We are pleased to announce our 2022 community exhibition ‘Loqmat 3ysh/Slice of Life’ in partnership with National Geographic Al Arabiya Magazine, published by Abu Dhabi Media the UAE’s leading public service broadcaster and media company. The exhibition opens on Wednesday, September 7 at 7:30pm at Gulf Photo Plus in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, and will run until 7pm on Friday, November 11, featuring more than 50 photographs selected from over 2000 submissions that showcase the rich heritage and diversity of food culture across the region.
Across the Arab world, there are few turns of phrase as common as those linking livelihood and food, specifically ‘rice’ and ‘bread’. In colloquial English, ‘Loqmat 3ysh’ can be likened to speaking about one’s ‘living’, or means. While the use of the phrase in reference to livelihood is commonplace, the specific foods referred to by ‘3ysh’ differ across the region. In Egypt, it refers to bread; in Algeria, it can mean couscous; while in the Gulf, ‘3ysh’ is rice. Broadly, the term refers to staple commodities that people depend on for daily sustenance, and therefore also refers to dates, milk, and wheat.
This turn of phrase betrays the fact that life is intertwined with food, and so every story is one of food; growing, waning, harvesting, decorating, congregating, celebrating, satiating. Were one to trace a singular item of food from germination to consumption, an infinite sequence of disparate stories would emerge.
This selection from all over the Middle-East and North Africa invites the audience to pause and reflect on these stories. From farms in mountainous Sinai, to high-tech hydroponic warehouses defying the elements of Dubai’s desert environment, to dining tables in Morocco, car-bonnets in Saudi, cafeteria benches in Qatar, even heaped on sheets of plastic in living rooms: the spaces where we eat are at the center of our lives.
Every year, GPP hosts an open call inviting the community to participate in an exhibition, showcasing not only different perspectives, but also myriad mediums of visual storytelling; whether it's video, mapping, or through accompanying written pieces. In this edition – we gain visual insights into food culture from all over the region, be they from emerging, hobbyist, or established photographers.
Alongside the opening of this exhibition, there will be an upcoming announcement of several exciting programs and events including a photo walk through old Dubai, a Food Photography Workshop with expert food photographer Andrea Salerno Jacome, as well as an open critique night, where participants will have the opportunity to have their photographs evaluated by a panel of experts.