Website Gulfography.com has opened its online gallery to show photography by emerging and established artists from the Gulf region of the Middle East.
Photographers featured on Gulfography confront stereotypes and misconceptions about the region and about their own lives, in radical ways that reveal their bravery. While most artists struggle to succeed, the achievements of Gulfography’s featured photographers have been especially hard-won given the risks they have taken for self-expression.
Cofounders Shammi Samano and Asma Al-Kendi collaborated to provide an accessible space for these photographers and a new way to connect with art appreciators, collectors, and buyers.
“Too much good work from the region never crosses over into professional arenas, so Gulfography gives them a platform to exhibit their work outside of the traditional gallery system, which is out of reach for many who are intimidated by it or don’t know how to get in,” said Al-Kendi.
“Also, by displaying their work in an online format like ours, people from all over the world can see it regardless of where they live and whether they would ever walk into a gallery or not.”
Gulfography was inspired by a Dubai art exhibit curated by Samano that featured the work of female Emirati photography students. It was praised for being an honest and spellbinding look at lives of young women in the UAE.
“Even though these women were fairly new to the field, I found their work provocative, bold, and technically advanced,” said Samano, formerly a university media professor.
“The filmmakers and photographers I worked with were addressing controversial and relevant issues that needed to be heard and understood inside and outside of the region.
“I quickly realised that there was so much creative talent there that doesn’t get the attention it deserves outside of Flickr sites and their personal Facebook pages, where many emerging photographers start and stop.”
Artists currently featured on the site include noted Yemeni photojournalist Amira Al Sharif, Alia Al Falasi, Asma Fasial, Atiya Al Marri, Azza Al Owais, Reem Al Falahi, and Roudha K. Al Shamsi.
Gulfography is accepting submissions via the website from artists, both men and women, living in the Gulf region (Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Iran and Yemen) as well as expats living in the US and abroad.