As the Olympics Approach, Brigitte Lacombe’s Stunning Portraits of Arab Lady Athletes

Hayat Lambarki, athletics, Morocco.

Nisrine Dandan, basketball, Lebanon.

Brigitte and Marian Lacombe’s exhibition is accompanied by a photography book with essays from Egyptian-born author Gini Alhadeff and Qatari filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria.
With London’s Summer Olympics two weeks away, many compelling storylines have emerged,one of which includes the rise of the female Arab athlete. Under considerable social pressure back home, these women have found equal athletic opportunity on the global stage. To document their experience, Vanity Fair photographer Brigitte Lacombe and her sister, Marian, a documentary filmmaker, spent a year traveling across the Gulf and North Africa, photographing and interviewing more than 50 women from 20 Arab countries.
The Egyptian women’s basketball team.
Amina Ferguen, athletics, Algeria.
The resulting exhibition,“Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport”(Hey’Ya is Arabic for “Let’s Go”), will be first shown at Sotheby’s in London, then moved to the Qatar Museums Authority Gallery in Doha in early 2013. The above photographs offer a glimpse into the personal stories that make female Arab athletes’ resurgence in the international spotlight all the more inspiring.
The Jordanian women’s cycling team.
Reem Al Sharshani, shooting, Qatar.
Photographs by Brigitte Lacombe