Young Gulf photographers embark on creative journey

Young Gulf photographers embark on creative journey


JEDDAH — Art Jameel and The Crossway Foundation announced the start of the Jameel Journey to Turkey, the latest in a series of collaborative initiatives to give young artists from the Gulf region the opportunity to work and travel across international borders.

On Thursday, six young photographers from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain embark on an 11-day trip to Turkey, during which they will meet and collaborate with local photographers and arts initiatives in Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ankara. The six participants are the previous winners of Art Jameel Photography Award.

Conceptual artist and photographer Orhan Cem Çetin will give the participants a private lecture and join a review of their individual portfolios. Çetin has been an important and innovative figure in photography from Turkey since the late 1980s, and today lectures at Bahçeşehir University and Galata Academy of Photography, alongside his practice as an artist and critic.

In Istanbul, the six photographers will visit the studio of Ali Taptık, one of the most exciting figures in the current generation of Turkish artist-photographers, with a long list of international group and solo exhibitions, publications and residencies to his name.

They will also hear talks from prominent photographers, artists and curators such as Sevim Sancaktar, Zeynep Beler, Beril Gür, Özge Ersoy and Bikem Ekberzade at cultural institutions including Istanbul Modern and Collector Space. Istanbul’s picturesque Princes’ Islands will provide the backdrop for a day of exploration and photography with members of Geniş Açı Project Office (GAPO).

The young photographers will then travel to Cappadocia, where the unique volcanic landscape will provide ample inspiration, not least during a sunrise hot air balloon trip and visits to the famous Göreme Open Air Museum and Rose Valley.

The Journey ends in Ankara, where the group will take part in a special three-day publication workshop at Ka Atölyesi, a venue dedicated to helping photographers develop their practice. As well as documenting their time in Turkey, the publication they produce will explore this year’s theme of “Migration”.

Throughout the Jameel Journey To Turkey, participants will be guided by the visual artist Merve Ünsal, this year’s project mentor. She said: “We are interpreting migration both as a mode of being for the contemporary citizen of the world and as a politically and socially charged condition that defines the MENAT region. Through this theme, we are going to look at the post-Ottoman heritage of Turkey as new identities were forged over the course of the 20th century and consider how these identities continue to evolve today. While the artist lectures will focus on the theme through looking at specific bodies of work that deal with migration, walks through the cities will be guided by this theme in mind, looking at new and old neighborhoods through shifting urban dynamics.”

Imogen Ware, managing director of the Crossway Foundation, said: “Exploring a new place with new peers can be a very formative experience, both personally and professionally. We hope that bringing together like-minded practitioners in this unique context will have a genuine impact on the participants’ photographic practice. “Migration” is a topic of urgent and unprecedented importance for the world, and for Turkey in particular, but it can also be applied on a personal level to each of our participants who have a broad range of nationalities and backgrounds; a mix that will no doubt contribute to the group’s interpretation of this theme.”

The six participants were selected from a 15-person shortlist of promising young photographers who applied to the Art Jameel Photography Award. They are: Akram Al Almoudi, 31, Saudi Arabia; Marwan Haredy, 20, UAE; Mohammed Shibli, 25, Saudi Arabia; Rawan Alhusaini, 26, Bahrain; Farah Salem, 24, Kuwait; and Tyma Hezam, 20, Saudi Arabia.

Fady Jameel, president of Community Jameel International, said: “Artists who were part of our previous Journeys to Brazil, Japan, Spain, Saudi Arabia and the UK have gone on to not only exhibit their work and contribute to important publications, but launch their own businesses and initiatives. I’m excited to see how this trip will unlock the potential of this year’s participants.” — SG