One Eye Shut

One Eye Shut

Curated by Asmaa Al-Shabibi

This collection of fine art photography features artists whose works are inspired by and reflect the myriad personalities of the people who add to the spirit of the region. We see Osama Esid setting up a makeshift studio in the middle of Cairo’s streets in honour of anonymous street workers, whilst Shamma Al Amri is moved by the heroics of the construction workers on the site of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.  Meanwhile, Randa Mirza empowers the unemployed youth of Lebanon by her dramatic diving scenes off the coast of Beirut and Abbas Kowsari glamorises Kurdish youth who find status through guns and politics.  Investigating the role of women in society, Manal Al-Dowayan portrays Saudi women as encumbered by their tradition and culture, in stark contrast to Ala Ebtekar who portrays Iranian women as powerful warriors and replaces the traditional chador with ancient armour. On a more humourous note Mia Jaffari and Hassan Hajjaj combine fashion and fantasy to produce witty and ironic images and Scarlett Coten, in her enchanting images of the Bedouins of the Sinai desert, reminds us of where we came from and how far we have come.

Asmaa Al-Shabibi is an art consultant specialising in Contemporary Art from the Middle East and is based in Dubai. In 2007 she joined Art Dubai as its managing director and in September 2009 set up her own consultancy advising private clients on the acquisition of contemporary Middle Eastern art, raising funds for cultural projects as well as writing, publishing and curating on the subject.  For further information on any of the works or artists she can be contacted at asmaa.alshabibi@gmail.com

 

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES & IMAGE DETAILS

Shamma Al Amri – images courtesy the Artist

 Shamma Al Amri was born in Dubai in 1985. She completed her BA in visual arts and is currently completing her masters of Cultural and Creative Industries. In this series "A Burj's Perspective" Al Amri uses traditional film material and pinhole photography techniques to portray the workers as legendary behind the tallest man made tower, and takes the viewer to the future of when what is present today becomes a part of history.

©Shamma Al Amri 
Burj Perspective 1, 2003
Print on fine art paper
90 cm x 120 cm

© Shamma Al Amri
Burj Perspective 2, 2003
Print on fine art paper
90 cm x 120 cm

© Shamma Al Amri
Burj Perspective 3, 2003
Print on fine art paper
90 cm x 120 cm

Manal Al-Dowayan- images courtesy the Artist and Cuadro Fine Art Gallery

 Manal Al-Dowayan was born and raised in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and currently works out of Dhahran. In the series “I am” she questions cultural traditions that prevent Saudi women from expanding their roles in society. The images portray Saudi career women with a traditional item of jewelry positioned in an obstructive manner symbolising the barriers that women face when attempting to partake in their professions.

© Manal Al-Dowayan
I am an Interior Designer, 2007
Edition of 10 +1AP
Silver gelatin fibre print
41 x 51 cm.

© Manal Al-Dowayan
I am a Scuba Diver, 2007
Edition of 10 +1AP
Silver gelatin fibre print
41 x 51 cm

© Manal Al-Dowayan,
I am a Film Maker, 2007
Edition of 10 +1AP
Silver gelatin fibre print 
41 x 51 cm 

Scarlett Coten-images courtesy the Artist and The Empty Quarter

 Scarlett Coten is an independent photographer based in Paris. In 2000 she traveled to Sinaï (Egypt) to realize her first feature documentary spending months travelling through the Sinaï desert with the Bedouins, sharing their everyday life. Still Alive was awarded the Humanity Photo Award in 2004 in Beijing, China, and was also nominated at the NYPH Festival in 2009.

© Scarlett Coten
Diptych 7, Still Alive series
Edition of 6
C print mounted on aluminum
120 x 80 cm

© Scarlett Coten
Diptych 3, Still Alive series
Edition of 6
C print mounted on aluminum
120 x 80 cm

© Scarlett Coten
Diptych 5, Still Alive series
Edition of 6
C print mounted on aluminum
120 x 80 cm

Ala Ebtekar – images courtesy the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar was born in 1978 in California, and is currently based in San Francisco. In 2002 he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute before completing his Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University in 2006. The series 1388 consists of photographic works which focus on the historical and current personification of women at the forefront of leadership within society: Painting directly onto coloured photographs of Iranian women, Ebtekar replaces the headscarf with warrior accessories used in ancient battles thereby demonstrating their femininity, strength and power.

