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Eman Ali

MA work

Original Innocence

My degree show project explores the concept of the virgin by critiquing commercial presentations of female bodies continually cleaning, cleansing and purifying. I focus on the surfaces of a supposed clean femininity to explore the performance of gender in Arabic culture, and beyond. These performances play out in my installation, a space that you must literally step into via a high gloss black platform, that incorporates sound, photography and light.The darkness of the installation draws out my rich use of color. In an absurd reimagining of ‘the region’, my presentation playfully uses the visual languages of advertising and tourism and transposes them on the female body itself. Using found commercial products that work as tools of deception such as virginity soap and artificial hymen pills, I build a picture of the female body as a commodity, a set of surfaces to be maintained, manipulated and represented.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Photography, 2017

  • Omani visual artist Eman Ali's photographic work, with its vivid landscape of rich hues, reproduces the simulacrum of colour in advertising in order to accentuate its artificiality and eroticism. Ali conceptually uses the analogy of light in her images to refer to the Divine and views the marketing of beauty products as an extension of religion that not only illuminates the conceptual thread but in some cases the value woven within that thread. They shed light on motifs such as innocence, purity and the desire for wholeness.

    By interlacing religious and socio-political ideologies on sexuality and gender and recognising the major influence social media has on perpetuating extreme beauty ideals, what happens when the female body is viewed as sovereign and how far will one go to rejuvenate the region?

  • Degrees

  • Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, 2008
  • Experience

  • 2012–2015 - Arts Arts Program Co-ordinator, Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities, Bahrain; 2014–2015 - Co-founder, The Center of Photographic Arts, Bahrain
  • Exhibitions

  • 2013 – I Bought This For The Cover, Cob Gallery, London; 2014 – SCHAU Festival, Dortmund, Germany; 2014 – Weaving Colors - 22nd Annual Heritage Festival, Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities, 2014.; 2014 – Recreational Purpose, Bahrain National Museum; 2015 – The Devil May Care, The Noorderlicht Photogallery, The Netherlands; 2016 – WIP (Work In Progress) Show, Royal College of Art, London; 2016 – Future Narratives, La Ira de Dios, Buenos Aries; 2013 – Alwan 338, Al Riwaq Art Space, Bahrain
  • Awards

  • Grant recipeint: 2016 – Awarded a grant from the Anglo Omani Society to undertake an artist residency at La Ira de Dios in Buenos Aires.; Nominated: 2014 – Foam Paul Huf Award; Nominated: 2014 – Magnum Foundation's Emergency Fund; Shortlisted: 2016 – European Photography Award
  • Publications

  • 2015 - Brownbook; 2016 - This Orient; 2011 - Wallpaper*; 2012 - Domus: Bab Al Bahrain Competition supplement; 2012 - Background exhibition catalogue: Bahrain's National Participation in the 13th international architecture exhibition at the La Biennale de Venezia; 2014 - Recreational Purpose: Exhibition catalogue; 2015 - Harper's Bazaar Art | Middle East; 2016- The Next 100: BMW Group book