The Place I Call Home

Home has always been a subject of debate. It has been defined by different terms throughout history. In our today’s story, home is the space our stories begin from. 

“The Place I Call Home is more than just an exhibition,” says David Codling, “It is an invitation to active involvement in photography.”

The Place I call Home reflects a deep historical and cultural relation between UK and GCC countries. Stal Gallery is one of the four Gulf Partners for Ffotogallery. It is a purpose-designed visual arts studio and exhibition space in the heart of Muscat.

This cross-cultural exhibition that was held in Stal Gallery on 13-15 Nov presents the work of 13 artists who want us to experience the idea of home from their perspective.

Hassan Meer defines home as Reflection from Memories, which is a series that portrays the life in Oman during the great change of discovering oil in Oman. Through this photographic series, Hassan asks people to maintain the soul of their past. 

For Mai Al Moataz, home has two aspects; metaphorically as the house of her soul, and physically as space she appears in her images in. Through her Proof and Presence III, she showcases a series of superimposed multi-layered veils.

Abi Green presents a reflective mirror in the form of a house that sits in the heart of her photos reflecting the horizon and blends in and out of its surroundings. This scene creates a distorted reality that connects past, present and future. From that perspective, Abi takes us on a deep journey through her Mysteries of the Horizon that was shot in the shifting sands and dunes of Qatar.

Through Salah self-portraits, Ammar Al Attar reveals an investigate photographic series centered around the details and movements of prayers in Islam.

Foreign Sands visualize the exploration of a new home in a foreign land. In this photographic collection, Ben Soedira displays the story of how foreign people influence a foreign city; Dubai. In his photos, we can find him wonders “where am I from and what truly is home for me?”.

Eman Ali addresses her anxiety about an uncertain political future through her photo book Succession. She was inspired by a quarterly newsletter issued by the embassy of Oman in the UK collected by her father in the 1970s and 1980s. They represent the starting point of Succession.

In Melting Bounrdies, Gillian Roberston takes us where the media didn’t; to the true relation between the British and the Arab cultures in all its aspects and directions. She hopes that her images show us that we can live in harmony with paying respect to the cultural differences.

Mariam Al Arab and Hussain Al Mosawi cross the geographical boundaries of what home is. They go Beyond Home to produce this collaborative documentary that utilizes conversations about home, immigration and citizenship, oral narratives and archival materials in an attempt to portray the Bahraini immigrants to show their perspective on identity and belonging.

Josh Adams Jones partly responses in XO to Western misconceptions of the East and misrepresentations of Oriental values and beliefs. In this exhibition, he expands on the themes and ideas originally presented in XO and he has begun to document the experiences of the Omani diaspora living in the UK.

The Last Tashahud is a photographic series that captures desolated mosques scattered along the winding road leading to the holy city of Madina. Moath Al Aofi documents through this series makeshift mosques built by philanthropists hoping to offer a haven for road travelers.

War has always its effects on people and land. It leaves a mark that can never be removed. This is what Invasion / Qasr Al Salam presents. In this project, Mohammed Al Kouh visualizes his formative experiences before, during, and after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. After the invasion, the wrecked Qasr Al Salam became a powerful symbol and a visual presentation of the consequences of war.

Through living in two different places in culture and climate, Richard Allenby-Pratt has explored the notion of home in the context of place and change. Two Rivers represent the rivers of these two places Richard lived in; the UK and UAE. The first river is where he grew up in West England alongside the rivers Severn and Teme, and the second river is the now extinct rivers of UAE’s desert.

Inspired by the artists’ own attempts of somehow always carrying a home with them, Sebastian Betancur-Montoya represents Fata Morgana as a video loop meditating on the emotional ebb and flow of the many departures and the inevitability of a return. This piece balances the primal urge to explore the unknown and the instinctive need to make a home and belong.

The Place I Call Home aims to stimulate an intercultural dialogue focusing on shared history and culture, a debate which is future facing and globally oriented showing how the world is changing and the new opportunities that present for young people in the Gulf and UK. In the end, these cultures have been meeting for over the past 200 years.

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