Look Beyond Them by Zayed University alumna Asma Khoory is an audio-visual diary of construction workers in Dubai. Using sculpture, sound, photography, and these personal stories of the men who took part in this project, Khoory aspires to humanise the innumerable construction workers who assist in the rapid expansion of Dubai.
Construction helmets play a decisive role in a construction worker’s safety, and they look identical from a distance. A closer proximity divulges the humanising and intimate scars of their laborious vocation. The men interviewed and portrayed in Look Beyond Them marked their helmets with personal messages for protection, to honour their loved ones, or to remind them why they are where they are. This practice is common among construction workers in Dubai. Each helmet in the exhibition was given to the artist by a worker in exchange for a new one and originates from a different construction site in the city. An accompanying photographic series of the labourers on location is paired with a personal message and the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates of their construction site.
Khoory has recorded their personal stories of childhood memories, formative incidents in their lives, words of affection to their families, and poems committed to memory. Movement within close range of the helmets triggers playback of the recordings.
Asma Khoory’s installation is an insight into people who go unnoticed. The men portrayed in Look Beyond Them have left their homelands in an effort to increase economic resources, access to education, and improve living conditions and quality of life for the families they are separated from. They have sacrificed a lot and now we can hear the stories of why they came to Dubai and what they value most in life.
Exhibition: March 4 – April 1
Opening: 4th of March 16-18h
Curator: Walter Willems
The exhibition is a collaboration with Zayed University Dubai