These 4 stills from the video 'Shadow Sites II' build on the success of the Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography at the V&A and the British Museum, which was acquired in 2009 and 2010.

The Art Fund has given the two museums grants over £150,000 for the collection and additional support for the tour of the collection. Jananne Al-Ani works in photography, film and video, producing bodies of work that explore conflict, loss and displacement. Shadow Sites II is composed of a series of aerial views intended in part to demonstrate that the desert, which is often presumed to be unoccupied, is in fact inhabited. The video title draws upon a phenomenon familiar to archaeologists: when the sun is at its lowest, shadows render visible the remains of settlements that would otherwise be undetectable. Although it is Al-AniÂ’s aim to counter the mythology of the desertÂ’s emptiness—which appears in sources ranging from nineteenth-century Orientalist writing to footage broadcast during the first Gulf War, showing bombs dropping on apparently uninhabited spaces—the images are presented without explanation, and the scale of the landscapes depicted is difficult to interpret. The 4 stills come from the series of still images presented as a video, and the work suggests the limitations of still photography.


The artist.

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