The Arab British Centre proudly presents ‘Parallel Orientalism’, a photographic exhibition by renowned artist Fatima Abbadi.
‘The work of Fatima Abbadi in her “Parallel Orientalism” locates itself right at the core of this complex issue of representing [the Orient], but Fatima’s artistic production skillfully and powerfully produces an image and imaginary of the Orient that speaks back to the stigmas without falling into, but rather taking distance, from the “orientalist” genre.
Fatima’s work of art is courageous and poetic. Her photography captures the nude and raw reality of the “Orient”, its daily life, its streets and activities, its women and men, old, young, rich, modern, traditional, poor, with a unique and gracious gaze that never essentialises or reifies its subjects or objects. Perhaps the magical touch of Fatima’s pictures lies in the fact that there are no ideological or apologetic messages in her art. Fatima’s camera seems like an affectionate eye, that watches moments of daily life as they unfold and flow, and renders them with simultaneous simplicity and intensity.
And yet, what is most persuasive is Fatima’s decision to display pictures of women and men, nature, spaces and places across cultures and countries. Gestures, expressions, activities seem to lose their geographical location and what we see is an harmonious sense of differences and similarities, the fluidity of the ordinary, an artistic and much needed display of a shared humanity. Most of all, in Fatima’s pictures we see the majestic beauty of ordinary gestures, spaces, places, faces and the poetics of daily life and of ordinary people in the Arab and Islamic world and beyond.’
This text, written by Ruba Salih, is an extract from ‘Orientalismi Paralleli’, Abbadi’s exhibition book which will be available for purchase throughout the exhibition.
(1978) is an Italian – Jordanian Palestinian freelance photographer raised in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E) and based in Italy since 1997.
Her passion for photography started when Fatima’s father gave her a camera at the age of 13. Eager to learn, she began reading manuals and studying photography books, rapidly developing a profound understanding of pictures, their meaning and the powerful message they carry.
In 2007 Fatima enrolled in a photography course at MIGNON Group in Italy and eventually became a member in 2009.
Abbadi uses an analogue camera in black and white for all her work. In addition to the exhibitions with MIGNON Group, Fatima Abbadi has had solo exhibitions around the world: “Portraits”, Padova (Italy), 2008 “Women Through My Lens” Amman (Jordan) 2011 under the patronage of the Italian Embassy, Rome (Cloister of Bramante) 2011, Padua (Gallery Samonà) 2012. “Orientalism: A reinterpretation” Asolo (Fantadia International Festival of Multivision) 2013. “Parallel Orientalism” 2014 Mestre (Candiani) and Abano Terme.