From a Palestinian-Kuwaiti family, Tarek Al-Ghoussein was born in 1962 and raised in Kuwait. He is a prominent photographer known for his works that combine elements of landscape and portrait photography. This exhibition features twelve photographic prints from the artist’s K Files series, as well as a sampling of new works from his Al Sawaber series, both focused on his experience in his native Kuwait.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Transfigurations: Tarek Al-Ghoussein is the first major monograph of Al Ghoussein’s work. Tarek Al Ghoussein’s position as a Palestinian Kuwaiti shapes the dominant themes of identity, displacement, and structural and political control prominent in much of his work. Al Ghoussein received his Bachelor’s degree in photography from New York University and his Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico. He has taught at the American University of Sharjah and is currently a professor at New York University in Abu Dhabi.
His work, photographs often featuring the figure of the artist silhouetted against barren urban and desert landscapes of the region, serves as a partial allegory for the obstacles and forms of control facing Palestinians both within and exiled from the Palestinian territories, as well as troubling Western representations of Arabs as terrorists. Other series use the desert as a stage for investigating the artist’s relationship to land and place, in the midst of the rapid urban transformation witnessed in the UAE, where the artist lives. In the words of Sabine Vogel, his work goes beyond the specific, and “transforms direct political references into the existentially universal.”