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CURATOR | RAMA GHANEM

In Partnership With

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Rama Ghanem
Curator

Rama Ghanem (b. 1998) is a Palestinian artist and curator, based in Dubai, UAE. Rama’s art practice is interdisciplinary, mapping the fractal relationship between the political, the structural, the intimate and the corporeal, using research-led writing, performance, and video work. She holds a BFA (hons) from Goldsmiths, University of London. She currently manages the production and curation of exhibitions at Gulf Photo Plus, engaging the community with projects that highlight emerging thought in regional contemporary  photography.

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Munem Wasif
Land of Undefined Territory

Munem Wasif’s series of photographs and videos of an undefined land elucidates land’s disassociation
with its complex characteristics and eventually creates dialectic relationship between a land and its
identity. Situated on the edge of a blurred boundary of Bangladesh and India, the mundane land hides
human interaction with its surface and exposes ever-changing curves with Wasif’s repetitive frames. It
seems that frames rarely move from each other, slows the time and motion, blurs the character of a
land, and disassociate its political and geographical identity. It rather questions identity of a land when
it is used and referred with a significantly historical and political context.

Unlike his other works with personal intimacy and humanistic vision, Wasif’s dispassionate and
systematic approach in this series, mimics one’s role for investigation, topographic study, geological
survey or a mere aesthetic search. His meticulous method of observing a land over a long period of
time, throughout different lights and seasons, seems similar to recording something, but not in a
planned way with any specific purpose, rather it purposely lacks vision and loses control, as opposed
to careful framing. Empty banal land remains almost the same and it carries very insignificant changes
when a man or a vehicle intersects with the frames.

Courtesy of Artist and Project88

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Land of Undefined Territory, 2014-2015 

13 X 9 inch each, Series of 21
Archival Pigment prints, Framed

Courtesy- Artist and Project 88

The chosen land in this series is a mere observer of hundred years of land dispute, colonization, 47’s
divide of the subcontinent and mass-migration, 71’s liberation war of Bangladesh and the current
border tension with the neighboring country, India. Absence of any profound identity for its
existence never diminishes its presence, and its body carries the wound of aggressive industrial acts,
such as stone collection and crushing. The intellectual malady over the ownership if this land might
be an essential problem, and the issue of controlling and molding the landscape, and man’s political
relationship with the land is inevitable to know its context, but Wasif’s work is not a definitive act of
understanding the totality of deeds, rather deliberately ignorant of them with the help of an
unconscious camera, to merely show land’s lone existence over a period of time. The vantage points
of the frames only gives a starting point, but doesn’t provide any conclusion. Look-alike frames and
ambient sounds once overcome the optical unconscious of the camera and bounces elusive feelings
and absurd sensitivity.

Installations shot, Land of undefined territoryMuseu d’Art Contemporani de BarcelonaUndefined Territories: Perspectives on Colonial Legacies, 2019

Land of Undefined Territory
Installation View

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Munem Wasif, Bangladeshi, b. 1983

Munem Wasif’s photography and film investigates complex social and political issues with a
humanistic language, by getting close to the people, physically and psychologically, dealing with
multiple questions and contradictions. Expressionistic in style and long-term in method, Wasif often
experiments beyond the tradition, tests the possibilities of fiction, by borrowing a familiar
documentary language.

He had exhibitions worldwide including, Center Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo & Visa pour l’image in
France, Whitechapel Gallery, Kettle’s Yard & Victoria & Albert museum in England, Museu d’Art
Contemporani de in Spain, Musee de elysee, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire & Fotomuseam Winterthur in
Switzerland, Kunsthal museum & Noordelicht festival in Netherlands, Museum of Modern Art in
Poland, Parasite in Hong Kong, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Vitenam, Gwangju biennale in
Korea, Singapore biennale in Singapore, Sharjah Bienalle in UAE, Asia Pacific Triennial of contemporary
art in Australia, and Dhaka Art summit & Chobi Mela in Bangladesh.

 

BAW Participation

Bangladesh Art Week Dubai 2021 : Undefined Territory

Shumon Ahmed

What I have forgotten could fill the ocean, what is not real never lived is a complex title for a very complex narrative. Indeed, my grammar checker on my computer has a problem with the syntax; it apparently doesn’t make sense, but to the observant reader it does. In short, the human mind can grasp what the machine can’t and herein lays the significance of the work. Shumon Ahmed, the author/compiler/photographer/poet explores an extraordinarily complex relationship, that between mother son through series of photographs, montage, poetry, sound and found pieces of everyday life like envelopes. At one level it is a meditation upon the relationship that is deep and highly personal but at another it is profoundly universalizing.

