Archive for October, 2010

Jowhara Al Saud : Your Friends and Neighbors

12/10/2010
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Sultan Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of ’Your Friends and Neighbors’, a solo show by New York-based Saudi artist, Jowhara Al Saud.

” As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.” – Susan Sontag

The images created by Jowhara Al Saud speak of the careful nature and character embedded in Middle Eastern society, especially in the Gulf Corporation Council, where public projection is a precarious issue. Her manner of addressing censorship reveals how arbitrary these regulations (supposedly standard) are, and consequently the psychological repercussions this has on people on a more social level.

The body of work being exhibited in Sultan Gallery began as an exploration of censorship in Saudi Arabia. For Jowhara Al Saud it was about understanding the effects of censorship on visual communication and social cohesion (or lack thereof). But it wasn’t long before this exploration of censorship evolved into a study of empirical human interaction, thus turning her work into a “cataloguing” of how telling and familiar small gestures and fleeting moments can be. Sort of like the shy apologetic smile you exchange with a stranger when you accidentally bump into one another on the street, or that awkward moment when two people reach for the same thing at the same time and touch without meaning to. It is precisely this arbitrariness that is played up in her artwork, which appropriates the language of occultation by applying it to her own personal photographs in pseudo-self-censorship:

‘I began making line drawings, omitting faces and skin. Keeping only the essentials preserved the anonymity of my subjects. This allowed me to simultaneously circumvent, and comment on, some of the cultural taboos associated with photography. Namely the stigma attached to bringing the ‘personal portrait’, commonly reserved for the private domestic space, into a public sphere.”

How much can you tell with so little? This question has long been the polemical issue of representation, and thus Sultan Gallery invites you to explore revelation vis-à-vis representation through the work of Jowhara Al Saud on Tuesday, October 19th 2010 from 7 to 9 pm.

Aseel AlYaqoub : Teddy On The Go

02/10/2010
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Teddy is an alter ego. He acted as an experiment to help a local girl settle back into society after being away for 6 years. He has been photographed for 365 days around Kuwait and the Middle East and had become a successful buffer zone between his owner and society. The photographs were displayed on a blog that quickly became one of the most popular blogs in Kuwait. The photographs highlight social, political and religious issues in images and short captions that triggered interaction from readers around the world.

As the year went by, photographs turned into films and his owner experimented with different mediums to best illustrate her views. She presented at Pecha Kucha Kuwait and Dubai through the bear, keeping her profile anonymous. The social experiment turned into an interactive project by extending the virtual bridge between the bear and his fans. The blog promoted different charity causes and has been raising money through sponsorship and merchandise all year.

The 365 days have come to an end and Teddy B is proud to present his photographs and book at the prestigious Sultan Gallery. All proceeds of the exhibition will be donated to charities for children in Kuwait. Teddy B. will also be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder.

About the Blogger/Photographer

Aseel AlYaqoub was born and raised in Kuwait. She graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design majoring in Interior and Spatial Design (2009). Prior to that she studied architecture for four years at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. She discovered the dark room during her first year in London and has developed a love of photography ever since.