The Face of Gaza
by Miguel Angel Sanchez
The Empty Quarter Gallery is proud to present for the first time in the UAE, works by Miguel Àngel Sànchez in an extraordinary exhibition entitled “The Face of Gaza”.
The photographic works comprising this exhibition are a faction of a long-term personal endeavor entitled “The will of existing”. In his own words Sanchez explains the meaning of this photographic journey: “I travel around the world looking for people and groups of population who are struggling to survive. I focus on people who are fighting to maintain their essence, their culture and their roots and whose very existence is threatened due to religious, political or social reasons.” Sanchez has explored various peoples and cultures. In “Portrait of Egyptians 2009” yet another part of “The will of existing” series, Sanchez has captured 110 residents of Cairo from all walks of life from musicians to politicians and shoe shiners with his medium format camera. “The Idea was to make a huge portrait of a country through its people,” explains Sanchez.
As painful as it is beautiful, the Gaza project was inspired by the confrontation in November 2012 between Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza: Operation Pillar of Defense. Sanchez places faces to the countless men and women who were no more than statistics in the final death toll of a military operation. Doomed to live in constant change; enduring drone strikes, sound bombs that have kept terrified children fearing a new attack, the embargo of basic commodities for subsistence, the gradual poisoning of water.... despite all this, or perhaps because of it, the populace of Gaza has continued to exist.
In his temporary studio Sanchez photographs his subjects in dramatic chiaroscuro where most of the figure is engulfed in deep shadow. The photographer borrows a great deal from masters of Baroque painting especially Caravaggio, both in their tenebrism and their realism. “I use lighting to guide the viewer. He is guided to discover the secrets and intimacies of each person,” states Sanchez.
With the choice of composition and lighting of classical portraiture so often seen in galleries and museums, Sanchez manages to instill in his subjects a certain timeless dignity.
Miguel Angel Sanchez
Miguel Angel Sanchez (born in Madrid 1977), a Spanish photographer based in Cairo from 2009.
Sanchez combines his work as a studio photographer with his career as a photojournalist documenting conflict zones. He is an itinerant photographer who takes his workspace/studio to many corners of the world: Asia, Middle East or Africa. Within the last five years he has covered the Arab Spring, the Libyan civil war, the Ulu Pamir besieged by the PKK in Turkish Kurdistan, Lebanon after Hariri and the Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip, among others.
With exhibitions in Paris, Belgium, Madrid, and Cairo, Sanchez’s work has been published in the International media most notably El País, The New York Times,
Le Monde, New Yorker, Photo Raw, La Lettre de la Photographie, Burn magazine. He is author of photographic books: El alma del mundo Planeta-‐ Lunwerg, 2012 and City in Portraits Solidere. Lebanon, 2013 (Red Dot award 2013).
Photos in this exhibition