Graphic thoughts

One more snap for the online album. A record of what she looked like in that dress. A picture of his face should memory fail. Reminders of those amusing people whose names we can’t remember and the stunning views that we can but they just don’t look quite the same ....

By Robert Flemming (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Mon 17 Jul 2006, 12:34 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:40 PM

in the photograph.That’s what cameras produce. Think again.

'No Vacancy' is an exhibition of the work of students from the American University in Dubai and their collective lenses show the world in a very different way. Hosted by The Third Line on Al Quoz, the display of colour and black and white photographs is more a visualisation of thoughts rather than simply reproducing life.

Power lines, ceilings and girders become things of beauty in a series of four triptychs in varying shades. Monochrome to black and white, each stands alone and yet each complements the other. But the strap line may make you think as well as admire.

'We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.'

Two candid shots of a young girl having a pee while looking out the door. The images are grainy and the focus soft, hinting perhaps at innocence but the eyes have attitude. And the last line on the card?

‘Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.’

Here are critical statements on a society that is divided: social injustice, taboos and friction. In silhouette, the crack of the rope sounds sharp above the kneeling man with the mallet. A stilettoed foot stands in the pavement in the light whilst a man waits in the shadows. Man screams at man but neither listen and the landscape is marred by industry. A ripped sheet becomes a metaphor for rape, a photograph slowly blacked out talks of the darkness of death and lost hair brings home the reality of lost childhood. If there had been a theme to the exhibition it would be one that has a fatalistic approach to life that accepts the reality of karma. But a karma that must be challenged.

Perhaps the strangest exhibit is that of a large plastic box which features in the artist’s photographs. But the photographs are of him in the box. And there is also an interloper here in the shape of a geometric painting but hey, a friend in need …

These are the works of Maisam Darwish, Abdulrahman Al-Hussain, Alex Cordier, Kaveh Kashani, Leila Ghomi, Maryam Jalali, Rahab Al-Majed, Jumana H, Arwa Manager and Raji Al-Sharif.

By encouraging freedom of expression and conceptual art, the University hopes to raise the artistic profile of photography. And each one of the artists has taken advantage of that broad canvas, expressing their thoughts in very individualistic ways. Sequential series of photographs feature strongly in the exhibition but even these vary in the way that they are presented.

Some are photographs of people and others of structures; there are pictures from cameras and others that owe their lives to manipulation. They all make you think.

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