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Eye of the Barber:
and Other Souq Wanderings.

This project investigates and borrows ‘street’ vernacular language from local market areas of Doha to be sampled and remixed into new graphic interpretations.

As a precursor leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the city of Doha is undergoing large scale transformations. Many older areas of the city are disappearing and being replaced with new modern buildings. In reaction to these changes, my colleagues and I (and students) engaged in several explorations to uncover the more authentic, nostalgic, unkempt and underground parts of the city. Here is where you can find true blending of cultures; Indian, Pakistani, Sudanese, Yemeni, Egyptian, Syrian and others from the Arabian Gulf.
There are barbershops catering to low and high income customers; passport photo shops for immigrant workers; tailors specializing in abayas for all occasions; jewelry and accessories for weddings; and any low-tech gadget you desire.

The storefront signs often feel ‘homemade’ with hand-painted typography, ‘borrowed’ imagery from pop culture (if you look close some barbershops use an altered image of David Bowie on their signs), and semi-professional signs with misspelled vinyl-cut words that are slowing peeling off. 

This project explored the concept of place as cultural residue. To some degree, through experience and documentation, the work attempts to preserve lowbrow vernacular culture that is quickly being replaced by high-end malls, restaurants and VIP experiences. The series of three prints shown here are just a few of the more refined outcomes from those explorations, however, it should also be mentioned that these wanderings yielded many images and sketches to be used for future work.

︎ select image to enlarge

The translation of these prints are: The Eye of the Barber, Mermaid Abayas and (Photo) Studio.