“Private-ly” photo exhibit was inaugurated at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC). Sponsored by Tashkeel, which is founded and directed by Lateefa Bint Maktoum, the exhibition displayed photographs taken by 18 Applied Communications students from Dubai Women’s College (DWC).What made this exhibition unique is exploring the artistic perspective from these young Emirati artists. The photos explained different aspects of life such as, domestic violence, personal memories and fantasies that takes you into a different world made with an Emirati fingerprint. Alia Felasi, Year 1 Applied Communications student, said about her photograph “Memories Left Behind”, “You see two girls, but they are actually the same girl as a child and as an adult. The long braid demonstrates the memories that have been with me from my childhood till now.”Short Life by student Roudha Al Shamsi showcased the life and the dreams people can’t achieve. “We are essentially imperfect. Simply, our short lives are like a broken tape,” she pointed out. “Our dreams and our true identity are more powerful than we think they are. But we hesitate in fulfilling them because we are afraid of making mistakes and getting lost. As a result, we shut our eyes from the Truth,” Roudha added.“Bandaging Your Pain” by Hessa Al Butti is mainly a story of a girl who first tried to hide her private grief and sadness by putting on makeup and wearing the most luxurious jewelry, but others still noticed the pain on her face. She then tried to put on a smile and fight back her tears, but others still noticed something was wrong. Finally, she decided to bandage her face entirely to hide these feelings from the world. “Even in the most fashionable abaya, she is actually broken from inside and her heart is full of misery and sadness,” said Hessa.
The theme for the exhibit was developed by Shammi Samano—the co-curator and DWC faculty of the photography course for which the photographs were taken. Ms. Samano explained her inspiration for the exhibit in the following way: “What’s fascinated me since I first arrived in Dubai was how thick the line is separating the public and private in local Emirati culture, much thicker than in the West. I wanted students to reflect on that separation by artistically exploring what is personally private to them and then sharing it in the very public space of an art gallery.” The show is co-curated by Ms. Fathima Mohiuddin, Special Project Manager at DUCTAC, who has also been instrumental in guiding and preparing students for their first ever exhibit. It’s worth mentioning that Year 4 Applied Communications students organized the event. “It was my first time to organize an event that exhibited the photography of eighteen young Emirati women, who are becoming professional artists. It’s a farewell gift from the graduate class to the freshman class,” concluded Nawar Al Shamsi, Applied Communications student and one of the event’s organizers.