Saba Hamzah سبأ حمزة
I used to capture the inside with my pen and the outside with my camera. However, things got complicated during the displacement journey, so I turned to use the line and light in all their forms to speak up and sew memories.
Saba Hamzah is a Yemeni poet, writer, and educator based in the Netherlands. Her main devices are line and light, and the moments in between.
Saba's work is driven by her interest in knowledge and exploration. She has a focus on power relations inherent in art and literature, explicitly when reflecting on how these power structures can be used as tools for social mobility and mediation. She works with alternative pedagogies and artistic research practices to promote social and political change, inclusion, and peacebuilding. For Saba, art is a crucial means for turning what she thinks and feels into tangible action and expression. Through her work, she seeks to relate art to society as a whole.
Born in Yemen, she lived and studied in Sana’a (Literature and Education, Yemen UST) until 2015. Since then, she lived in Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, and in 2018 she moved to the Netherlands. In 2020, Saba obtained a master's degree in gender studies from Utrecht University. Since graduating, she has focused on her career as a poet, writer, and educator while pursuing academic research towards her Ph.D.
Saba’s current research focuses on the politics of death and mourning. Her work challenges the reductive meaning of home/ exile, life/death, and offers post-humanist, necropolitical, and literature-situated discussions of displaced/exiled women's agency. Additionally, Saba is writing a collection of memoirs, Stranded: Stories from the Abysmal Sea (Reflective work, 2020 – present), that explores the numerous levels of violence that women are exposed to both locally and globally. She's also editing a collection of stories and personal essays, written by women from/ living in Yemen depicts the life experience of Yemeni women and the struggles they endure.
In conjunction with this project, Saba has been working on a collection of visual poetry and photography, Landless: Our Shared Heaven (Poetry in English; 2015-present). This collection examines the interplay of power relations through social mobility issues of state borders, exile, displacement, and deal with themes of death, in its many forms. This project aims to be released for (online) exhibition in 2022.
Saba has more than 15 years of experience in education, writing, and training. She works independently with many prominent educational institutions, media platforms, and delivers lectures/ talks on many research topics and themes of interest. Writing for a variety of different platforms and magazines, Saba has a distinctive perspective. She blends her passions for art, literature, and politics with her own life experience, as a Yemeni, and as a woman.
In Yemen, Saba worked among a distinguished group of women at the University of Science and Technology creating projects, curating conferences, festivals, and artistic competitions. One major project was the establishment of the women magazine Amal/Hope where they published more than 6000 copies.
Saba has written several literary works, including Tartil Adhra, a collection of stories held by multiple international libraries, such as the libraries of Congress and Harvard University.
Studies of Belonging
Saba will present her new work Stranded on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, the conference on Studies of Belonging from 9-11 June 2021. Stay Tuned!
Our Shared Heaven
On March 2, 2021, Saba presented her project Our Shared Heaven
( light and line: poetry and photography) at Brown Bag Diversity Meeting at UCU part of the course Postcolonial interventions.
Rosanna Fund for Women
On International Women's Day 2020, Saba received an Honorable Mention Award from Rosanna Fund for women 2020. The goal of the Rosanna Fund is stimulating the academic education of talented women at Utrecht University.