Estabrak Al-Ansari was selected as DWMA Curators' Choice Prize for the Danny Wilson Memorial Award in this year's Brighton Photo Fringe.

Like the legs of a bulb intersecting its way through the earth… We find our roots reaching out grasping at the water that holds us. Never caught, only held, we continue growing.

Recent recipient of AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) Performing Arts Grant 2016 for her unique performance based process of storytelling live projection painting in which Estabrak Al-Ansari paints a film to life, live.

Often led by emotions, her particular interest lies in honest approaches to silenced socio- political realities usually explored through progressive, multidisciplinary ways of storytelling.

Her works are generally fuelled by the concepts of existing in places we cannot exist in for long periods of time. It is the first part of a proposed global series of underwater photographic works intended to look at societies, people and its dysfunctions through the element of water.

Omanis Under Water looks at the ignored socio-political discourses of Omani society through a simple but complex matter that connects us all; water. Through this, the series helps shine a light on some of those traditions and faces usually gone unnoticed via the normalisation of societal uniform.

The ocean’s motion takes over as traditional dress starts to explore the body. Outlines start to reveal the parts that dress was always meant to hide.

Silence is dominant in Oman. Freedom of expression and honesty is not allowed, and freedom of identity is restricted.

Speaking about artists in Iran, artist & activist Shirin Neshat said:
We are there to inspire, to provoke, to mobilize, to bring hope to our people. We are the reporters of our people, and are communicators to the outside world. Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance.

And with that comes my belief of art and its importance.

Since starting the project late 2014/early 2015, works from this series have been exhibited in London, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sharjah and most recently at the Brighton Photo Fringe 2016, winning curator’s choice for the Danny Wilson Memorial Award 2016.

Also exhibited at SEAS (Socially Engaged Art Salon) as part of the group exhibition Photography as a socially engaged practice during Brighton Photo Fringe 2016.

See here for more of Estabrak’s work and here for more on Brighton Photo Fringe.

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