x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Dubai artist Adham Faramawy spearheads elite UK student show

The young Dubai-born artist is among 17 students chosen from about 1,000 applications for postgraduate places at the Royal Academy Schools in London.

Adham Faramawy's Between Two Suns (2012), digital video.
Adham Faramawy's Between Two Suns (2012), digital video.

You get a little shock of the old upon glimpsing the lecture theatre at the heart of the Royal Academy Schools in London’s Piccadilly, where the young Dubai-born artist Adham Faramawy spends much of his week.

Drawings by venerable artists adorn the walls and a life-size model of a horse so old and fragile it cannot be moved dominates the room.

It is hard to imagine how Faramawy fits in here. He is an artist who fizzes with imaginative ways of using new media – a creator at the cutting edge whose provocative collaborations have been part of London’s avant-garde scene for some time.

But he is also among an elite of 17 postgraduate students selected from about 1,000 who applied to study here.

The young Arab artist, who grew up in Dubai, Sharjah and London with his Egyptian parents, is now poster boy for a show of work by these students. A still from his digital piece Between Two Suns is being used to publicise this show, Premiums Interim Projects.

Faramawy, who works in digital media, photography and performance, says: “When I was at school I did painting and drawing and I wouldn’t rule that out again at some point. But by the time I was doing my A-levels, I was already experimenting with video and with performance.”

His background seems to have destined him for the creative life. His mother is a magazine writer based in Dubai’s Media City and his father is a political cartoonist in Cairo. Faramawy did all of his art studies in the UK – at Norwich in East Anglia and then the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London.

In April, his work will again feature in the Academy Schools in a show organised by the Red Mansion Foundation, which promotes artistic exchange between Britain and China. It will draw upon a month he spent in a suburb of ­Beijing.

“It was fascinating discovering how people navigate the realities of living in this city and issues such as the internet and people’s relationship with authority,” he said.

Faramawy declines to disclose his age or explain his art.

“I don’t mean to be evasive, but really if I could explain what it is about I wouldn’t need to make it,” he says.


Premiums Interim Projects runs at the Royal Academy Schools in London from Friday to March 15