Contemporary Arab lifestyles

The Benaki Museum’s complex in Keramikos turns out to be the ideal location for Apeiron Photos. The Museum of Islamic Art is currently hosting «The Modern Arab World,» an exhibition of photos organized jointly by Apeiron Photos, the VII Photo Agency and the Stanley Foundation. Hosting an Arab-related show comes as no surprise for the downtown museum, yet the exhibition’s rather eccentric presentation, coupled with the actual choice of situation within the complex, make for a refreshing point of view – both in terms of how the Arab world is represented, as well as how the visual material is being showcased. Placed in a low, spiral construction, the show’s 38 photographs lead visitors on a planned-out walk. The exhibition flows like a laptop slideshow, where scenes unfold one by one, revealing the contemporary faces of Arab societies. It takes the viewer from the Al Arabiya newsroom in Dubai, where a well-groomed anchorwoman awaits in the background, behind the flashy, state-of-the-art machinery, to a carefree moment in the life of a bourgeois family in Amman, and from a moment of prayer against Abu Dhabi’s modern architecture to a group of young girls having fun on snow-covered Syrian slopes. The exhibition aims to present the contemporary face of the East to a Western public, which has been conditioned to a particularly stereotyped image of the Arab world. The show’s photographs are only a small sample of a body of work carried out by four photographers – Alexandra Boulat, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil and Joachim Ladefoged. All four have captured the rise and the catalytic effect of mass media in the Islamic world and the influence of the West in the lifestyle of local societies. Benaki Museum of Islamic Art, 22 Aghion Asomaton & 12 Dipylou, Kerameikos, tel 210.325.1311. The exhibition runs to September 28.