Biography

Working primarily with photography, video and performance, Farah Al Qasimi (b. 1991, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) examines postcolonial structures of power, gender and taste in the Gulf Arab states.

 

Al Qasimi studied photography and music at Yale University in 2012 and received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2017. Dividing her time between Dubai and New York, Al Qasimi has integrated her practice as a social critique and observation of the layered aspects of each place indirectly. Through her bold and vibrant photographs, she explores the unspoken social norms and values embedded in a place, a moment or an object. Her thought-provoking images act as an invitation for the viewer to sense the unspoken boundaries that govern the scenes which they catch a glimpse of.

 

Al Qasimi’s recent works challenge the viewer to consider their own understanding of reality, aspiration, individuality and the reflected image. In series such as 'Funhouse', Al Qasimi demonstrates her skill with mise-en-scene in photographs that are richly detailed, evoking a tromp-l’oeil effect, which are at turns delightful, delirious and disturbing. Elsewhere, the artist creates works that confront commonplace notions of figurative photography and portraiture. Her recent commission with Public Art Fund, 'Back and Forth Disco', was on view at 100 bus shelters in New York City in 2019–20 and comprised of works offering a distinct representation of a subject without allowing the viewer full access to the person, highlighting the unique qualities that determine individuality and capturing the diverse essence of New York City.

 

Selected exhibitions include; Everywhere there is splendor, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, USA (2021); Imitation of Life, The Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France (2021); A Question of Taste, Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey (2021); Lady Lady, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada (2021); Funhouse, Helena Anrather Gallery, NY, USA (2020); Back and Forth Disco, Public Art Fund, New York, NY, USA (2020); Lahore Biennale, Lahore, Pakistan (2020); Open Arm Sea, Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX, USA (2020); March Projects, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2019); Arrival, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2019); Age of You, MOCA Toronto, Canada (2019); List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA, USA (2019); Artist's Rooms, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE (2019); Conversation 7 (with Marcela Pardo Ariza), San Francisco Arts Commission, SF, USA (2018); No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effects, CCS Bard Galleries, New York, USA (2017); More Good News, Helena Anrather, New York (2017), and Coming Up Roses, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2016).

 

Al Qasimi has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation, London (2017); the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2017); and was also awarded the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer's Fellowship (2018).

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