A photography exhibition exploring the notion of home will open at a series of venues across the Gulf and the UK as part of a venture by the British Council. The project and exhibition, entitled The Place I Call Home, will tour across the GCC and the UK between September 2019 and March 2020 and will also comprise a public outreach programme, which is open to all. The main aim of the exhibition is to try to narrate the contemporary story of the residents of the Gulf as well as those in the UK who have a connection to the region.
Showcasing commissioned work from 12 artists based in the Gulf and the UK, the exhibition, which will travel to eight venues over the six-month period, will demonstrate the power of photography as an accessible medium and creative form of expression.
Rehana Mughal, Senior Programme Manager for the Gulf at the British Council said, “We want to put photography back in the gallery. Nowadays so many people are using social media and other digital outlets to post imagery but we feel that the power of photography needs to be elevated, hence this exhibition. It is also a democratic art form and a great medium to open up a conversation about the region.”
The selected curator for The Place I Call Home, is David Drake, the director of Ffotogallery (the national photography agency of Wales). During his research for the project he visited the six Gulf countries on the hunt for contemporary and fresh outlooks on what the term home means to those living in the region. “This project has been particularly inspiring as I have encountered many fascinating people and places in the Gulf countries and a lot about their relationships with the UK. I hope that these insights, and the work of the photographers selected, will make this an exhibition that both fires the imagination of young people and engages audiences with what it means to make one’s home abroad.”
Combining photography’s ability to connect to new audiences and the impact of creative art on people’s lives, Mughal elaborated that she hopes this exhibition will give people a space to reflect. “We would like this exhibition to reach a diverse audience and we hope that it changes perceptions in the UK and in the Gulf particularly with young people.”
The young generations in the Gulf are often third or fourth culture, meaning that they experience a kind of transience that is unique to the region. This also creates communities between communities. Mughal said: “In a region like the Gulf, which has so many global citizens, the theme of home is particularly pertinent, so speaks to our collective community and experience. Through this exhibition, we hope to initiate questions and conversations amongst people of all ages on home as a concept and not just as a physical space.”
The 12 artists commissioned for the project came from an open call that Drake put out in autumn of 2018. They are: Richard Allenby-Pratt; Mohammed Al-Kouh; Eman Ali; Abi Green (with Sebastian Betancur-Montoya); Ben Soedira; Gillian Robertson; Josh Adam Jones Hussain Almosawi & Mariam Alarab (an artist duo); Mai Almoataz; Ammar Al Attar and Moath Alofi.
The Place I Call Home will open in Jeddah in September 2019 and travel through Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain before travelling to London, Cardiff, Leeds and Edinburgh from January to March 2020.