akram zaatari - the script
The Script brings together new and existing works by Akram Zaatari, an internationally renowned Lebanese artist whose work is tied to researching and studying the photographic record in the context of modern Arab societies. Zaatari is interested in the active role that photography plays in what he describes as "performed identities". In 1997 he co-founded the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut's leading institution dedicated to the study and preservation of photography in the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora, and for years Zaatari has studied the archives of Studio Shehrazade, a photography studio that operated in his hometown, Saida, Lebanon from 1953.
The Script focuses on Zaatari's interest in people's attitudes while filming or photographing themselves, an exploration that emerged from his research on vernacular and studio photography. Zaatari identifies recurring attitudes, fashions and forms of behaviour in front of the camera and how individuals choose to associate themselves with a social class, technology, modern values, or sometimes dominant ideologies. Zaatari considers those self-representations as performative narratives that start with studio photography and extend to YouTubing.
The Script is a touring exhibition by New Art Exchange in partnership with Turner Contemporary and Modern Art Oxford.
Funded by Arts Council England and supported by Thomas Dane Gallery