Reem Al Ghaith is a young polymath excelling across the fields of visual arts, creative direction and design entrepreneurship.
Predominantly in photography and sculpture, her practice interrogates and casts new perspectives on the urban and social landscapes of her native UAE. She tackles ideas of modernity and tradition within the context of her country’s rapid development.
Before even graduating in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah, her career was catapulted forward on a global scale with the inclusion of works in significant national and international exhibitions. She has been shown at Art Basel and in the Vitra Design Museum, Haus Der Kunst, Centre Georges Pompidou, Zurich Museum of Design, Shanghai Expo, the United Nations Headquarters, The Venice Bienniale and The Mori Art Museum Tokyo.
In 2012, Al Ghaith founded Tinkah, a multi-disciplinary platform specialising in design, art and product development. From their studio in Dubai, Al Ghaith and her partners are establishing Tinkah as a strategic creative entity that represents the unique expressions of artists, designers and thinkers from the region.
Here is an imagined landscape at the intersection of tradition and modernity. The ‘new Dubai’ rises inexorably on the horizon, skyscrapers dominate and the churned up, raw sand and machinery tell of perpetual construction. A frame shrinks in comparison, dwarfed by the towering, shining buildings. Within, an impossible glimpse of the ‘old city’.
Compositionally and conceptually, the frame becomes a tense nexus and a threshold between the two; a portal to another time and another place. Confined within the frame, focussed in a place of tension, a lone figure is found.
An elision of time and place happens here. The scene contained within has not been lost to development. Before development began, this vantage lay empty and looked only upon desert; the ‘Sikka’ houses contained within still stand. The juxtaposition of past and present, here and there, does not straightforwardly betray a sense of loss or nostalgia.
Seemingly turned to view the new city rising, the figure stands apart from the development. As she observes, she is not fully inhabiting the framed place or time. Rather, the artist registers the reality of the present, seeking to find a place within it that does not shed the context of the past.