Tender and uncanny moments captured by Emirati-American artist Al Qasimi offer a complex approach to portraiture, in which visibility does not guarantee access to the subject. Her images hint at deeper social complexities behind the scenes, layered with power and vulnerability.

All works courtesy of the artist and Helena Anrather Gallery.


Phone Call

Archival inkjet print
26 x 20 1/4 in. (image), 26 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (frame)
Ed. of 5

It's Not Easy Being Seen 2

Archival inkjet print
47 1/4 x 33 1/2 in. (image), 48 1/4 x 34 1/2 in. (frame)
Ed. of 5

Falcon Hospital 3 (Hooded Peregrine)

Archival inkjet print
30 x 40 in. (image), 31 x 41 in. (frame)
Ed. of 5


From the artist:

"I’m interested in the feedback loop of public opinion and foreign policy, and in how representation is crucial to how Americans perceive Arabs. . . . Where I grew up, it was common to see a lot of physical closeness between men. It’s a delicate thing that is generally misunderstood outside of the Arab world. It was important to me that that softness was present in my portraits and that, as a woman, I was controlling the way that these people were being seen. Each image is composed differently; each is embedded with its own logic of confrontation or avoidance. I’m committed to acknowledging the power imbalance inherent in portraiture, and in telling others what to look at, however vague or oblique it might be." 

- As told to Julia Halpert, ARTFORUM December 2017




2017 MFA, Yale School of Art

2017 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

2012 BA, Yale University

Solo Exhibitions

2017 More Good News, Helena Anrather, New York

2016 Coming Up Roses, The Third Line, Dubai

2014 The World Is Sinking, The Third Line, Dubai

2013 Hung From The Moon, The Pavilion, Dubai

Group Exhibitions

2018 Ishara: Signs, Symbols, and Shared Languages, Concrete Space, Dubai

2018 From Barcelona to Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

2017 Discursive Selves, Westbeth Gallery, New York

2017 Doublespeak, Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles

2017 No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effects, curated by Fawz Kabra, Bard CCS, Annandale-on-Hudson

2017 Yale MFA Photography Thesis Show, Danziger Gallery, New York

2017 Yale MFA Photography Thesis Show, Green Gallery, New Haven

2017 Disinter, Skylab Gallery, Columbus

2017 A Scream Runs Through The House, Helena Anrather Gallery, New York

2016 Esoteric Rodeo, Yale School of Art Green Gallery, New Haven

2016 Somewhere Not Here, Crosstown Arts, Memphis

2016 Walls and Margins, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah

2015 The Gates Are Open: First Year MFAs, Yale School of Art Green Gallery, New Haven

2015 Black Mirror, Aperture Foundation, New York

2015 First Biennial of Contemporary Arab Photography, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

2015 Emirati Expressions: Conventions of Arts, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

2015 Emirati Insights, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, Abu Dhabi

2015 Accented, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah

2014 Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates, Meridian Art Center, Washington DC

2013 When You Wake Up, House 33 at Sikka Art Fair, Dubai

2012 The Present, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah

2012 Senior Thesis Exhibition, Yale School of Art Green Gallery, New Haven

Selected Press

2017 500 Words, Artforum

2017 What To See In New York Art Galleries This Week, The New York Times

2017 Farah Al Qasimi at Helena Anrather, The New Yorker

2017 Who runs the (art) world in the Gulf? Girls!, DAZED

2016 Portfolio, Aperture Magazine: On Feminism

2016 Farah Al Qasimi, Fotomagazin Edition 6

2016 What does it mean to be beautiful in Dubai?, The New Republic

2016 Seeking Myself in the Beauty Parlors of the UAE, Broadly

2015 Breaking new ground in the Persian Gulf, DAZED