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Searching for Medina, Moath Alofi

Born in Medina, Moath Alofi is an artist, researcher and explorer whose innate curiosity defines his evocative, self-expressive work.

We talk to the trailblazing photpgrapher about how his heritage influences his creativity and the power of storytelling through photography.

What was your journey into your creative career and why photography?

It actually started at very early ages, I remember always being fascinated by the camera and then I left it behind for a while, after coming to Madina I picked the camera again and started to use it because photography is the easiest way in a sense, to capture the reflection of my thoughts when I see something that moves my intellectuality and my ideas

From your perspective, how strong is the storytelling power of photography?

Photography is a strong medium to deliver your messages, you don’t really sometimes have to say much, one photo can defiantly deliver a very clear message and you have to be careful with it because you have to take the full picture.

Your love for Medinah is integral to your work. How did you start your documentation project in the city of Medina?

Madina is my hometown. Leaving it and coming back to it and leaving it again maybe bold me to kind freeze something in my memory or to stop time sometimes to keep some of these nostalgic scenes in my head for myself and even others.

Through your work you capture the harsh contrast between such beautiful historic sites, barren deserts and abandoned spaces that are marked for demolition. What message do you hope to convey to the viewer?

There’s importance in all elements, there are stories and beauty in different corners so, maybe I’m just trying to tell the audience to find a right or different perspective and the right bridges to cross into a new horizon.

Your photos are being displayed in exhibitions, both in Saudi and internationally, as artworks that demonstrate the cultural heritage in Medina, in particular, and in Saudi Arabia, in general. What has the reaction from audiences been?

The audience usually responds with the wow factor about what’s this place why we have not seen it before, where’s that. So mostly not a shock but more like a surprise.

Where do you find inspiration for your work and which artists do you admire most and why?

Almost everywhere especially when I explore the region of Saudi Arabia and its desert. Olafur Eliasson because he works very closely with nature.

What is your creative process?

I explore and turn my findings into different mediums of arts

You are the founder of Al-Mthba, what is the concept behind it?

Al-Mthba is a multidisciplinary studio focusing on research, tours, art, and education. Founded in 2013 it aims to incubate and expedite efforts made in the areas of culture, heritage, and art as a means of illumination and preservation.

Currently, Al-Mthba offers services in artistic mentorship, gallery management and curation consultation, as well as research consultation in matters of culture, heritage, and preservation in all matters related to the holy city of Medina, Saudi Arabia, and the greater Medina region.

Al-Mthba also facilitates exclusive, in-depth tour guides of the region of Medina, by special request only, for researchers, artists, and other notable endeavors seeking to base their work on the Medina Region. Al-Mthba also extends its staff and services for filmmakers, narrative or documentary, seeking a fixer within the Medina Region.

For those looking to develop a career in photography, what advice would you give?

Keep on practicing and working with different techniques.


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