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» year review 2009

Reportage: Desert Expatriates
by Vilma Samulionyte / Anzenberger


It is not a story of suffering and complaining about the world or me being in the horrible world.. I still question myself sometimes why I went to Saudi Arabia or to other difficult places to work? Am I challenging myself or I am punishing myself for something what I don"t know yet? It is a story about Saudi Arabia, not a country itself, but a place where appeared new thoughts, discoveries and confusions. Photographs were composed using simple compositional principles. The space here is closed and mostly has one plan, the view is usually concentrated to one object. It is a personal tale of European woman, who lived there over a year and had different experiences. After this experience I re-evaluated lots of things. Every day life, place where I live, where I work or spend my leisure time became very different in Saudi Arabia. When you come to work and to live to such places you don"t choose many things on your own... They are given to you... House, office, maybe car, driver, leisure places... It seems sometimes that someone took a big copy tool and copied their favourite place from their life and paste it in the middle of desert. And it is there for many years out of context though living and getting new one. And you have to deal with them and include fully to your own life. When I came to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) I thought that I am copied too. I had to take some roles, obey some rules, follow strange laws, which didn’t belong to my life. There were to many situations where I was giving a question “why?” without possibility to get answer.. So I stopped... Sometimes it was such a strange floating in a meant reality that even now I think it was like a dreaming. In Saudi Arabia I stayed over one year. I was working as a photographer in a women studio. I came there, as I found out later, almost impossible way: alone, woman, single and lived in house not in a compound. Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries of the world, ruled by king according the Islamic law. At the same time it is one of most conservative countries in the world. It is only country were driving for women is banned. According sharia law they have to wear abaya, they are not able to go to cafes or restaurants if there is no family section. If woman wants to work or travel she needs to have a written permission of a fathers or husbands.exclusiveThis feature was an extraordinary and expensive production and/or was not published yet. Therefore we call it EXCLUSIVE and it has a higher price than the usual agreements. Please contact the agency before any publication by email: office@anzenberger.com or by phone +43-1-587 82 51.close


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