Bittersweet is a series of photographs that are intimate, yet are not of the human body. This is an expired film I shot back in Saudi Arabia. I was away for almost two years, which is the longest I’ve ever been away from home. The bittersweet feeling of being back was a result of homesickness mixed with the recognition of reasons I chose to move away in the first place.

Reasons I moved away vary from societal expectations to systematic oppression. Being a woman is very limiting in Saudi Arabia. There are tiny inconveniences in everyday life that make me realize how much of a bliss independence is. It’s also very difficult for me personally to find like-minded people. I moved to a small town in BC Canada where I study political science. Being away, in the western world specifically, meant being alienated. But I soon found friends that gave me the sense of community I was longing for. I don’t like saying I’m homesick because being homesick is missing an altered idea of home, one where I only remember the good things: my family, my mother-tongue, middle eastern food, the sound of adhan, chai (real chai), palm trees, etc. That’s why visiting home is so bittersweet to me.

Manar is an Arab girl residing in the west coast of Canada, which means she’s constantly craving middle eastern food. She’s a political science student that enjoys photography, drawing, and sometimes writing. Aesthetically dreamy, yet socially resistant. She yearns for a simple life shared with loved ones and filled with plants, art, decolonization, and contentment. Instagram

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