 

The collection of images is memory traces that the author invests with meaning and thus constructs a moving, confessional narrative about the necessity of love. Few people write or comment as frankly as Shumon Ahmed on the complex relationship between mother and son. Freud has taught the West that sons desire their mothers only to reject them in maturity otherwise tragedy ensues. We have accepted this as the Oedipal myth. Ahmed reverses the trajectory of the narrative. He confesses to disliking his mother because of her alleged ‘intellectual disability’ and the way she was spoken to and about by relatives; she was an embarrassment. It seems that Ahmed needed to distance himself, both from a culture that rejected his mother, and his mother who touchingly retained unconditional love for her son, expressed in letters and gestures, leading Ahmed to examine his position and then recognized the injustice that had been heaped upon his mother, including his own rejection. “ I have forgotten could fill an ocean, what is not real never lived” Has become an act of atonement.

 

There are several other dimensions to the entire work that invite comments. Ahmed’s seemingly dispassionate use of what are little more than essentially banal signifiers of the everyday become loaded with meaning because they are so personal and redolent of the mother son relationship. Consider the leaves lying on an indistinct background or the bird resting on a spire, or the wingtips of the plane that creates the separation. Individually they are to all intents and purposes meaningless but here they form a sequence that becomes the memory of the ongoing relationship and thus become invested with considerable depth and insight. These are the things we remember when we are trying to retrieve what has been lost and seek to regain.

 

Ahmed points towards another phase of photographic practice where the found can become profound if it is subject to scrutiny and intelligent manipulation. A logical conclusion then is that anyone can produce the images and make them significant and, in a sense, they do; homes are full of folios carefully organized and annotated photographs that have great personal meaning. The difference between these and What I have forgotten … is that they remain private rather than public documents and is the fact that Shumon Ahmed has chosen to go public that adds to the power of the ‘work’.

 

- Brian Shoesmith

Courtesy of Artist and Project88

‘What I have forgotten could fill an ocean, what is not real never lived’

Tintype (Rare Format) 11 x 4 inches

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Tintype (Rare Format) 11 x 4 inches

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Framed original polaroids, and envelops on vitrine.

‘What I have forgotten could fill an ocean, what is not real never lived’

Installation View

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Photo Credit: Safdar

Shumon Ahmed, Bangladeshi, b. 1977

Shumon Ahmed’s (b. in 1977) art and poetry explores the fusion between multiple mediums to create cross pollinations of narratives that while seemingly contradictory, are private yet collective. His approach into combining different mediums is deeply meditative and has also been likened to memory and loss that yield the melancholy and a longing for the uncanny. 

 

His work has been previously exhibited in various galleries, festivals, screenings and fairs worldwide, notably at 4A Centre for contemporary Asian, Sydney 2017, Curated_by, at Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, Austria, 2016, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014, India, Dhaka Art Summit (2012,2014,2016), Whitechapel Gallery in London (2010), Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland (2010), Frieze art fair New york and London 2017 and a solo exhibition at Project88 (2015). Shumon divides both his time between New York, Dhaka and Sylhet and is represented by Project88 Mumbai

BAW Participation

Bangladesh Art Week Dubai 2021 : Undefined Territory

 

 

 

 

Palash Bhattacharjee’s Compose

In this work, the idea of the search for knowledge is overlapped with that of the educational exercises
that we are habituated to accept as our only means to become educated. In order to unsettle this
concept of the ‘ideal method’, the work re-arranges the books to critique the established notion of
knowledge dissemination and reception which is tied to the colonial legacy.
These specimens underline some of the misrepresentations developed under the colonial gaze. Here,
academic, Intermediate-level and Graduate-level books of grammar, literature, math and some
journals are used to demonstrate the shady regions of the colonial education system. The video work
has done on the inspiration of naivety of some reading experiences of my childhood. The first video
show the pages of the books are being flipped, the second video shows books are being read, the third
one shows books are being torn, circles are being inscribed into their pages besides the final act of
stapling them.

Courtesy of Samdani Art Foundation

Compose

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Compose

Installation View

Compose
Five channel video installation with sound and object materials. Seven minute loop.
http://palashartistry.blogspot.com/2018/02/compose.html

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Palash Bhattacharjee, Bangladeshi, b.1983

Palash Bhattacharjee entered the scene with a series of performative stocks. Along with photo-video
installations based on his performances and site-specific works, he included another important
component: sound. He articulates the neural through the experiential, from his early photo and video
installations in 2009 to his more recent near-absurd performances and video installations. Since 2011,
he's been developing a practice that splits into two distinct but overlapping strands: video and
performance. His single-channel or multi-channel videos and performances are the result of his
meditations on the body's communion with spatial reality, which are frequently set in a temporal
context. As he sets out to restore an event from his life that is both overwhelming and abstract, he
reorganizes multiple approaches. He is an artist based in Chittagong, Bangladesh and received his
Master's and Bachelor's degrees from Chittagong University's department of Fine Arts in 2010 and
2009.

