The Yemeni Sailors of South Shields


12 hand colored gelatin silver prints

27 x 39 cm (10 5/8 x 15 3/8 in.) (each)

The Yemeni Sailors of South Shields is a group portrait of 12 elderly Yemenis living in the small town of South Shields in northeast England. Each black-and-white print is hand-coloured, giving it an old-fashioned charm.

The issue of exile haunts the work of Youssef Nabil, who left his native Egypt in 2003. This series of portraits is part of a project called “Last of the Dictionary Men” in collaboration with Iranian director Tina Gharavi. The aim was to document and highlight the role of Yemen's first immigrants to Britain by putting them in the context of the country's maritime and industrial history. At the time, the men portrayed were the last survivors.

The Yemeni Sailors of South Shields is being presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection in 2020 during Nabil's solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.