Lamya Gargash

Photographs of spaces in public and private realms of Emirati society are featured in the portfolio of Dubai-based photographer Lamya Gargash.

As the society around her transforms at rapid speed, Gargash investigates how certain aspects of tradition and culture are preserved and others are erased or transformed. Quiet and ethereal, Gargash’s photos highlight a series of vacant spaces such as the majilis, hotel lobby, family room, bedroom and bathroom. Gargash combines aesthetics of interior design, theatre and museum display in photos that are both nostalgic and forebode the consequences rapid generational change. She uses light in each of the spaces to accentuate absence and emptiness. Her Majlis series focuses on the room in Emirati homes where people traditionally gathered to socialise; the spaces include both traditional elements and evidence of globalisation. The majlis concept has moved out of the strictly domestic sphere into popular culture; tourists and foreign residents alike are able to participate in a majlis experience that may only loosely represent its authentic function.

Gargash has participated in numerous group shows in Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan and France and represented the UAE at the 2009 Venice Biennale.