Estabrak Al-Ansari

Recent recipient of AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) Performing Arts Grant 2016 for her unique performance based process of storytelling 'LPP' (live projection painting); where she paints a film to life, live, Estabrak is a Visual Artist & Film Maker based between London, UK and Muscat, Oman, originally from Iraq, born in Iran and raised in London, after having gone to the UK with her family as a child refugee. 

With an arts background in Central Saint Martins and a Masters in film & media production, she is both by nature & nurture; a storyteller. 

Often lead by emotions, particular interest lies in honest approaches to silenced socio- political realities usually explored through progressive, multidisciplinary ways of storytelling. 

She has been a part of some pioneering projects such as 'Imagine Art After' and has had her work presented to the UN as well as having been commissioned and supported by numerous organisations including 'The Helen Tetlow Memorial Fund', 'Red Bull Oman' and 'The Alserkal Cultural Foundation'. Previous works have found themselves showcased on an international basis in such places as New York, Dubai and Berlin, along the way exhibiting at Royal Academy of Arts, & TATE Britain, London, UK. 

Her works are generally fueled by the concepts of existing in places we 

cannot exist for long periods of time, something well represented through the use of water in her latest multidisciplinary collection 'Consciousness', which sees her prize winning, limited edition, underwater photographic series 'Omanis Under Water' (OUW) showcased. (OUW) looks at the ignored socio-political discourses of Omani society through a simple but complex matter that connects us all; water. Through this, the series helps shine a light on some of those traditions & faces usually gone unnoticed via the normalisation of societal uniform. 

Since starting the project late 2014/early 2015, her works from this series have gone to be exhibited in London, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sharjah and most recently at the Brighton Photo Fringe 2016, winning curator's choice for the Danny Wilson Memorial Award 2016. All in addition to being shortlisted for a number of awards as well as winning some prizes including being officially selected for the Royal Academy of the Arts Summer Exhibition 2016. It is the first part of a proposed global series of underwater photographic works intended to look at societies, people and it's dysfunctions through the element of water.


Omanis Under Water. Limited edition photographic series

Omanis Under Water is a prize-winning, Limited Edition Photographic Series. It is part 01 of a proposed global photographic series looking at varying societies through water. 

Omanis.. Submerged in water. Headless, faceless only their bodies and dress tell us a story. Beauty. Oman offers natural beauty. And in the sea, it is just as beautiful and peaceful as out here on land. The oceans motion takes over as traditional dress starts to explore the body. Outlines start to reveal parts dress was always meant to hide. But the waters a place we cannot exist for long periods of time. Is the water representative of our environment? Men in white dresses. Women forever in black. 

In a society where religion is so caught up in peace, trust and understanding there lives a deep inherited fear for the unknown. Water holds a power to embrace or destroy us and this is one of the concepts currently driving my work. 

“Socially, the ocean is an escape from the physical restraints on our bodies which act a certain way on land, to ‘behave’, to comply with conformities. The trauma of the Omani landscape resounds loudly in contemporary society, where the water is silent.' - Excerpt from a recent article written by Natalie McGuire examining some of my works. 

Using water as a representation of the environment and current societal choices of local norms, I examine underlying discourses that constitute Oman's society, through a lens ignored by many. Both character and viewer are represented through an aesthetically beautiful series of work. Using broken reflections shown via local interactions that develop the fabric of the Omani society, the use of Omani's placed in water allows for a relationship to be examined between body and water...Revealing parts of Omani's society that uniform was always made to hide.