You’ve probably seen Sarah BahBah’s work on Instagram. You know, those images of beautiful, strong, independent women, with subtitles that say things like “I’m not available for the emotionally unavailable” and “I’m my own muse.” Based in Los Angeles, Sarah is a Palestinian/Jordanian-Australian artist and director, whose culturally conservative upbringing led to a great rebellion through art. Her work explores the power of vulnerability and embraces emotional freedom all while breaking taboos to celebrate the liberation of guilt and shame. She’s just now collaborated with Yellowpop to create an exclusive collection of four her most popular subtitles which you can display in your own home to recreate your own iconic Sarah BahBah image. So, in celebration of the collection, we chatted to Sarah about text, honesty and heritage.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
Way before I can remember. I’ve been a hugely visual person since such a young age – and have always found it therapeutic translating emotional experience to art.
When did you first turn to photography?
It started in advertising really – while working for various agencies I kept a blog ‘Raise by the Wolves’ – documenting music festivals on film. This attracted a few clients, and the rest is history.
What first drew you to adding text to your images?
It’s my dialogue – the words I wish I said, the words I actually say, or the words I dream of saying. When I’m being transparent with myself and my emotions, I am writing and when I’m writing I am healing. A large part of it is putting my thoughts out there, and hopefully empowering others to do the same.
Can you tell us about your collaboration with Yellowpop?
It’s a limited-edition collection of four neon subtitles designed to encapsulate a spectrum of internal emotions and state of beings. I hope they remind anyone and everyone to indulge in their pleasures and desires without guilt or shame, to assert their own voice, and tap into their inner magic. I’m really excited to be collaborating with neon connoisseurs Yellowpop, bringing my work to life in a new, dynamic form as part of their artist collaboration series. It’s a new kind of storytelling for me.
Your work is unashamedly honest. Why do you think it is important for women to use their voice?
How could it not be?
How does your heritage influence your work?
Reclaiming my heritage is an essential part of all my work, challenging the predominantly male sway of Arab culture’s social norms.
What are your plans and hopes for the future?
More art, more noise, more magic.