• Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
  • Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019. Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. © Farah Al Qasimi
  • Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019. Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. © Farah Al Qasimi
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
  • Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019. Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. © Farah Al Qasimi
  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019) Photo: Charles Mayer
Bakalar Gallery

List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi

ShowingJuly 30, 2019 - October 20, 2019

Bakalar Gallery

In her richly textured photographs, Farah Al Qasimi considers how images inscribe identity along the lines of gender, nationality, and class. Borrowing conventions from sources as diverse as documentary photography and Renaissance painting, Al Qasimi manipulates and subverts codified expectations of how images are constructed and understood. Along with her fluency in both Euro-American and Middle Eastern visual cultures, the editorial quality of Al Qasimi’s images facilitates a range of subtle interventions. The photographs frequently confront ideas of national identity as they relate to consumerism and taste, while simultaneously offering covert critiques of the gender divide in the Gulf States and its colonial and religious origins.

Camouflage and concealment play a central role in Al Qasimi’s work and operate through multiple stylistic, iconographic, and conceptual registers. In a recent series of portraits, Al Qasimi obscures the faces of her subjects while capturing moments that feel intimate despite their staging. Various compositional strategies hide identifying features—behind plumes of smoke, a well-placed hand, or sumptuously patterned textiles and drapery—while accentuating the opulent interiors her subjects inhabit. As she embeds her work with double meanings, Al Qasimi’s still and moving images are as seductive and visually lush as they are incisive in their criticality.

Farah Al Qasimi (b.1991, United Arab Emirates; lives and works in New York and Dubai) works in photography, video, and performance. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco; the CCS Bard Galleries at the Hessel Museum of Art, New York; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. Al Qasimi received her MFA from the Yale School of Art. She has participated in residencies at the Delfina Foundation, London; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine; and is a recipient of the New York NADA Artadia Prize and the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship.

List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi is organized by Henriette Huldisch, Director of Exhibitions & Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.

Download the Press Release

Download the Education Brochure

Exhibitions at the List Center are made possible with the support of Fotene Demoulas & Tom Coté, Audrey & James Foster, Idee German-Schoenheimer, Joyce Linde, Cynthia & John Reed, and Terry & Rick Stone. In-kind media sponsorship provided by 90.9 WBUR. Additional funding for List Projects is also provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

General operating support is provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost at MIT; the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; the Mass Cultural Council; and many generous individual donors. The Advisory Committee Members of the List Visual Arts Center are gratefully acknowledged.  

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019
    HD video, color, sound, 30:00 min.
    Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. © Farah Al Qasimi

    Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019
    HD video, color, sound, 30:00 min.
    Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. © Farah Al Qasimi

    Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Um Al Naar (Mother of Fire) (still), 2019
    HD video, color, sound, 30:00 min.
    Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai. © Farah Al Qasimi

    Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

  • Exhibition installation view of List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (July 30– October 20, 2019)
    Photo: Charles Mayer

Press Coverage

  1. Farah Al Qasimi, Dyed Pastel Birds (30 AED each), 2019  Archival Inkjet print 26 x 40 in. Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and the Third Line, Dubai

    Rising UAE Artist Analyzes Social Mores in Her First U.S. Institutional Show | RELAX Lifestyle | Celina Colby

  2. Farah Al Qasimi, Abraj Mall, 2018

    Unseen Boundries | Tank Magazine

  3. Snapshot: ‘Farah Al Qasimi’ | Financial Times | Jessica Heron-Langton

  4. Farah Al Qasimi, Dyed Pastel Birds (30 AED each), 2019  Archival Inkjet print 26 x 40 in. Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and the Third Line, Dubai

    Vivid And Lush, Farah Al Qasimi’s Photographs Draw On The Imagination At MIT List | WBUR The ARTery | Pamela Reynolds

  5. Farah Al Qasimi, Aviary, 2019. Archival Inkjet print. 45 x 60 in. Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and the Third Line, Dubai.

    Emirati Artist Farah Al Qasimi to Open First Solo Show in America | Vogue Arabia | Caterina Minthe

  6. Farah Al Qasimi, M Napping on Carpet, 2016

    Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi’s first solo US show set to open | Arab News

  7. Living Room Vape, 2017 Archival inkjet print 35 x 26 in. (89 x 66 cm.) Courtesy the artist; Helena Anrather, New York; and The Third Line, Dubai.© Farah Al Qasimi

    Farah Al Qasimi Crosses ‘Unseen Boundaries’ With Photography | The New York Times | Ted Loos