Mai Al Moataz
Proof of Presence II
Combinations of two negatives layered and set under glass on the base of a darkroom enlarger, with exposure times of 99 seconds and its multiples. The negatives were shot using black + white sheet film and large format film camera. The silver gelatin contact prints, produced using warmtone fibre-based light sensitive photographic paper, are fixed twice to prevent discoloration. The final result is a series of superimposed multi-layered veils, through which parts of the images appear only where the light passes through both negatives.
Mai Al Moataz is an artist, dead rose collector, and space designer. For the past decade, she has used black and white film to produce photographs through a meticulous analog darkroom process, a deeply cathartic ritual. Her images are romantically solitary and ethereal, as they present emblems of loneliness, longing, nostalgia and femininity. With hints of isolation and speckles of imagination, she explores the subjects of her portraits as a paradox of the internal versus the external, and where they meet, using time and space to deconstruct the experiential universe.
Her work has been exhibited in a number of shows, including Vantage Point 4 at the Sharjah Art Foundation in (2016), Food is Culture at the Bahrain National Museum (2017), Tadafuq / Flow as a part of 21,39 Jeddah Art Week (2017), Sikka Art Fair (2017), Do You Trust Me? a collaboration between the Goethe Institute and Bahrain’s Bin Mattar House (2017), Femmes: Par Des Artistes Femmes Bahreinies at the Unesco in Paris (2017), the Bahrain Fine Arts Annual Show (2018), Mnwr with Hafez Gallery as a part of 21,39 Jeddah Art Week (2018), and with Hafez Gallery for Galleries Week at Warehouse 421 in Abu Dhabi (2018).
Her series Proof of Presence won first place in the Art Jameel Photography Award (2016).