Jackie Nickerson

GULF, an exhibition of previously unseen, large-scale photographs by renowned photographer Jackie Nickerson.

Jackie Nickerson’s work is driven by a passionate interest in people and their indigenous environments. Each photographic project involves a long-term commitment of three to four years. The first photographs from this exceptional series were made in 2001 in the Sultanate of Oman, which lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, an area commonly referred to as the Gulf. The project was put on hold when the artist moved to Ireland and started working on ‘Faith’ and her latest body of work, ‘Ten Miles Round’, recently exhibited in the Gallery of Photography in Dublin. This exhibition marks a welcome return to this body of work, which will continue to evolve in Kazakhstan later in 2010.

Economic prosperity and technological advancement are transforming all forms of cultural activity in the Middle East evidenced in the interplay between landscape, architecture, commerce and technology. The juxtaposition of the old and the new generates new social landscapes for communities to navigate. How the global has changed the local is of huge concern to Nickerson and many of these photographs demonstrate the case in point. A highway is built in the middle of a bleak desert terrain to enhance global trade and prosperity yet remains unutilized; a young bride, whose hands are traditionally decorated in hennaed designs holds imported lilies, subtly illustrating the practice of appropriating values from other parts of the world.

Nickerson’s images of found objects of the everyday address fundamental concerns of how we choose to live, and how we want to develop our culture. They become metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence.

Her photographs are a way of making visible what is otherwise unseen. We think we know who we are, we think we know the world we inhabit, but she is fairly sure that we don’t, and she sets out to try and show us what we might look like if we could, for a moment, see ourselves, and the world we actually live in. Aidan Dunne - From the catalogue Ten Miles Round, 2009

There is a depth of feeling underpinning Nickerson’s practice and a truth underlies every one of these unforgettable photographs. From ornate water towers to Bedouin encampments juxtaposed beside palatial desert homes, a story is told, a portrait of a place is revealed.

Jackie Nickerson is a fine art photographer with an international reputation for photographing people and their environments. In 2008 she was the winner of The AIB Prize and has been short listed for the John Kobel award and nominated for several prestigious prizes such as the Becks Futures Award. Her work is represented in many important public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and Pier 24, San Francisco. In September 2002, Jonathan Cape published ‘FARM’, a book of portraits of farm workers taken all over southern Africa and in 2008 SteidlMACK published ‘Faith’ which captures Catholic religious communities in Ireland. She is represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York and Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Contemporanea in Italy. She currently lives and works in New York and Ireland.

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