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Amjad Faur


Medieval depictions of historical events in Shi’a art and illuminations often depict the prophet Muhammad with a golden flame enveloping his head or show his face entirely shrouded by a veil; an attempt at reverence in both his depiction and non-depiction. This primary tension regarding how images operate and their power to narrate versus their potential to transform into something more seductive and dangerous is instrumental in my own approach to image making. The conceptual translations of these concerns to modern depictions of geopolitical and religious violence are not hard to make within the context of contemporary media as well as art and indeed manifest within my photographs.

As an artist simultaneously attempting to navigate photography’s contemporary role in art and populist models of thought as well as its relationship to art history, I find inescapable parallels between the photograph’s exacting abstraction of the world and our inclination to adore them as empirical objects. I am inclined to employ this representational tension as a means to explore both the volatile and mercurial problems of my ancestral background in the Middle East.

I have been working for over a decade with large format photography and it is still the means by which I conceptualize, associate and produce my work. There is a meditative and decidedly intentional quality built in to every image that stems tangibly from the very materials they are made of. My images are often constructed in a studio, within a controlled environment and require much in the way of sculptural and spatial problem solving. The images are contingent on having been shot “in camera” so as to reinforce the visual abstractions contained within them. In contrast, the visual content of the images is mostly informed by the transitional and elastic spaces found in the ethnic, political and religious labyrinth of the Middle East; a region whose narratives are so often borne of both the control and immediacy of images and their symbolic weight.