Dubai 2015 – Review: ‘Attaining Moksha: Photography as Enlightenment’ by Hazem Mahdy

I’m currently on an 18-day research and work trip (with a little play) across the Middle East, Asia and back to Europe…look out Dubai, Sharjah, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Lisbon…wordgirl is coming! This is the first long haul, multi-trip I’ve taken since the end of 2012 when I returned from China and since the world of Amoy tiger tummy unfolded at the end of 2013…needless to say I was a little apprehensive. However, since taking the first flight from Manchester to Dubai, the fight for adventure is back deep inside (well it never really went, it just got told to put on hold). Obviously, wordgirl can’t possible go travel without embedding herself in the art scene at every opportunity, and has to share some these cultural (and life) adventures with you as it happens…

The second evening I was in Dubai, my best friend JC who I’m staying with here – a gallery and framing manager for Art House Dubai who I studied Fine Art with her during undergraduate studies at Loughborough University, UK – invited me to the exhibition opening and presentation ‘Attaining Moksha: Photography as Enlightenment’ by photographer Hazem Mahdy. JC has known Hazem for over five years, framing his work, and also for Carbon 12 gallery, Dubai, who currently represent him. The exhibition was on show in the Rotunda Gallery of the American University in Dubai.

Hazem’s practice portrays an individual meditation…an attempt to achieve an emotional experience…the memory of social and personal interactions…a memory of space and place…a connection to and with your personal surroundings…the tension between the skin, the body and space…the tension between cultures (as Hazem is Egyptian living in UAE and travelled far and wide). His work is visually discreet, created with his distinct artistic sensitivity where finite detail is paramount. He creates a refined finish through the use of digital experimentation and manipulation. In one series of works, he presents what I’d call “psychological pattination…a kaleidoscope of the mind” – a personal reflection of Hazem’s memories, of his experiences, of his inner fights. They are a visual translation of his world to our wider world…and I was glad to be part of it that evening. Great to meet you Hazem! I’m hoping to meet the gallery owners of Carbon 12 at the weekend after day two of my time with the Sharjah Biennial 12 festival. It’s great to finally start to get a sense of the art world out here…another area of research? Let’s see…

Hazem Mahdy

'Being' (2012) by Hazem Mahdy, C-print, 100cm x 100cm

‘Being’ (2012) by Hazem Mahdy, C-print, 100cm x 100cm

'SRI' (2013) by Hazem Mahdy, C-print 100cm x 100cm, Edition of 3 + 1ap

‘SRI’ (2013) by Hazem Mahdy, C-print 100cm x 100cm, Edition of 3 + 1ap

Hazem Mahdy 7

Hazem Mahdy 6

Hazem Mahdy 2

Hazem Mahdy 3

Hazem Mahdy 4

Hazem Mahdy 5

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