Isthmus by Lamya Gargash at The Third Line
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The Third Line in Dubai is staging Isthmus, a solo exhibition by Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash, which demonstrates her talent for revealing the poetics of space in her works. Curated by Sophie Mayuko Arni (an editor, curator, and founder of Global Art Daily), it will be open to the public until 21 July 2023.

At the exhibition, one can have a look at a new series of Gargash’s pictures that she took while travelling from Dubai to Atami, Japan: she photographed Hotel Acao Annex there. Also, on view are Gargash’s older works: photos of the Queen Elizabeth II (QE2), a British ocean liner converted into Dubai’s floating hotel and a top-notch entertainment, tourism, and dining destination. 

Lamya Gargash, A View, 2022. C-type Print. 31 1/2 × 31 1/2 in. | 80 × 80 cm. Edition 2/5 + 1AP.

Isthmus means a narrow strip of land connecting two large land areas across an expanse of water by which they are separated. Thus, the exhibition’s title serves as a metaphor for capturing interiors in such different spaces as the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, Hotel Acao in Atami, and the QE2 in Dubai. The show displays a dialogue between the photographer’s pictures of these places which fundamentally differ from each other, yet share some similarities. Visitors are offered to look at the photos and guess where each one was taken.

The exhibition also features Gargash’s still life photography that has never been put on view before and that lets one immerse themselves in an intimate realm. It shows objects carefully chosen by Gargash: each of them symbolises a member of her family. Her analogue camera placed amid the objects marks her presence.

Lamya Gargash, A Trio of Chandeliers, 2022. C-type Print. 27 3/5 × 27 3/5 in. | 70 × 70 cm. Edition 1/5 + 1AP.

About the artist

Lamya Gargash (b. 1982, Dubai, UAE) is a photographer and filmmaker who resides in Dubai. In 2004, she obtained her BS in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah, UAE. In 2007, she graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of Arts London, with a MA in Communication Design.

In her work, Gargash explores inhabited and abandoned spaces across the Emirates. Taking pictures of mostly empty interiors — the majlis, hotel lobby, family room, and other places — she examines the shifts in tradition and culture occurred alongside rapid economic growth in the region: how particular aspects of tradition and culture are preserved and others are erased or transformed. 

Lamya Gargash, Reflection, 2022. C-type Print. 27 3/5 × 27 3/5 in. | 70 × 70 cm. Edition 1/5 + 1AP.

Gargash has exhibited her works in numerous solo and group shows, which include Sahwa (2020), Traces (2014), and Through the Looking Glass (2012) (The Third Line, Dubai); Presence, Galleria Marabini (Bologna, Italy, 2011); Familial Series, UAE Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, and Majlis Series, Sharjah Biennale 9, Sharjah Museum, Sharjah, UAE (2009); Atami Blues, HOTEL ACAO ANNEX (Atami City, Japan, 2022); Between the Sky and the Earth: Contemporary Art from the UAE, Middle East Institute (Washington, USA, 2022); Ballarat International Foto Biennale (Victoria, Australia, 2021); Tribe: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World, American University (Washington, DC, 2018); Portrait of a Nation, (ADMAF), me Collectors Room (Berlin, Germany, 2017); Emirati Expressions: Conventions of Arts, Manarat Al Saadiyat (Abu Dhabi, 2015); and many others. Gargash has also taken part in several film festivals: the Locarno Film Festival; Osaka Film Festival; Festival Cinéma Arabe in Amsterdam; Malmö Arab Film Festival; and Dubai International Film Festival. 

She is a recipient of Ibdaa special jury’s award for Movie (Wet Tiles, Dubai, 2004). In 2003, she won First place prize of the Emirates Film Festival (Abu Dhabi) and became Ibdaa winner in photography (Dubai) in the same year. Gargash’s photos can be found in the permanent collections of Sharjah Art Foundation and the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah.

To learn more about Isthmus, please visit the exhibition’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Tell it to the River by Sama Alshaibi and The Voyage Within at Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery.