La Galerie Nationale in Dubai is pleased to present the second UAE solo exhibition for Beirut born photographer Christian Ghammachi, titled MZUNGU, The Aimless Wanderer, running from 18 May 2015.
25 new pieces, the majority of which have not been shown to date, were captured during the artist’s captivating solo motorbike journey across Africa, from Cape Town to Djibouti in 2014. The quest was titled Two Wheels Across, and lasted six months, taking Ghammachi through sixteen African countries and over 19,000 kilometres. The images depict people, places and objects encountered along the way, as he set out to demonstrate that beauty and powerful emotions can be found in the most unassuming of places
Ghammachi’s passion for photography spans over two decades, and has led him around the world, resulting in commercial and critical success and representation in both London and Paris. Seeking out the less obvious and overlooked details, finding beauty in hidden elements and emotions, Christian is inspired by the resilience of people, landscapes and wildlife. He is particularly interested in making photographs that show strength and enduring passion despite adversity.
The artist’s passion is rooted in Africa, a continent he first visited in 2010 and immediately connected with. Having lived in Cape Town for nearly two years, Ghammachi decided to return to the Middle East and make Dubai his base. But the adventurer opted to make his journey the subject by travelling to his destination alone on his motorbike. A first attempt was aborted following a painful crash, but the second effort, a few months later, was successful and is depicted in this, his second solo show.
Mzungu is a Swahili word originally used around the African Great Lakes and was taken to mean someone who wanders aimlessly or is constantly on the move. Nowadays it is commonly used to refer to a white person or a foreigner. Often called Mzungu during his journey, the word has now become an intimate part of Ghammachi’s epic journey and echoes his love for, and identification with, the African people, who welcomed him as he explored Africa. At La Galerie Nationale, the exhibition will include a selection of images, such as an abandoned hotel in Xai Xai, Mozambique, or 19th century church in Tanzania, as well as images of Africa’s people and resilience.
Guillaume Cuiry, Gallery Director comments: “I was immediately drawn to Ghammachi’s work, with its impressive strength and ability to convey both the immense power and fragility of African life. Since discovering the artist, he has become a firm friend and I am continually captivated by the number of stories behind each shot that add a further emotional resonance to his subjects. I am very excited about showing the work to audiences in the UAE.”
For more stunning images by Christian see Africa Geographic’s Silent Shores gallery.