My National

My National

A portrait of the past: Ammar Al Attar

  |  July 1, 2013

Ammar Al Attar with part of his Campus Art Dubai project at JamJar gallery in Al Quoz in Dubai
Ammar Al Attar with part of his Campus Art Dubai project at JamJar gallery in Al Quoz in Dubai

A photographer by practice, Ammar Al Attar spends most of his time documenting his community through projects known as visual diaries.

A recent graduate of Campus Art Dubai (CAD), a six month programme that offered a kind of alternative Saturday school for a small group of artists and curators, Al Attar learned new skills and reconsidered his practice.

During the CAD course, he found a collection of studio portraits belonging to his father with personal messages from friends on the reverse. “I collected them and scanned them and then reinterpreted them in my own way,” he explains. “What was interesting to me was the a personal history of my father and his friend.”

He describes the course as helping him concentrate on how to write about his work and to develop the ideas. “When they critique your work they give you ideas that you were not really aware of and that helped me a lot,” he says. “I didn’t study art so this gives me an opportunity to develop and allow my work to take on new meaning.”