The Ara Gallery certainly knows how to bridge the gap between art, glamor and alluring natural beauty. The opening reception for “Light From Life” exhibition was held in the tasteful interiors of the gallery at Burj Plaza in downtown Dubai. With the towering prominence of Burj Khalifa, The Ara Gallery opened its doors to welcome the local community and other guests on a chilly evening in Dubai.
The exhibition takes its name from the basic fundamental law of nature, which states that light is the main source to create and view an image. The exhibition centers on the work of five nature photographers from the Gulf who undertook a photographic exhibition to New Zealand in the summer of 2011. Far from home, the Saudi and Emirati artists explored the unique landscapes of New Zealand, endured harsh (often below freezing) weather and hiked 215 kilometers during their 27-day expedition that saw them take some 15,000 photographs. Upon their return to the Gulf, they collaborated to produce the exclusive exhibition for audiences in the Middle East.
The exhibition was attended by Malcolm Millar, ambassador of New Zealand to the UAE, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Nuami and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani and featured: Abdullaziz Bin Ali, Abdulla Bin Touq and Mohamed Al Jaberi from the United Arab Emirates and Jamal Al Badia and Ali Al Otaibi from Saudi Arabia.
"Even I haven’t seen the places they have been to and I am amazed with what they have come up with," quipped Ambassador Millar.
Among the visitors were many Saudis who were present to show their support. Sarah, a visitor from Riyadh who was accompanied by her sister, told Arab News she wished the artists' work would be recognized in Saudi Arabia as much as it had been in the UAE.
“I want to open my own art gallery and feature the talents of Saudi Arabia. I am here to gain inspiration,” said Sarah.
Al Jaberi said the experience had a positive impact on him, as he learned a lot about the importance of carefully selecting a subject while Al Otaibi said it was a unique experience full of adventures and challenges.
“The trip added a lot of value to my experience in nature photography and revealed the extreme challenges that a photographer can encounter,” said Al Otaibi.
Having traveled extensively through New Zealand to their final destination of Mount Cook, the photographers gained various nature photography skills — a main objective of this journey — through photographing a wide variety of landscapes: coasts, forests, waterfalls, mountain lakes, and finally, the harsh mountainous peaks themselves. The photographers learned to work together during photo shoots and learned to read topographic maps, which aided in the organization of the expedition.
Intending to give the visitors a better perceptive of their New Zealand travels, the team set up their expedition and camping gear in the gallery. They also had a brief documentary of the journey on show for guests to witness the photographers’ challenging adventure.
The owner of The Ara Gallery, Moza Mohamed Al Abbar, was on hand during the opening reception. She took the opportunity to encourage more artists to reach out to the gallery. “I wanted to open up a place where I could showcase talent and Ara is open to everyone not just big names but anyone with talent knows they can reach out to us,” she said.
“Light From Life” runs until March 3.