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LAST CHANCE Farah Al Qasimi: Arrival
Farah Al Qasimi’s third solo exhibition at Third Line presents a new body of work featuring jinn folklore from the UAE. It includes the premiere of Al Qasimi’s first feature-length film, a 40-minute horror-comedy titled Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire); Um Al Naar, a RAK-based Jinn, narrates the region’s changes from its occupation by Portuguese and British naval forces to its current national identity based around tolerance and a drive to generate culture.
The photographs in the exhibition are moments pulled from the world Um Al Naar describes. She follows a baker with an Instagram business making buttercream roses, dance parties in which the only participants are men, and moves throughout homes looking at indicators of bodies and their personal style. Um Al Naar laments the formalities and social constructs of modern-day life, longing for a more fluid, interconnected world in which there is ample space for the paranormal, the unseen and the absurd.
Many of Al Qasimi’s photographs include a looming sense of dread or entrapment, even if the world they depict is full of colour and cheer. A woman takes photographs in an aviary filled with live birds, their movement curtailed by a drop ceiling with fluorescent lights. A figure is reflected in a picture frame, her ghost trapped within its confines. Um Al Naar provides a space where these fears can be confronted—and where spectres can move freely.
Above: Farah Al Qasimi, A’s Reflection (2019)