The Zay Initiative was founded by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, a published author with over 40 years of experience in art and cultural heritage.

Dr. El Mutwalli has invested in a collection of historic dress over the course of the past decades. The core of the collection is based on UAE traditional dress, in addition to key examples from Yemen, Morocco, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and others.

The collection includes examples acquired from the simplest rural families to the ruling families of the region. While the majority of the objects focus on critical dress samples from the neighbouring region we will acquire additional acquisitions in time and engage with and promote existing collections to encourage collaboration and knowledge exchange.

The Zay Initiative aims to promote an understanding of the evolution of regional culture, building up public awareness and appreciation of this unique heritage, reaching out to like-minded individuals and institutions nationally, regionally and globally.

In addition to seasonal or touring exhibitions and museum loans, the collection is accessed through the digital archive (Collection), first of its kind on a regional level, fortified by a pop-up glossary in both Arabic and English.

The Zay Initiative aims to empower women regionally and globally by bringing their untold stories to life. In addition to its online scholarship programme to sustain the past and inspire the future.

Become a Friend of the Zay:

Access previous Zay Initiative webinar recordings to view at your leisure via the Zay Initiative Library, including the podcast and research papers.

Pay-wall access varies from £3 for students to £250 a month, with increased benefits at each subscription level.