Aya Atoui and Manal Elias, Imad, 2011, Digitial Photography on lustre paper mounted on dibond, 60 x 39 cm, edition 1 of 3.
Aya Atoui and Manal Elias, Leanne, 2011, Digitial Photography on lustre paper mounted on dibond, 60 x 39 cm, edition 1 of 3.
Aya Atoui and Manal Elias, Josh, 2011, Digitial Photography on lustre paper mounted on dibond, 60 x 39 cm, edition 1 of 3.
The Third Line
Al Quoz 3
+ 9714 3411 367
A House For A Home
Aya Atoui and Manal Elias
September 12-October 18, 2012
A House for A Home by locally based artists Aya Atoui and Manal Elias explores the effects of our environment on an individual’s identity by documenting projections that are cast against the façades of various infrastructures in and around Dubai.
Stemming from a personal exploration to further understand the impact of Dubai’s shape-shifting landscape on one’s personal identity, Atoui and Elias present a series of haunting images that evoke a loss of self in a place where perpetual change and visual disruptions in the urban landscape are the norm. Atoui and Elias further state that living “in a city with a demographic comprising mostly of ‘expats’ — a city in a constant state of flux that reinvents and reinterprets itself on a daily basis — is to have no stable sense of one’s identity.”
Being expats themselves, Atoui and Elias were brought together by a special interest in public art, which led them to conduct this body of work in an outdoor setting. The artists used unfinished homes as the backdrop for their projections — relics of the economic crash that evoke a feeling of abandonment post real estate boom. The projections are then documented using long-exposure staged photographs. Similar to these projections, being an expat in Dubai is to never really belong, but nevertheless adapt. Once projected, these portraits defragment and take on the shape of the building’s façade, before disappearing with no visual trace.
Also presented in the space is a video documentation by Aya Atoui entitled We Got Away With All of It (2010). The video shows a projection of faces similar to those photographed onto fast cars that drove by Sheikh Zayed Road, never to return. The video highlights the artist’s preoccupation with the ephemeral, while highlighting the transient nature of expats in Dubai.
Aya Atoui, a Dubai based Lebanese photographer, was awarded the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award for 2011 while still completing her final year at the American University in Dubai. She has exhibited in the Empty Quarter (2009) in DIFC and Dubai Basically Human: Conditional Identities in Conditional Spaces, a travelling group exhibition shown at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. The artist’s undergraduate studies triggered her desire to take images off the wall and place them in the public eye, which triggered her passion for site-specific installations. This has then led Atoui to engage in constructed and site-specific installation pieces, which is when she began projecting her images on highway overpasses, passing vehicles as well as surfaces made of raw materials such as string, cotton and cellophane.
Manal Elias is a Syrian photographer and graphic designer born and raised in Dubai. Graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in Graphic Design and Photography from the American University in Dubai, Elias’s practice explores, and is inspired by, documentary film and photography, found objects and memorabilia, as well as site-specific installations and public art. Elias has previously exhibited at The Empty Quarter (2009) in Dubai and the School of Visual Arts in New York as part of a travelling group exhibition titled Basically Human: Conditional Identities in Conditional Spaces. She has also developed Memory-BIT, an on-going site-specific project that uses the Internet as an infinite and unrestricted public space for personal, digital memorabilia.