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 is a documentary photographer and visual storyteller based in Cairo, Egypt. Her work focuses on the broad theme of identity explored through collaborative approaches. Using her personal experiences as inspiration; as an advocate for native Bedouin community rights and a certified scuba diver and experienced mountain trekker, Rehab is drawn to topics that challenge linear identities and oriental ideologies. With rising issues on borders, stigma and general loss of identity around the world, her work advocates for social justice and understanding.

Rehab is co-author of “The Road To Tahrir” a best selling photo book that documents the Egyptian Jan25 revolution. She is co-founder of Catherine Exists; a volunteer-based initiative that empowers Bedouin communities in South Sinai. Graduating this year with an MA in photography distance learning from Falmouth University, UK , she is also a finalist for the Catchlight fellowship 2020 and grantee for Magnum Foundation’s Arab Documentary Photography Program 2020.