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Picture Coastal promenade (1)
- Camille Zakharia
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- Coastal promenade (1)
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Camille Zakharia was born in 1962 in Tripoli, Lebanon. After taking out an engineering degree he fled his country's civil war, spent time in the United States, Turkey, Greece and Bahrain, then enrolled at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, Canada. Graduating in 2000, he decided to settle permanently in Bahrain. He has taken part in many exhibitions in the Middle East, Europe, Canada and the United States, and in 2009 was a finalist in the Victoria & Albert Museum's Jameel Prize for Islamic art.
Coastal Promenade was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of Bahrain as part of the Reclaim project the emirate presented in its Golden Lion-winning pavilion at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennial. The series looks at the present state of the archipelago's coastline, devastated over the last few years by oil industry pollution and urban change. Often on the outskirts of cities, these areas abandoned by their residents gradually turn into no man's lands.
Reacting to this tragedy via the classical documentary tradition, Camille Zakharia has produced an inventory of the shoreline's landscapes and architecture, of lost, desolate zones devoid of animal, plant or human life. And yet these places possess a fragile everyday beauty: beneath a cloudless sky, a sprinkling of fishermen's huts stands as relics of a declining culture – an "architecture without architects", as the photographer calls it, which is equally threatened by political and social change. Isolated and strangely empty, these huts sometimes evoke a human presence, as when we see cushions tossed on a bench with a suggestion of a languorous late-afternoon siesta.
Tinged with a gentle melancholy, these landscapes escape all notion of time. Acting on the viewer like dream images or sequences from a film, they are a call to meditation and contemplation. The overall experience is that of a summons to time-travel, to a last spurt of energy before everything passes away.