© Ala Ebtekar
Blind Gaze, 2009
Acrylic and ink on digital pigment print on Hanemuhle paper
102x 76cm

© Ala Ebtekar
Drum Of Departure, 2009
Acrylic and ink on digital pigment print on Hanemuhle paper
102x76cm

© Ala Ebtekar
Tinted Kiss, 2009
Acrylic and ink on digital pigment print on Hanemuhle paper
102x76 cm    

Osama Esid-images courtesy the Artist and The Empty Quarter
Osama Eid was born in Damascus, Syria 1970
 and is currently living in Minneapolis Minnesota.  Esid is known for his early 1900’s style photography as well as representational clichés alluding to historical stereotypes of the Middle East.  The Workers of Cairo series presents a direct contemporary account of the most common professions and jobs of this immense metropolis, forcing the audience to observe these mundane heroes who we refuse to acknowledge and would prefer to ignore.

Image details

© Osama Esid
Mechanic Brothers, 2006
Edition of 5
Silver Gelatin Print, Hand painted
30 x 40 cm

© Osama Esid
The Antique Dealer, 2006
Edition of 5
Silver Gelatin Print, Hand painted
30 x 40 cm

© Osama Esid, 2006
Coca Cola & Pepsi
Edition of 5
Silver Gelatin Print, Hand painted
30 x 40 cm

Hassan Hajjaj-images courtesy the Artist and The Third Line
Hassan Hajjaj was born in Morocco in 1961 and now lives between London and Morocco. An ‘urban street photographer’ Hajjaj uses fashion photography to capture both the old and the new, East and the West, the original and the manufactured as visuals of co-existent culture. His series of playful portraits depict daily scenes from the Marrakesh street culture against a contemporary hip-hop backdrop.

© Hassan Hajjaj
Daka Marakchia In Red, 2000
C-print, walnut wood frame & found object
86.5 x 66 cm

© Hassan Hajjaj
Classic Ahmed, 2000
C-print,walnut wood frame & found object
87 x 62 cm

© Hassan Hajjaj
Sista, 2000
C-print, walnut wood frame & found object
129.5 x 94 cm

Mia Jafari – images Courtesy the Artist and Janet Rady Fine Art
Mia Jafari was born in Tehran, Iran in 1982 and moved to the UK in 1985. Jafari completed a BA in Textile Design at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in 2004 before graduating with a Distinction in MA Visual Arts from Goldsmiths in 2007.  The series ‘The Impossibility of the Mundane’ was shot in various rural locations in Iran and explores the touristic gaze of the east with reality.

© Mia Jafari
Eco Warriors, 2007
Digital C Print
20 x 27 inches

© Mia Jafari
Pilgrimage, 2007
Digital C Print
20 x 27inches

© Mia Jafari
Reflections, 2007
Digital C Print
20 x 27 inches

Abbas Kowsari – images courtesy the artist and Rose Issa Projects
Abbas Kowsari was born in Iran in 1970 and currently works as the senior photo editor for E'temad newspaper in Tehran. His photos have been published in The New York Times, Time magazine, Paris Match, Der Spiegel and Colors magazine of Benetton and several other international publications.

©Abbas Kowsari
Checkpoint, Journey into Kurdistan series, 2003
Photograph
109 x 76 cm

©Abbas Kowsari
Halabche, Journey into Kurdistan series, 2003
Photograph
109 x 76 cm

Randa Mirza – courtesy the Artist
Randa Mirza was born in Beirut in 1978 and is currently based in Lebanon. The Pigeon’s Rock series are digital black and white diminutive photographs depicting young men and boys jumping off Beirut’s coastal cliffs, a leisure sport passed from one generation to the next, reflecting socio-economic conditions such as cleaving class divisions and creeping unemployment.

© Randa Mirza
Pigeons rock n_07, pigeons rock series, 2004
Pigment ink on photo paper
25 x 25 cm

© Randa Mirza
Pigeons rock n_11, pigeons rock series, 2004
Pigment ink on photo paper cm
30 x 37.5 cm

© Randa Mirza
Pigeons rock n_14, pigeons rock series, 2004
Pigment ink on photo paper
37.5 x 30 cm

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