ABCD – A Dream of Four Cities
Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus
By Charlotta Sparre
13 to 31 March 2012
In this exhibition, Charlotta Sparre shares her love of four cities through her photographs. Building on the concept of a dream, a meeting of different realities, with pictures being combined, the results are both familiar and confusing, Charlotta captures the essence of each city in a unique exhibition at Jacaranda Images.
Under the Patronage of HRH Princess Majda Raad, 5% of sales from the exhibition will support the Al Hussein Society for the Habilitation and Rehabilitation of the Physically Challenged.The exhibition runs under the umbrella of the 'Image Festival # 2’.
Fascinated by an accidental double exposure photograph that her mother created when she was a child, Charlotta Sparre now applies the technique deliberately to her favourite Middle Eastern cities – Amman, Beirut, Cairo and Damascus.
"The double exposures my mother created were images that were both familiar and yet different, they were images where reality met the dream. I have tried to grasp these sentiments and this sense of dream in my pictures of four Middle Eastern cities, as they for me also represent the meeting of dream and reality."
Some of Charlotta's closest childhood friends were brought up in the Middle East. Their house was filled with carpets, books and artifacts from the Middle East. The father in the family, who was very dear to her, was travelling all over the region and during holidays in the Swedish countryside, he used to tell fantastic stories of far-away beautiful places, of interesting encounters and of fascinating people and cultures. Long before she came to the Middle East, cities like Amman, Beirut, Cairo and Damascus became part of her, a part of her education, her own ABCD. As a result, her childhood dream was to visit these exotic places in the Middle East. Later, studies and work brought her to the cities she had dreamt of and some of the cities became home. "My dream became reality."
While admitting she is a passionate amateur, the photographer is drawn to the aesthetically beautiful or the stillness of simply 'being' that sometimes exists amidst the vibrant life and chaos of the four cities, where daily realities often possess hidden narratives.Taking the complete set of work, the exhibition is a visual testimony to a region that has always been known to its nostalgic attachment with the past yet evolving to adapt to the present times. The images hold some parts of the past layered by humans living a modern life; reflecting on four societies holding on to their cultural diversities and similarities despite the continuous change in their economic, and political environments. In her own words:"In each photo I have tried to capture some of the soul of the city, each of the four cities being different from the others - and yet in some ways familiar.
Each of the four cities has its own character, its own soul and spirit. And with each of the cities have I developed a special relationship….Amman, currently my host and home, is a good old friend. It is reliable, predictable, secure, nice and friendly. On weekends I love walking around the city, watching the busy colourful street life in downtown, enjoying the smell of falafel and the sound of muezzin calling for prayer and the street vendors calling out to sell their goods, while surrounded by the city’s historical layers.
Beirut is a playful acquaintance. It is colourful, fun and full of surprises and contradictions. This is a mountainous city, caressed by sea and lit up by the yellow of the sun. This is where, next to a busy commercial street, one can find a quiet alley, where a bike meets a flower or a man takes a few minutes to rest a while on a car.
Cairo, is my passionate love story. In spite of its chaos, pollution and overpopulation, Umm ad-Dunya makes my heart beat like no other place. This is where people with warm, welcoming faces and colourful clothes, contrast the beige and grey of the city. This is where the Nile meets the traffic and the mosques and churches meet the houseboats, in a constant, never sleeping stream of life.
Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, is like a sister, well-known and at the same time mysterious, like someone you think you know and yet you know is full of secrets. This is where history, culture and religions are entangled like the beautiful patterns in a carpet or a decorated arch, and where a lemon tree, a blue door or a red wall stand in contrast to the black, grey and white stones."
Born in Sweden, Charlotta Sparre's professional life has for the last almost 25 years focused on the Middle East and North Africa, including postings in Libya, Egypt and Jordan and extensive travelling all over the region. She currently lives in Amman where she serves as the Ambassador of Sweden to the Kingdom of Jordan.
Charlotta has an active and intense interest in political history, humanitarian issues and the contemporary challenges facing the region. Charlotta, armed with both an insatiable fascination with her surroundings and a limitless curiosity, manages to explore the dynamics of life wherever she resides.
MOHAMMED AL SHAMMAREY
- 'WASAT AL BALAD / DOWNTOWN'
AMMAR KHAMMASH - 'FOSSILS OF TIME & LIGHT'
KARIN MAYER & AHMED AL KHALIDI
- 'URBAN EXCHANGE'
MAHASNEH - 'EXPOSURES'
SAEED - 'MEMORIES OF LOVE &
SALEH ABU SHINDI
- 'VOCABULARY OF LINES AND COLOUR'
SAUDI - 'SONG FOR THE
MAHASNEH - 'SCULPTING
TARIQ DAJANI -
'ABOVE WADI RUM'
HAKIM JAMAIN -
DAYS IN LUXOR'
ABORIGINAL ART - ANCIENT ABSTRACTIONS
3 DIMENSIONS, 3 JORDANIAN
SHEREEN AUDI - 'EXPRESSIONS OF A FREE
FLOODED LONDON – FIVE IMAGES OF
Australian Indigenous Prints and Paintings
ASIL Photographs of Arabian Horses by
Tariq Dajani at Zara Centre Gallery
Didgeridoo … da..da