Ajyal: Generations: Maitha Bin Demithan

  March 14 - May 4

Opening Reception: March 14

Maitha Bin Demithan’s “Ajyal: Generations” is a gallery that explores the traditions of the United Arab Emirates, focusing on some of the rituals and symbolism that have historically made her culture distinct but are now disappearing from the Emirati life due to westernization and industrialization.

“Ajyal: Generations” is part of the 2014 FotoFest Biennial, an exhibition that opens on Friday March 14th at the Houston Center for Photography gallery located at 1441 W. Alabama. The exhibition falls in line with FotoFest’s View from the Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art theme, and will feature works from seven artists and photojournalists—living, deceased and currently missing—each whose images tell the story of life within the 22 Arab countries, highlighting events and traditions in Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as generating a dialogue between East and West.

Demithan’s works include nearly life-size photographs, theatrically staged on black backdrops, document garments such as a burqa, thoab and bisht—precious specimens of her heritage—that through digital scans she has manually stitched together creating a fragmented, patchwork appearance.

She uses this visual as a metaphor for the gaps between different generations and the increasingly diverse cultures living in the UAE. “All around me [the UAE] is becoming westernized. Many Emirates now choose to wear Western dress over traditional dress, and I find myself wanting to preserve some of the traditional textiles and embroidery work”