From deserts to skyscrapers: the history of the UAE will be told at the SPIEF 2023 photo exhibition

The UAE was chosen as the host country of SPIEF in 2023, and the photo project “The Road to Arabia”, part of the Forum’s cultural program, is designed to depict the history of its formation: from skyscrapers and deserts to the world’s leading economy. The second part of the exhibition is a look by Elena Podobreevskaya, who captures in her works the beauty of the surrounding world in its quite unexpected details.

“Imaginary Journeys.”

The exhibition photo project “Imaginary journeys” will be a part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum’s cultural program this year. The exhibition is organized by museum and exhibition center “Rosfoto” and law firm “TM Defence”, the event is supported by “Roscongress” Foundation and the embassy of United Arab Emirates.

The exhibition consists of two parts: “The Road to Arabia” and “In a word”, partner of “TM Defence” Oleg Zhukov told “Kompaniya”. Pictures, presented in the first block, reflect the historical development of the East, telling about the past and the future of the UAE, the country which became a symbol of rapid economic growth.

A large part of the works were created by professional photographers, including the Zangaki brothers, the Gulmez brothers, Felix Bonfils and Pascal Seba. Next to them are shots of amateur photographers who captured the Orient in the XVIII-XIX centuries on a portable Kodak. The photos will be provided by the Rusfoto Museum Foundation.

Photo courtesy of the UAE Embassy in Russia

“The guest country at this year’s SPIEF will be the United Arab Emirates, the UAE ambassador and the Minister of Culture are expected to attend. The “Imaginary Journeys” project is our gift to them, allowing them to display the history of the Emirates, from skyscrapers and deserts to one of the leading economies of the world,” – commented Zhukov. The UAE delegation is planning to visit the exhibition.

The other part will feature works by Elena Podobreevskaya. They are a diary of impressions of a contemporary photographer, a story about moments of life, their elusive beauty.

Photo: Elena Podobreevskaya

“There are shots that one wants to look at. And it’s not clear what it is that draws the eye to them. It’s just that nature has intricately placed lines and light on a simple fern leaf, dimmed the sun and stepped aside,” Elena herself describes one of the shots. The shots also show different corners of Moscow: the Andreevsky Bridge, the hall of the Diplomatic Academy, the local courtyard.

“The moments captured in the pictures are part of our everyday life, be it a ray of sunshine, a nun in church or a box of chocolates. The author invites us to take a closer look at the everyday life around us with his works,” says Zhukov. Moscow residents have already seen the photos (they were exhibited as part of the “Details and Images” project in the “Gallery at Mosfilm”), now St. Petersburg residents will have this opportunity as well.

Photo: Elena Podobreevskaya

Preservation of culture

“Imaginary Journeys” is not the first photo project in the organization of which we are involved, – emphasizes the representative of the law office. – In 2018, together with the center “Rosphoto” we opened a large exhibition of works by Vladimir Sychev. This is a legendary photographer, whose record from 1980 as the most printed photographer in the world has not yet been beaten by anyone.” The photographer, who portrayed the everyday life of Soviet citizens, has almost no pictures staged, each one being a reflection of his time.

Photo courtesy of the UAE Embassy in Russia

“TM Defence likes to support unusual initiatives, Zhukov admits. Two years ago, the company invested in the construction of a retro-skating rink near Samara’s Alabin Museum of History and Local Lore. The ice ground near the museum was poured, to attract as many citizens as possible to museum exhibits. Inspired by an idea of local architects, the ice rink was stylized to look like the pre-revolutionary epoch and an old dacha veranda was installed in the middle of the ice rink.

The bureau also participated in the Samara City Day project and has been a longtime sponsor of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. “In my opinion, cultural projects are what keep culture and ourselves alive these days, our difficult times,” Zhukov sums up.

Photo courtesy of the UAE Embassy in Russia

The exhibition “Imaginary Journeys” starts on June 16; the works will be on display in the main building of the museum and exhibition center “Rosfoto” (2nd floor).

Published in the “Company” magazine by Liliana Nabiullina

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