Artist Focus: Estabrak Al-Ansari - Winner of the 2016 DWMA Curators' Choice Prize

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Image: Mufuddel (meaning Privileged in Arabic) © Estabrak Al-Ansari

Estabrak Al-Ansari was the winner of the 2016 Danny Wilson Memorial Award Curators' Choice Prize for her body of work Omanis Under Water which was exhibited at SEAS - Socially Engaged Art Salon as part of the 2016 Brighton Photo Fringe Festival. 

Omanis Under Water is a photographic series looking at the silenced, socio-political discourses of Omani society through water. By taking photographs of her subjects through the medium of water Al-Ansari seeks to bring into focus the traditions and characteristics of a society which often go unnoticed. She sees the photographs as ways of instigating much needed dialogue about issues silenced on land. The anonymity of Al-Ansari's subjects is key to encouraging a dialogue which is not centred on a particular identity or person but speaks more broadly to collective experience, the water acts as a lens which disrupts habitual viewpoints and expectations.

“Socially, the ocean is an escape from the physical restraints on our bodies which act a certain way on land, to ‘behave’, to comply with conformities. The trauma of the Omani landscape resounds loudly in contemporary society, where the water is silent.' An online review via Natalie McGuire via FreshMilk Barbados.


Image: Osama (Meaning Lion in Arabic) © Estabrak Al-Ansari

Omanis Under Water was selected to be part of the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London 2016, received 2nd prize in Art Jameel's Photographic Award 2015, and is part of a major public collection in Dubai. Omanis Under Water is part 01 of a photographic series looking at varying societies discourses through the connecting lens of water.


Image: Sayed (meaning master in Arabic) © Estabrak Al-Ansari


Image: Aisha (meaning 'one who is alive' in Arabic) © Estabrak Al-Ansari


Estabrak Al-Ansari is a Visual Artist & Film Maker based between London, UK and Muscat, Oman. She is originally from Iraq, born in Iran and raised in London, after having come to the UK with her family as a child refugee. Al-Ansari describes her work as being often led by emotions, with a particular interest in giving voice to silenced sociopolitical realities through progressive, multidisciplinary ways of storytelling.

She has exhibited as part of group shows in New York, Dubai and Berlin, at The 6th Marrakesh Biennale 2016, in The Royal Academy of Arts Summer exhibition, 2016 and in Imagine Art After at Tate Britain, London, 2008 and has also had her work presented to the UN. Al-Ansari has been commissioned and supported by numerous organisations including The Helen Tetlow Memorial Fund, Red Bull Oman and The Alserkal Cultural Foundation. In 2015 she had her first solo exhibition Consciousness, at Gallery Sarah in Muscat, Oman.

Recently she was supported by 'Mawa3eed Travel Grant' to perform her performance work LPP (Live.Projection.Painting) which uses multidisciplinary techniques to paint films, live in Morocco. Her work LPP (Live.Projection.Painting) was devised in collaboration with an all female London collaborative Thre3 Strokes. Since 2014 Al-Ansari has been developing & working on a solo collection of LPPs internationally performing in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. She recently was recipient of AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) Performing Arts Grant 2016 for the LPP series.

©Estabrak Al-Ansari

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