Detail from the series 'The Yemeni Sailors of South Shields' (2006) by Youssef Nabil,
Copyright British Museum. Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum.

 

LONDON - Light From the Middle East at the Victoria and Albert Museum demonstrates just what can be achieved when a museum is able to access some funding for acquisition. Marta Weiss has curated a superb show of the works of 30 artists from across the greater Middle East (including North Africa and Central Asia), presenting a variety of creative and sophisticated responses to the social challenges and political upheavals that have shaped this region over the past 20 years. Ranging from photojournalism to staged and digitally manipulated imagery, these artists offer multiple viewpoints of a region where collisions between personal, religious and political life can be emotive and complex.

From the series 'Qajar' (1998) by Shadi Ghadirian. Copyright V&A. Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum.


The exhibition catalogue provides an important insight into the evolution of the art of photography amongst these artists, and the visual journey is compelling indeed. Shadi Ghadirian juxtaposes old with new, so favoured by many practicing artists, while Mitra Tabrizian’s seminal works express the same reality in a different mode. Youssef Nabil, as a modern master of the genre, seems to attract a great deal of audience attention; his works do equally well on the commercial platform of the auction world. A must-see!