• Fireworks (Orleans, MA)

Chasing elusive moments in personal history only pushes them farther away. In this series, Farah Al Qasimi attempts to immortalize the fleeting feelings of contentment and wonder that visit almost exclusively in the summertime. Having spent summers on the American east-coast, the artist, returns to those places in search of carefree childhood summers, spending days on beaches and in forests with loving extended family. Instead, the artist is met with empty places and unexpected changes. Many familiar places had shut down. The coastline has begun to recede as a result of heavy storms, and the volume of touristing families has thinned out. Concluding that revisiting places that were once familiar and comforting is rarely a fulfilling experience, the artist embraces the reality of change like an unsettling dream.

Al Qasimi’s photographs capture the heavy blows of nostalgia. They also pave the intimate journey to her departure from adolescence, realized through those three months of summer that were once an invitation to regress, to become sleepy, warm and lazed while sticky with popsicle juice, coated in dried sea-water  and glistening from salt crystals. Al Qasimi asks the viewer to follow as she shapes her understanding of the distance between present day adulthood and those untroubled years of childhood. There are moments of memory, and hope – the comforting respite of a powder-blue motel, like something crafted specifically to induce remembrance, or a cheerful New England living room by the bay. In these images, full of classic American imagery that was once so reassuring, the display of summer peels back to show its age, and ultimately, the sadness of its transience.

Farah Al-Qasimi was born in Abu Dhabi in 1991, raised between the UAE and USA, she currently lives and works in Dubai where she teaches photography at the Higher Colleges of Technology. In 2012, Al-Qasimi graduated from Yale University in New Haven, CT, with a degree in Fine Arts. 

Al-Qasimi has exhibited her works at the Maraya Art Center (Sharjah), the Sikka Art Fair (Dubai), and The Pavilion Downtown (Dubai), and is a graduate of Art Dubai’s inaugural Campus program for emerging artists. A long-time musician and student of composition, Al-Qasimi is deeply influenced by music and film, often regarding her photographs as stills from a movie. 

Al-Qasimi works in large format because it allows her to mirror the process of painting in picture-making. It permits color and surface to become an integral part of the viewing experience, and forces her to work in a way that is slow, thoughtful and intentional. Much of Al-Qasimi’s work deals with developing a singular sensibility and way of seeing, creating a specific world of images that reflects that. She is interested in commodities and what they say about people. Because of this, Al-Qasimi’s photographs tend to depict mundane, everyday things with an underlying strangeness or sense of humor.