Lubna Al-Hussein

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein is a United Nations journalist, activist, and vocal opponent of the Sudanese government’s treatment of women. In 2009 she became one of over 40,000 women arrested annually under Sudan’s archaic Article 152 regarding Obscene and Indecent Acts. Lubna was wearing loose fitting pants under a long blouse at the time of her arrest. Rather than take 10 lashes at the time of her arrest she asked to have a trial and set about bringing attention to her case, garnering support from various groups and protestors. When offered immunity due to her U.N. job she rejected the deal and even offered giving up her status to keep the case going. Appealing to higher and higher courts in the land has helped Lubna in her fight to bring international attention to the mistreatment that women face from Sudanese men.

Illustration by Katie King Rumford


In an effort to reflect the progressive fight for equality and freedom, the focus veered away from traditional tribal Sudanese art, but towards the contemporary, colorful, textural and more expressive artwork of today’s Sudanese artists seeking a voice for change. The depicted green scarf was worn by Lubna when she was arrested. In an act of open defiance, she wore the same scarf (and pants) to her trial.

Total Area
1,886,068 km2 (16th)


Dominant-party federal presidential republic