My Father’s House, a flagship photographic project for the British Council, toured the Middle East in 2009-10. The exhibition used architecture as a motif to explore the role and value of cultural heritage in defining cultural identity, aiming to stimulate debate around the role buildings play in shaping a nation’s culture.
A public photographic exhibition formed the centrepiece of the project and included specially-commissioned works by five emerging Middle Eastern artists and three UK photographers who produced large-scale photography, audio-visual presentations and film to look at how the built environment reflects the people, community, society and the nations of the Middle East.
Inspiration for their works comes from the oral-tradition of story-telling, cinema, households, changing landscapes, archaeological and restoration projects and the role of women in shaping their societies.
Between 2009-2010, 25000 people were invloved in the project or saw the exhibition over six venues in the Middle East and during a UK showing at the Brunai Gallery in London.
A range of wrap-around activites accompanied the exhibition including an online photography competition, photographic treasure hunts for families, workshops for emerging and professional photographers, artists’ talks, seminars, a regional conference, an education pack and events for schools and colleges.
The online competition was a fantastic success, the standard and variety of photos submitted truly capturing the rich cultural heritage of the Arabian peninsula. Many thanks too all who took part! The winning entries can be viewed here.
A series of films were also created during the exhibition's showing at the Waqif Art Centre in Quata. Click HERE to view the films which include an exhibition tour by the late photographer Tim Hetherington. On April 20, 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya, Tim Hetherington and fellow photographer Chris Hondros were killed by Libyan forces in a mortar attack on the besieged city of Misrata.