Fatma Ali Abed creates wondrous dreamlike photography, that transports the viewer into new worlds. A visual artist, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 a𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦, d𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯, p𝘩𝘰𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘩𝘺 and fabrics, Arab heritage and identity is integral to her work.
We talked to Fatma about her approach to documenting her local landscape, the possibilities of storytelling through photography and creating new worlds.
What was your journey into your creative career and why photography?
Well, my journey started when I was studying Architecture. As part of my learning journey and practice, we would document every single detail with photography and create a story behind each detail, in result I fell in love with the process which it gradually became my lifestyle.
From your perspective, how strong is the storytelling power of photography?
I believe photography is the strongest element of engagement with the viewer. To me, I must say I forget words when it comes to pictures. Images express many things in many different points of view. In relation to storytelling, photography makes you wonder, a photograph freezes time, it gives the viewer a moment to react, to feel and wonder. Mostly photography gives you the feeling of curiosity. We read stories because we are curious, photography is storytelling and it keeps you curious each time you see a photograph with a different angle.
Your heritage is integral to your work. How did you start your documenting your local landscape?
I didn’t start at a specific time, and I didn’t plan for it to be honest, I just wanted to express how cultural heritage is living and exists with us until now, in our daily life and it’s surrounds us. I felt like the viewer has to know how heritage is involved in our daily lifestyle as well as our culture. While we’re evolving, heritage grows with us.
Through your work you capture the harsh contrast between such beautiful historic sites, barren deserts and by the water. What message do you hope to convey to the viewer?
When you watch movies, and look at the existing nature elements in the pictures and frames, you think “ oh, this is the character’s world, oh how I wish to be in it. When growing up, all I wanted was to watch movies and be in their world. So now in my photos, the nature and architectural elements you see, is my world. And I want to give that world to the viewer. I want the viewer to feel all sense of positivities in this world.
The colours you use are bold and vivid, how did you develop such a distinct style?
To me, this color palette, and what it reflects is the brightest moment of my life.
Traditional dress is a key theme throughout, what message are you trying to communicate through the clothing?
The beauty of our Arab culture, it’s not just black abayas… we live a colorful life.
What has the reaction from audiences been to your work?
At first, I didn’t know I’d be viewed as “bold”. Because to them I was displaying what goes on behind the scenes in life.Gradually the audience are affected positively with my artwork as it adds such a positive impact and perspective on the Arabian society.