Slidefest 19: Urbanism

Gulf Photo Plus is pleased to announce the next, 19th edition of Slidefest – a night of photography projections, filled with conversations, storytelling and interesting new projects from UAE-based photographers, including Yiannis Galanopoulos, Hussain AlMoosawi, Sreeranj Sreedhar, Mark Marin, Lamya Gargash, Catalin Marin and Yasser Elsheshtawy. 

Slidefest 19 will take place at Warehouse E46 (just a few doors down from GPP) in Alserkal Avenue, where photography finds itself in its natural environment of contemporary art. 

Always free to attend but spaces are limited so please register your place!



Yiannis Galanopoulos has been a visual artist for the past sixteen years. He has participated in numerous solo and group international art exhibitions in Europe, the USA and Japan. His work has been acquired by private and public collections. He has a BFA in Photography and Audiovisual Arts from the Technological Institute of Athens, a Master of Arts degree in Humanities from Old Dominion University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Studies from Norfolk State University. He currently holds a lecturer’s position at United Arab Emirates University. The project Specimens of American Suburbia is a visual reflection about the identity of the place and in general the identity of any place. It brings two visual concepts of America that the artist had in mind before starting his exploration. The one was of the Metropolis filled with skyscrapers, the other – of the Countryside with highways, big cars and neon motel signs appearing in foggy, rural surroundings. The series connects with the New Topographic movement of the 70’s and reopens a conversation on landscaping and architecture, subjectivity, topography and geography.

Hussain AlMoosawi is a communication designer with a strong background in media and photography. Trained in Australia and currently based in the UAE, he works as an infographic artist at The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, responsible for generating its infographic content across print and digital platforms. Through the last few years, he has developed a keen interest in documenting urban typologies, focusing on a few themes in the UAE, in the quest to discover some unique elements of its urban landscape. The project “Under construction: fences of the UAE” is one of them. Someone wouldn’t generally describe UAE’s local neighborhoods as visually vibrant. Architectural styles repeat themselves as if they are dictated by social self-regulation, while the colour palette follows a predictable pattern. However, this visual uniformity is wonderfully disturbed by construction fences, which come in different colours and styles. It’s the state of being temporary that gives these fences the license to be whatever they want. To express freely. To be yellow or pink, or a bit of both.

Sreeranj Sreedhar has been living in Dubai and working as an Administration & Human Resources Manager for a multinational company in Dubai for the past 24 years. He started photography in 2011 and was interested in street and documentary photography, to capture the unusual in the usual moments of the daily life, culture and festivals. The work that he’s presenting at Slidefest is “366 Street Project” - a challenge of shooting every day for 366 days on the streets using only Iphone6 in Black & White Square Format. The challenge is not only taking just any pictures but to capture the unusual scenes in our usual surroundings. Majority of the pictures are taken in and around Sreeranj’s office and home in Bur Dubai.

Mark Marin studied Interior Design at Sydney College of the Arts. He has worked principally in Interior Design for most of his career ( commencing 1985 with Australia’s prestigious New Parliament House project in Canberra ) and first set up his own practice in Sydney in 1990. However, Mark has also worked consistently in art and photography since around 1998. Of particular interest is photography that uses the camera in an alternative way to create a more artistic or abstracted view of the world. Façade is a study of modernist architectural facades globally. A broad photographic survey of images shot in many different cities around the world of mainly Modernist facades of various buildings. Images shot in North and South America, Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Lamya Gargash documented one-star hotels to comprise the series Familial. Tracing a period and condition that perhaps we imagine to be already outmoded, at least for the accelerated developments of the U.A.E. and the Emirates' desire to portray a classy, luxurious profile with seven starts taking over the definitive five. And yet these most modest of hotels exist with the obvious aspirations of their owners as symbols of hope and potential. The decadence and vibrancy of their interiors, as captured on camera, is at odds with their one-star category and already acts as an archive of the Emirates' unprecedented speed of change. Gargash seemingly documents these spaces objectively and yet she occasionally adds a personal family portrait to the rooms to introduce another layer that considers the character of the spaces and the experiences and memories that may soon forever be lost to a hierarchical system where the solo star is a moribund breed. 

Catalin Marin is an award-winning commercial and corporate photographer based in Dubai, specializing in architectural and interior photography as well as corporate and environmental portraits. Marin also maintains the travel photography blog Momentary Awe, which has been awarded Best Asian & Oceanian Photoblog in 2011. “Chernobyl” series is a recent personal work by Catalin. He explains his choice: “2016 marks 30 years since the tragic Chernobyl accident took place in what was the USSR and now is Ukraine. There are many haunting photographs from this troubled area, but visiting Chernobyl in 2015, I wanted to find my own way of telling the story of this nuclear accident which took place 30 years ago. Since I love photographing architecture and interiors, I decided to photograph Pripyat (the closest city to the Chernobyl nuclear plant) just like I would any client assignment, paying close attention to lines and architectural and interior details which I felt provided a sharp contrast with the starkness of all these abandoned places”.

Yasser Elsheshtawy is Associate Professor of Architecture at United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, where in addition to teaching he also runs the Urban Research Lab. He was the curator for the UAE Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. His scholarship focuses on urbanization in developing societies, informal urbanism, urban history and environment-behavior studies, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern cities. He authored a series of books and publications including “Dubai: Behind an urban spectacle.” His blog dubaization has been hailed by The Guardian as one of the best city blogs in the world. He is going to present his long term research project about Baniyas square.