UAE photography exhibition gives art-lovers an alternative look at the country

Go to view life through another’s eyes

UAE photography exhibition gives art-lovers an alternative look at the country
L Brent Galotera
UAE photography exhibition gives art-lovers an alternative look at the country Image #2
UAE photography exhibition gives art-lovers an alternative look at the country Image #3
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Ever wondered what Dubai looks like through the eyes of someone else?

Whether you sit next to someone every day at work or see the same person in the coffee shop every morning, their experience and interpretation of the city is doubtlessly different to yours, and it’s probably something you’ve never really considered – until now.

Jameel Arts Centre is showing a poignant photography exhibition by New York and Dubai-based artist Farah Al Qasimi that presents a personal, fractured and hallucinatory portrait of life in the UAE.

Not only does the exhibition give us a glimpse into the personal life of the artist, with works spanning four years, it also looks at the cultural conditioning that determines the way we come to read signs and signifiers in photographic images, and makes us question why our interpretations differ from one another.

Al Qasimi’s practise is an attempt to disrupt the easy reading of images, particularly those on or about Dubai and the wider UAE.

Her work traditionally explores the personality of personal and shared spaces, trying to find the fantastical in daily life.

Moving from the intimacy of domestic interiors to lively, colourful public spaces of leisure and consumption, you can’t help but make comparisons to your own life in the city, and perhaps even learn something about yourself that you never knew.

The images are striking, bright in colour, with an almost punky feel and meticulous attention to detail. Family and friends are captured in somewhat unusual poses, often photographed in their own homes – which is rarely seen in the UAE – with their faces obscured or turned away.

More recognisable settings include Dragon Mart and the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.

The exhibition is part of Jameel Art Centre’s Artist’s Rooms, which is a series of solo exhibitions by influential, innovative artists, with particular focus on practitioners from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, shown at the Creekside location.

Al Qasimi’s work focuses primarily in photography, video production and performance.

She studied photography and music at Yale University in 2012 and received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2017.

The exhibition is being shown until Saturday June 8 at the art centre’s Gallery 3, which means you have plenty of time for discovery, deciphering, revelation and mystery, time and time again.
Free. Until Sat Jun 8. Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai Creek, www.jameelartscentre.org.

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