Academic journal article Afterimage

Home in the Age of Globalization

Academic journal article Afterimage

Home in the Age of Globalization

Article excerpt





MAY 7-JUNE 19, 2008

Bahrain, like many of the other countries within the Arabian Gulf region, is grappling with tremendous growth and change. For some it offers a wealth of business opportunities, while for others it raises concern because of its rapid development. Nestled in a historic alley in Muharraq, a governorate of Bahrain, lies the Bahraini-French Cultural Centre, which recently hosted Camille Zakharia's solo exhibition "Double Vue," consisting of playful yet contemplative, documentary-style photographs examining notions of identity and globalization in regard to Bahrain. According to Zakharia, the driving force behind this exhibition was that "a culture can be erased without substantial documentation." (1)


Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, Zakharia began photographing at the age of 17 when he began college at the American University of Beirut. During his time in Beirut from 1980 to 1985, the civil war continued to escalate and he sought to photograph the Lebanon he once knew. In 1985, the fled the country and has since lived in the United States, Canada, Greece, Turkey, and Bahrain. The one thing that has remained constant in his life has been his photography. Zakharia states,

My fascination with urban landscapes dates back to my earliest photographs taken in Beirut over twenty years ago. Inspired by the effect of the war on Beirut's buildings and their inhabitants and driven by a desire to observe and document structures of every kind, whether they housed families, businesses or rituals, I began a journey that has taken me around the world photographing the cities that at some point or another in my life, I called home. (2)

His photography is not only a reflection of the places that he documents, but the work also embodies himself--longing for the home he once knew--knowing that the world that he lives in is fleeting and that one day, the things one may take for granted may no longer be there.

Keeping this in mind, the setting for Zakharia's exhibition to address his impetus is most appropriate. A former Bahraini traditional home the Bahraini-French Cultural Centre consists of an open courtyard surrounded by a series of modest-sized rooms in which the work resided. The exhibition not only contained thoughtful juxtapositions of photographs but the show's relationship to the space allowed for a series of interesting and mindful associations.

Zakharia had drawn some of the photographs in the show from his archives and recontextualized the images to create this body of work, much like the way historic Arabic ornamentation has been appropriated onto contemporary buildings as the new architecture displaces the visual identity of traditional Bahrain. …

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