“In the past few years contemporary photographic practice from and about the Middle East has been some of the most exciting, innovative and varied art anywhere in the world…” Marta Weiss, curator
A major collection of contemporary photography, focusing on the Middle East, has been set up for the public by the British Museum and the V&A with funds from the Art Fund. The collection has been in development since 2009 and is funded by over £150,000 of support from the Art Fund.
Most of the collection will be showcased at the V&A (Porter Gallery) in an exhibition Light from the Middle East: New Photography opening on 13 November 2012 and running until 7 April 2013. The show will be the first major museum exhibition of contemporary photography from and about the Middle East and will tour nationally in 2013.
The show is divided into three sections around key themes: Recording, Reframing and Resisting. Expect works that “respond to the social challenges and political upheavals of the Middle East over the last 30 years” or “the last 20 years”, depending on which of the two press releases one reads.
Included are internationally established practitioners such as Abbas (Iran), Youssef Nabil (Egypt) and Walid Raad (Lebanon) as well as emerging photographers including Taysir Batniji (Palestine), Atiq Rahimi (Afghanistan), Shadi Ghadirian (Iran), Mehraneh Atashi (Iran), Nermine Hammam (Egypt), Manal al-Dowayan (Saudi Arabia) and Abdulnasser Gharem (Saudi Arabia), who also happens to be a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi army.
There are over 80 works (90 in one press release) in the collection produced by 22 (28 in one press release) emerging and established artists “living in the region or in diaspora”. The works are diverse in terms of technique and subject matter and straddle genres including photojournalism, staged and manipulated imagery.
The collection of Middle Eastern photography has been “built in response to a surge of interest in the visual arts in the region, beginning to remedy the under-representation of Middle Eastern photography in the UK”.
To see the collection go to Art Fund Middle Eastern.