A reception, open to the public, will be hosted on 7 September, 2010 at 8:00 PM at the Gallery in VCUQatar.
In a series of portraits Mr. Al-Obaidly has bar-coded individuals, all of whom are migrant workers. By using a barcode symbol representing an impersonal number used for identifying and cataloging materials, on the face of a person, Mr. Al-Obaidly wants to draw attention to a part of world society that is largely unseen, the migrant worker, although omnipresent in all countries, and responsible for producing the goods and services we are all used to in our everyday lives. Each of the individuals portrayed could tell us a story of his/her life, points of view and emotions, yet we do not know their names. He has also included self portraits which are also bar-coded.
The issue of migration in the 20th and 21st century is tackled through these portraits. “People who used to live with their families surrounded by love and with dignity found themselves packed overnight into camps with minimum space, care and sympathy. They left behind family and friends. Now they are in a new and foreign environment, facing the harsh facts of globalization,” says Mr. Al-Obaidly elucidating on the premise of the theme. “These faces tell many stories; they talk about family, children, friends and the lives they have left behind. However, nobody knows their names, where they are from or how old they are. These faces are a reflection of the anonymous world around us in which nobody cares about one another and in which they are just a number. Yet, they are all part of the society surrounding us and they too have the right to think about what they love and feel and to express their individuality.”
This is what Mr. Al-Obaidly wants to highlight through his work. “We all are tagged in some way, a simple number,” he says.“ Just think about it and ask yourself two simple questions: Can I say what I want? Can I move to anywhere at any time? Then you will find if you are tagged or not.”
Khalifa Al-Obaidly is one of the foremost fine art photographers in Qatar. His work centers on observing and questioning his environment. Mr. Al-Obaidly is an active member of the Qatar Photographic Society. He has exhibited internationally in both solo and group shows. One of the most important international exhibitions in which the work of Mr. Al-Obaidly was featured was “Languages of the Desert” at the Institute de Monda Arabe in Paris. Mr. Al-Obaidly currently works in the cultural sector in Doha, Qatar. Qatar Now, presented by the VCUQatar Gallery, is an engaging exhibition series focusing on contemporary Qatari art and artists.
The exhibition is scheduled from 7 September to 9 October 2010 at The Gallery in Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and is open Sundays to Thursdays, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, or by prior appointment. A reception will be held at the gallery on 7 September 2010 at 8:00 PM. The reception is open to the public. For further information, please call VCUQatar on +974 44020555 or email Dr. Jochen Sokoly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A self-portrait by Qatari photographer, Khalifa Al-Obaidly, at the Tagged exhibition