Join us on May 15 from 6.30 pm onward at the GPP gallery space as we speak with Ammar Al Attar and Nicoló Degiorgis, whose series “Prayer Rooms” and “Hidden Islam” (respectively) are part of our “Observing the Ritual” exhibition running at GPP from May 16 to August 27, 2016
Nicoló Degiorgis (b. 1985) is a photographer based in Bolzano-Bozen, Italy. His artistic practice focuses on the production of photobooks, published through his own imprint Rorhof which he co-founded with producer Eleonora Matteazzi. Based out of an old farm built in 1468 in Bolzano-Bozen in northern Italy, the studio works locally while distributing globally. Their unique workflow is designed not only to bring a book to production, but also to find new ways to incorporate photobooks into exhibition spaces. His primary motivation is to observe how marginalised and minority communities carve out a sustainable environment for themselves.
Nicolo’s first photobook, Hidden Islam, was published in 2012 and hailed as an immediate success. In 2014, it won the Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation Photo Book Award and was named “Book of the Year” at the prestigious Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in France. The book is already in its third edition and is well on its way to becoming not only a commercial success, but a bibliographical rarity.
Stemming from a sociological, anthropological and philosophical perspective, his most recent projects investigate the idea of Heimat, a German term with no equivalent in other languages, which denotes the relationship of a human being toward a certain spatial social unit, often expressed as homeland.
Ammar Al Attar (b. 1981) lives in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates. Completely self-taught, Al Attar’s practice seeks to not only document and translate but also methodically research and examine aspects of Emirati ritual, material culture, and geographic orientation that are increasingly illusive in his rapidly globalizing society. Al Attar’s Prayer Rooms, brought viewers into Muslim sacred spaces from impermanent ‘porta-mosques’ on roadsides, and simple neighborhood mosques, to sleek shopping mall and office complex prayer rooms in the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
Al Attar often incorporates retro photographic equipment into his shoots. He hoards everything from slide projectors to large format cameras, dog-eared postcards and orphaned negatives and meticulously catalogues these clues to the past on the shelves of his Sharjah studio. His ongoing research project, Reverse Moments a collaboration with various long time studio photographers, collects stories and artifacts that compose the history of photography in the UAE, and curates these flashes into a critical emerging narrative.