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The Qatar Series
2008 –2010

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About the series

text by
Pauline Benthede,
curator Fotografiska

The Qatar series, depicts the country whose capital Doha has been transformed in recent decades from a desert into one of the most rapidly growing economic centres of the Persian Gulf. Only some 15 % of the country’s population are Qatari nationals; the rest are temporary guest workers and immigrants from neighbouring countries whose presence is confirmed by the city’s almost science fiction-like skyline. Before becoming rich from its oil assets, the economy of Qatar had for thousands of years been based on pearl diving; an activity recorded to have taken place in the neighbouring island state of Bahrain in Assyrian texts 2,000 years BC. Often hazardous work, many free divers met a dismal fate in search of the jewels of the sea.

The women in Women, Boats, Left appear to find themselves in a type of hybrid of a modern urban environment and a place below the surface of the sea. Wires reach up from their clothes towards boats similar to those used by pearl divers. Standing on the seabed the women are reminiscent of the anchors that moored the boats on the sea bottom preventing them being swept out to sea by the waves. At their feet extends a pipeline, the landmark of the new economy. In a country subject to such rapid change that each generation is born into an era utterly differentfrom the previous one, it is memories and stories that anchor them to their own history.

Venues below: Lokstallet Strömstad, 2015 / Christian Larsen gallery, Stockholm, 2011 / Dunkers Kulturhus, 2015

Selected works