Opening on 4 February 2023 at the Art Gallery of W.A. is the first major exhibition in Australia of images and installations by Abu Dhabi photographer, Farah Al Qasimi.

Farah Al Qasimi, ‘Star Machine, 2021’, archival inkjet print, 114.3 x 152.4 cm. Courtesy the Artist and The Third Line.

Based between Brooklyn and Dubai, Al Qasimi is known for using photography to explore how spaces and subjectivities inflect each other. The exhibition’s title ‘Star Machine’ highlights the image shown above, a self-portrait taken in the artist’s family home during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Seeking to change the monotony of her surroundings, the star machine brought the heavens to earth through a projection of light. To quote from the press release:

The works in Star Machine flicker between darker moments of disconnection and idyllic expressions of care, community and faith. Between these poles, Al Qasimi cognitively maps the traces of affect that simultaneously hold and punctuate our daily lives. Through a mixture of close-ups, mid-shots, and long-shots, that at times almost completely dissolve the subject, the images position the viewer at an intimate distance as part of a general atmospheric disturbance. In using photography, an inherently social medium, to seek out sensations of closeness when you are physically separated, Al Qasimi leans into mindfulness to show that spiritual experience must not always be threatened by consumption; about how Neoliberalism’s individualisation of well-being need not run rampant; to show how images can be coping strategies, and so too might all of our big and small acts of self-making and transcendence.

Farah Al Qasimi: Star Machine is curated by Rachel Cieśla, Lead Creative for the Simon Lee Foundation Institute of Contemporary Asian Art (SLF ICAA). It is on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 4 February to 30 July, 2023. Entry is free of charge.