The Al Sourat Photo Festival in Al Bastakiya

The other day, Capsule Arts was exploring Dubai's Al Fahidi Heritage District and caught the Al Sourat Photo Festival 2014 exhibition on at Alserkal Cultural Foundation until 15 January. This instalment is part of a series of three unique French and Emirati photography exhibitions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The festival features French and Emirati photographers who captured the spirit of the UAE between 1974 and 2014. Their works investigate the thematic “In / Out” - public spaces and private realms of Emirati society, showcasing the complex ever changing cultural environment from the nation’s birth to the present day.

Aside from the exhibition in Dubai, you can also catch an outdoor photography exhibition on the Corniche (East Plaza) in Abu Dhabi with photographs from the 1970’s by Jack Burlot, and and an exhibition of 32 photographs by French and Emirati photographers in Avenue at Etihad Towers, both on until 15 January.

Artists Featured:

Jack Burlot began his career in the 1960s as a collaborator of the United Press International Agency and then “chief reporter” at Reporters associés. Jack Burlot has collaborated with the Gamma Agency since 1967; he photographed main conflicts in the world: Yom Kippur, Afghanistan, Cyprus etc. He founded Corporate Images, an institution dedicated to corporate photography and has since worked for the world’s giants: Baker Hughes USA, Honeywell USA, Groupe Accord Monde…

Jack Burlot_Al Sourat Photo Festival
Jack Burlot_Al Sourat Photo Festival

What is hidden beyond the walls of the UAE? That's the question that French photographer Thierry Bouët asks in his collection of photos looking at the interiors of Emirati homes. Bouet has previously worked with international magazines such as VogueHarper’s Bazaar and Liberation, realizing portraits of artists and politicians. He has published books about people sharing unusual lifestyles: people sleeping in one-of-a-kind beds, people living in hotel rooms and so on.

2015-01-06 14.47.04
2015-01-06 14.47.04

Olivier Escarguelfocuses on 'mirror games that are reflected in the water as much as they are amplified by the mosaic of locals' in his 11 photos on show. Having spent time in many Eastern and Western countries, (South America, France, Middle East), the artist aims to translate his discoveries and memories into words and images. His main inspiration arises from people in their own environment: his work is an artistic research about materials, time, colors and lights, that meld together to produce an abstract and figurative human atlas with a poetical resonance.

Artist photographer, Anne-Marie Filaire has been travelling throughout the Arab world for fifteen years and her work has led her to focus on the complex issue of the construction of intimate spaces in different contexts including: Egypt, Palestine, Algeria and The United Arab Emirates. The series on show in Alserkal Cultural Foundation reflects Filaire's interest in adolescence in the UAE - she has photographed the bedroom doors of various teenage girls studying at the University of Sharjah.

A selection of Emirati artist Lamya Gargash's series 'Traces' was on show, showing Lamya's preoccupation with documenting the forgotten spaces in public and private realms in Emirati society. In 2009, Lamya participated in the 53rd Venice Biennale as the featured artist of the UAE’s first ever national pavilion.

Hind Mezaina is an artist and writer from Dubai. Her blog, The Culturist, covers cultural news, events, reviews in the UAE and beyond – with an emphasis on photography, film, music and travel. Hind’s photography practice is a combination of using low-fi analog cameras and a mission to document the world we live in. Her series on show presents two bodies of work looking at the historical development on Bank Street in Sharjah.

“Social documentary photographer” is how Emirati photographer Reem Saeed likes to categorize herself. As part of Al Sourat Photo Festival, the artist is showing part of her ambition project which saw her document o 75 villages across the UAE. She says of the project: "The more I researched hidden neighborhoods the more I got curious about communities in rural areas; villages. Children  getting together and playing barefoot in an alley somewhere; women visit their neighbors unannounced carrying a pot of food; men gather to go to pray in the neighborhood mosque. Many of the villages has one grocery shop and one mosque and so the community is somewhat unified. "   

For the past few years, Fatima Al Yousef has been documenting visual culture and people in her photography, exploring the juxtaposition of old and new. The series on show started by Fatima d0cumenting her 30 year old house which has since been demolished, recording the process of construction and destruction. These photographs are small format, presented with extensive mounts, so you have the feeling of peering through a small aperture (much like a camera lens) into the scenes she presents. Outside of her photography, Fatima is a Talent Development and Community Manager for the Abu Dhabi Government at twofour54: she directs the production and incubation of cultural programmes across broadcast and online media.