Project info

The series “Nomads” deals with the notions of ornament and belonging in architecture and how buildings shape the identity of places and people. Since 7.000 years Bedouin-nomads have built houses weaving palm leaves and ropes from palm trunks. This craft has almost disappeared. Our photocollages recall the fast and heroic transformation of the UAE: a natural desert inhabited by nomads that in just 40 years reinvented its history and built urban environments from scratch. Foreign workers –more than 80% of the population- have been brought in to construct the towers that shape the skylines of Emirati cities. The façades that we photograph are modernist residential towers built in the 1980’s that are inhabited by expatriated workers mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Nepal. Interweaving two exposures of the buildings we explore the visual tensions between continuity and change, the urban and the nomadic, the local and the alien. Palm leave weaving is symbolically represented in the series that amplifies the ornamental intention of the facades’ design. The project recreates nomad/Arab decorations in urban (permanent) buildings inhabited by guest workers (not locals) -that are temporarily occupying them. These provisory homes still hold onto the human traces of vital movements and changes of their occupants. Aren’t they nomads? Aren’t we all new-nomads in global societies?