A new show at Dubai studio and exhibition space Tashkeel addresses mankind’s destruction of the natural world.
Curated by Lateefa bint Maktoum, an artist and founder of Tashkeel, and photographer Jassim Al Awadhi, From End to End brings together six photographers from the UAE: Ola Allouz, Yaghoub Al Hammadi, Mousa Al Raeesi, Faisal Al Rais, Mona Al Tamimi and Maitha Bughanoum.
Their work, on view from January 18 to March 1, shows how the natural world has been changed by human intervention – enormous amounts of single-use plastic generated at scale in large communal meals, discarded fishing nets left to float in the sea and plastic microparticles that pollute the waters.
While some images provide respite from the tale of humanity's tangible devastation of the environment, the exhibition on the whole serves as a painful reminder that the idea of nature untouched by humankind is – and has long been – a fiction.
Al Awadhi, who has been taking photographs in the UAE since the 1990s, says the show is a call to action. Its title suggests that one phase of human destruction has come to an end and, hopefully, a different one is starting.
“There is renewal at every end,” he says. “When the end of the ends is reached, there is the beginning of new worlds. We hope that these works will lead to the beginning of other works to come.”
The idea of the intertwining between the artificial and natural worlds is also a key theme within bint Maktoum’s own photography, which documents the rapid development of the UAE. In her image Reflecting (2008), a woman gazes at her reflection in what appears to be a natural pool of water, as the skyscrapers of Dubai tower over her.
Emphasising the importance of Tashkeel as a place for production as well as exhibition, the 30 images on view were also printed at Tashkeel, which boasts a professional-grade digital printer. The works vary not only in style but also in how they were produced, with a few being shot on drones and mirrorless digital cameras.
From End to End is at Tashkeel in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, from Tuesday, January 18 to Tuesday, March 1