Olympians: UAE Olympic and Paralympic Athletes: Portraits by Gabriella Sancisi

Key information

10:30 am to 5:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Exhibition Rooms
Event type

About this event

Telling the stories of these athletes in their own words Sancisi photographed athletes during her visit to the UAE in September 2011, recording each likeness in a similar way and creating a uniform group despite the photographs being captured at different locations and at varying times. A selection of which are exhibited here.

“I have chosen those images which touched me the most and which I feel work best collectively. I often use scale in my work to create an opportunity for the viewer to look closely at the sitters. I have tremendous respect for all of the athletes who chose to be portrayed and I have tried not to impose too many rules on how they should pose. At the same time, I know exactly what it is that I am looking for in a likeness and this is generally a moment of self-consciousness or connection when the relationship between the athlete, me and an eventual viewer of the portrait seem to collide,” said Gabriella Sancisi.

Sancisi’s previous artworks include developing the project Frontrunners for the Photographers Gallery in London that mixed text and images to record the sporting aspirations of youth living in the London boroughs bordering the London Olympic site. She was commissioned by the British Council to produce a similar series of portraits of young British athletes for the 2011 PhotoEspana Festival in Madrid, followed by a similar set of images of Argentinean sporting youth, before being invited by the British Council to undertake the photography exhibition in the UAE.

The exhibition was first shown in Abu Dhabi by the British Council, in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee and the National Paralympic Committee, and in partnership with British Embassy, UK Trade & Investment, Emirates Foundation and BBC Arabia in November 2011, it continues to tour the region. This is the first U.K. showing of this work