Private Project

Old Sana’a City: Samsarat Al-Nuhas

Yemeni jewelers at Samsarat Al Nuhas depended on tourism and international exhibitions to sell their work. However, the safety decline in Sana’a since 2006 reduced the number of tourists who used to fill Old Sana’a City. Many jewelers are also unable to participate in exhibitions abroad. Visa applications for Yemenis are made to be extremely difficult and getting rejected is common because of the constant fear of Yemenis seeking asylum and not returning to their war-torn home. Exhibitions used to be a key incentive for many Yemeni jewelers to keep creating new pieces and get wider exposure. The decrease in the demand for authentic Yemeni traditional jewelry led to cheaper material flooding the market with replicas from China and India. If nothing is done in order to salvage these crafts and practices, a huge part of this ancient culture is in danger.

  • Mariam Al-Dhubhani
  • Noor Abunaba
  • Nada Bedair
  • Mohammed Al-Jaberi
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Heritage, Culture, War, Heritage site, UNESCO Heritage Site, 360, VR
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Mariam Al-Dhubhani

Mariam Al-Dhubhani is a Yemeni-Russian award-winning journalist, filmmaker, curator, and educator based in the MENA region. She first pursued her passion for media during the 2011 Arab uprisings and co-founded her first media production. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and one of the first directors to utilize virtual reality to highlight stories from Yemen. Al-Dhubhani holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Strategic Communication from Northwestern University, 2019, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum and Gallery Practice from University College London, 2020. In addition to grossing several awards for her films, she was awarded Most Promising Filmmaker at the Toronto Arab Film festival in 2019 for her film, In The Middle. Through her work, Mariam attempts to shed light on the dangers of stereotyping the region in the mainstream media and provides a counterviewpoint to showcase equality in humanity. Her feature debut, Let's Play Soldiers, is a part of the Close Up Initiative. Al-Dhubhani has provided mentorship and training to support young filmmakers in conflict areas, including Yemen and Libya. She also served as a jury member for film grants and festivals in the US, Canada, and Yemen. Additionally, she collaborated with several UN agencies to produce and train young journalists on immersive reality in storytelling. Currently, she serves as a consultant on a Hollywood production film about Yemen.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Whenever Old Sana’a City comes up, people cannot help but to exoticize it and romanticize about it. How can anyone not? It is after all the crown jewel of Sana’a with its unique architecture, culture, traditions, and history. There are so many stories to be told, and Samsarat Al Nuhas is one of many that has a community within communities of Yemeni crafts and practices. Yayah’s story helps not only to show the struggles of silversmiths and shop owners at the Samsarah but also to document the current situation Old Sana’a City is in under the ongoing war in Yemen. Reminding the world that this place is important and something needs to be done to preserve and protect it.