creates bespoke workshops internationally for NIKON Europe, Doha Film Institute, Gulf Photo Plus, SF CAMERA, and ISSP Latvia (among others). Her book “Occupied Pleasures” has received critical acclaim from Time Magazine and Smithsonian. The project won a World Press Photo.

Habjouqa is in the permanent collections of the MFA Boston, Institut du Monde Arabe, and Carnegie Museum of Art, and is represented by East Wing Gallery.


Sarvenaz Fassihi is a consultant and strategist focusing on the collective space between the creative industries and social impact. Supporting photographers, artists and visual storytellers, she provides expertise on concept design, research, project direction, grant development and writing and specializes in issues pertaining to gender, migration and social change. Her work takes a storytelling approach, offering unique narratives that reflect individual experiences and social realities. She takes delight in weaving together ideas and strategies to collaboratively translate concepts into concrete outcomes. Born in Tehran and raised between the East and West, she is based in Amsterdam.


Born in the US and raised between the United Kingdom and Saudi where she is currently based, Tasneem Alsultan is an investigative photographer, storyteller and global traveller. With an inquisitive eye and camera at hand, she offers intimate and unique perspectives into the everyday lives of her subjects, telling their stories from her heart while striving to humanize and connect their realities to her audiences. Her work largely focuses on documenting social issues and rights-based topics in Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf region through a gender lens, challenging stereotypical perceptions of the Middle East and portraying a region and people that do not conform to expectations. Covering stories primarily for The New York Times and National Geographic, Tasneem documents ground-breaking developments in Saudi and the region, including most recently, the lifting of the driving ban for Saudi women.

Selected as one of the 10 grantees of the Magnum Foundation/ Prince Clause/ AFAC grant in 2015, she began working on her project Saudi Tales of Love which was published in Time’s Lightbox, and later exhibited in Paris Photo, PhotoKathmandu, and among the slideshow at the prestigious Visa Pour L’Image, Perpignan in 2016. Tasneem was selected by British Journal Photography among the best 16 emerging photographers to watch, and PDN’s 30 photographers to watch in 2017. She is a finalist in the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards in Contemporary Issues. She soon joined Rawiya, the first all-female photography collective from the Middle East. In 2018 she joined the Canon Ambassador program as the program’s first Arab female photographer and was selected as as one of the 12 recipients of the Joop Master Class, part of the World Press Photo, Netherlands. In 2019, Tasneem was selected as a recipients of the Catchlight Fellowship to continue her work on Saudi women. She has also received honorable mention for the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism.

Having focused her research on anthropological studies of Saudi women, Tasneem holds a Master of Art in Social Linguistics from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi.

Rehab Eldalil Born (1989) and currently based in Cairo, Egypt, Rehab Eldalil is an award winning documentary photographer and visual storyteller. Her work focuses on the broad theme of identity explored through participatory creative practices.

In 2011, as she was graduating with a photography BA, Rehab was also participating in the Jan25 Egyptian revolution, as a result, she co-authored a best selling photo book called The Road To Tahrir. Since then, Rehab has been working on assignments with NGOs such as Drosos Foundation and UNICEF and publications such as HuffPost and Liberation documenting social and cultural concerns in Egypt while developing her personal projects. During her time teaching photography for graduate and undergraduate levels at the American University in Cairo between 2013 and 2015, Rehab began her research on identity, collaborative lens based approaches and representation in visual storytelling. Reconnecting to her Bedouin ancestry, Rehab co-founded Catherine Exists; a volunteer-based community centre that empowers Bedouin communities in South Sinai and provides free medical and educational services.

Rehab has received her photography MA with distinction award from Falmouth University, UK 2020. And she received a one year certificate in documentary photography from the International Center of Photography, New York, USA 2021. 
Her long-term project The Longing Of The Stranger Whose Path Has Been Broken was shortlisted for PHmuseum Women Grant 2021, 6Mois Photojournalism award 2021, Philip Jones awards 2021, Marilyn Stafford award 2021 and Catchlight fellowship 2020. She was awarded AFAC & Magnum Foundation’s Arab Documentary Photography Program grant 2020, National Geographic Society’s Emergency grant for Journalists 2020 and Creative Activism award 2021.

Most recently, Rehab was awarded the Foto Evidence W Award 2022 to publish her project in a book format, she has won the World Press Photo Regional Award 2022 (Open Format/Africa) and was also awarded the Premi Mediterrani Albert Camus 2022.