Haloes and Air Mail were purchased as part of the Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography.

This is an Art Fund initiative for the British Museum and V&A to acquire a collection of 20th century and contemporary photography and digital images by artists from the Middle East (whether living in their countries of origin or outside). The Art Fund has given the two museums grants over £150,000 for the collection and additional support for the tour of the collection. The works from Al SaudÂ’s Out of Line series began as an exploration of censorship in Saudi Arabia and its effects on visual communication. Some superficial examples of this would be skirts lengthened and sleeves crudely added with black markers in magazines or blurred out faces on billboards. The artist applied the language of the censors to her personal photographs. She began making line drawings, omitting faces and skin. Keeping only the essentials preserved the anonymity of the subjects. This allowed her to circumvent, and comment on, some of the cultural taboos associated with photography: namely the stigma attached to bringing the 'personal portrait', commonly reserved for the private domestic space, into a public sphere. When reduced to sketches, the images achieved enough distance from the original photographs that neither subjects nor censors could find them objectionable.


Rose Issa Projects, London.

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