BAW Participation
Bangladesh Art Week Dubai 2021 : Undefined Territory

Shahria Sharmin
Call Me Heena

Hijra, a term of South Asia which has no exact match in the modern western taxonomy of gender,
designated as male at birth with feminine gender identity and eventually adopts feminine gender
roles. They are often grossly mislabeled as hermaphrodites, eunuchs, transgender or transsexual
women in literature, presently a more justified social term for them is the Third Gender. Instead of
coming from various social and family backgrounds, Hijras feel a strong sense of belongings to their
groups. They create an intimacy with their surroundings - with their community and new homes. These
groups give them the shelter of a family and the warmth of human relationship. Outside the group,
they are discriminated and scorned almost everywhere.
“I, like almost everyone else in my society, grew up seeing them as less than human. Their habits, way
of life, and even looks marked them as different and deviant, as if a living testimony of biological
aberration. Then I met Heena, who showed me how wrong I was. In today’s world, Hijras hardly get an
opportunity to have a normal life. They do not have any school to study, no temple to pray in, no
government and private organizations would want to see them in their employee list. They have no
access to legal system nor do even health service providers welcome them. I started this self-financed
on going project in the beginning of July 2012. Although my work captures moments through
photographs, the moments are far and long in between, because the intention is to capture the stories
of the voiceless hijra community when they are most comfortable with themselves without performing
to the world. The photos tell stories of struggle, momentary joys and hidden dreams, the intimacy
every individual has with their thoughts when no one is looking.”

Call Me Heena 

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Framed archival prints.
https://www.worldpressphoto.org/programs/develop/6x6/asia/shahria-sharmin

Call Me Heena

Installation View

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Shahria Sharmin, Bangladeshi, b.

Shahria Sharmin is a freelance photographer based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. After doing her Masters in
Public Administration from the University of Dhaka, Shahria pursued her further study at Pathshala
South Asian Media Academy in Bangladesh where she became fascinated with the social history of
photography and the evolution of identity, sexuality and gender in relationship to material culture. ‘Call
me Heena’ Shahria’s ongoing project, takes her interest in photography’s connection with identity to
explore and express the diversity of human experience.

In 2014, she was named the second place winner of the Alexia Foundation student grant for her
project, ‘Call me Heena’. The same work has been selected in Open Society Foundation, Moving Walls
23 group exhibition in 2015. Other awards and honors have included being recognized by
International Photographer of the Year IPOTY and Magnum Photography Award 2017. ‘Call me Heena’
was Shortlisted of the first ever Women Photograph grant 2017 in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center
on Crisis Reporting. She has been a participant of World Press Joop Swart Masterclass in 2019.

BAW Participation

Bangladesh Art Week Dubai 2021 : Undefined Territory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marzia Farhana’s Connecting to Infinity
“We are living in an infinity surface where everything is coming continuously and moving towards the
endless journey of time. Here, every steps and every moments are making the possibility to come
forward and eventually connecting to infinity. Red represents the continuous birth and white line
represents the endless journey of time.”

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting to Infinity
Video installation, ten second loop.
RED : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSX7zuL3q0A 
WHITE LINE : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6efoMtM2lJ4 

 

 

 

 

 

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Connecting to Infinity
Two 17” screens in wood casing.

Connecting to Infinity

Installation View

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Marzia Farhana, Bangladeshi, b.

Marzia Farhana is a visual artist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She studied at the Faculty of Fine
Arts, University of Dhaka and completed her MA in Fine Arts from Central St Martins, University
of the Arts London, where she was awarded a prize for ‘Innovation.’

She has developed hybrid forms of production with different media that include paintings, prints,
collage, assemblages of found objects, texts, and moving images. Her projects reinforce
alternative education and actions for social change, reflect on environmental destruction caused
by humans and analyse the present human condition.
She is interested in collaborations, participation, and socially engaged art.

One of her large-scale multimedia installations titled ‘Ecocide and the Rise of Free Fall’ was shown
at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018. Her works have been featured at a number of important
museums, galleries and organisations including the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona
(MACBA), Spain; Office of Contemporary Art (OCA), Oslo, Norway; KrinzingerProjekte, Vienna,
Austria; Dhaka Art Summit 2020, 2018 and 2016; and the Kathmandu Triennale, 2017. She
received residency from Delfina Foundation, London (2018) and the Khoj International Workshop(2017).

BAW Participation

Bangladesh Art Week Dubai 2021 : Undefined Territory