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Dubai

Community: Hind Mezaina

April 4, 2011

A local spotlight on The Culturist's award-winning photographer and blogger

  • Text by Simone Sebastian

Hind Mezaina is the enthusiastic voice behind The Culturist, a Dubai-based blog that just won at the 2011 Bloggie Awards. We catch up with the Lomography ambassador, photographer and cultural critic to find out more.

Satellite Voices: What makes you smile?
Hind Mezaina: Listening to children talking, they make the most observations. Seeing parts of old school Dubai that have managed to remain, still standing strong against the concrete monsters that are taking over the rest of the city. 

SV: What was the first thing you ever made?
Hind Mezaina: I remember stitching a bonnet in the arts and crafts class in school many, many, many years ago - it looked like one of those Amish bonnets. So guess that’s the first thing I ever made. Now that I think about it, what an odd thing to do. Wonder if the teacher was taking the piss.

SV: What’s your dream project?
Hind Mezaina: Establish the Ministry of Good Taste and Common Sense and revisit a lot of businesses, projects and spaces in Dubai to whip them into shape.

On a much personal level, travel around the world (starting in Iceland because I have a huge crush on that country), taking my time to absorb each city I visit, while photographing and documenting my travels. Yes, it could take years but there’s so much to see in this world and I would love to see as much as I can in my lifetime.

SV: What do you wish you had written / created?
Hind Mezaina: Pretty much every amazing film essay by the wonderful Roger Ebert. I can only aspire to write insightful and moving pieces like him.

SV: Which work / art / music would you recommend on checking out?
Hind Mezaina:
Ali Taptik is a Turkish photographer I strongly recommend. I saw his work for the first time at this year’s Art Dubai and was fortunate enough to meet him at the fair. His love of Istanbul and the intimate and raw moments he captures are quite breathtaking. 

I’ve also recently fallen in love with the Camille Zakharia’s "Coastal Promenade" series, a photographic essay and part of the Reclaim project that won Bahrain the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale for Architecture 2010. The photos of the fishermen huts along the shores of Bahrain are just too precious where each hut has its own unique characteristic. But overall the series looks at the ecological effects of land reclamation – a theme we are all too familiar with in Dubai, so I really related to Zakharia’s work.

SV: How do you describe your work?
Hind Mezaina:
I like to capture moments and places around me, whether in Dubai or during my travels. But in Dubai, I want to share moments and places that are overlooked, that go unnoticed, to show there’s more to this city that meets the eye. Dubai is my home and I want you to see beyond the living room.

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