The Third Line at Art Basel 2019
The Third Line participates in Art Basel with a solo presentation featuring new works by Farah Al Qasimi
Farah’s latest body of work looks at domestic traditions of hospitality and interior decor witnessed across public and private spaces in the Gulf states. A ubiquitous mark of Britain’s presence in the region between 1820 and 1971, the local sense of style transpires through Rococo furniture, hand-carved fruits, curtains matching upholstery fabrics and an overall profusion of various gilded elements adorning local homes.
The stuff of homes did more than borrow from its Western influencers. It re-appropriated status signifiers and overflowed them with ostentation in an arresto momentum dating back to the British departure from the Gulf four decades ago.
In addition to evidencing the regional perpetuation of such decor penchants, Farah’s photographs map out its gendered social uses: perfumes in their opulent containers are often placed in guest bathrooms, tissue boxes with froufrou covers appear as part of tea-time spreads, colourful birds blend within their exotic majlis backgrounds. Pre-oil tribal life of the late 19th century has given way to a cultural need to embellish both spaces, bodies and things through an aesthetic formerly popular in the West yet still considered as bearer of cachet in the Gulf—a denotation of both assimilation and autonomy.
Farah Al Qasimi
Working primarily with photography, video and performance, Farah Al Qasimi examines postcolonial structures of power, gender and taste in the Gulf Arab states. Farah studied photography and music at Yale University in 2012 and received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2017. Selected exhibitions include Artist’s Rooms, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, (2019), Conversation 7 (with Marcela Pardo Ariza), San Francisco Arts Commission (2018); No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effects, CCS Bard Galleries, New York (2017); More Good News, Helena Anrather, New York (2017), and Coming Up Roses, The Third Line, Dubai (2016).
She has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation, London (2017); the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2017); and was recently awarded the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship (2018). Farah’s work is housed in public collections including Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival, Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE.
Farah lives and works between New York and Dubai. She is currently a critic at the Rhode Island School of Design.