Updates from A.i.R Dubai 2014

The Sitters - Maitha Demithan

Having previously worked with digital scans, photography, painting and photo transfers, Maitha Demithan is constantly tempted to break images and put them back together. Also, she acutely responds to her environment and people surrounding her in her practice. Maitha has recorded the surface of figures as well as objects, with an A4 flatbed scanner, composing multiple views to design multilayered images in her rather personal scanography works. As a result of her continued interest in documenting people, she decided to experiment with a new medium – video, and created a collage of moving portraits for the Open Studios. The Sitters is a three-channel color video projection with sound, which is Maitha’s unique response to Al Fahidi, where she has been observing people’s behavior and gaze on a daily basis.

Maitha’s subjects in The Sitters include tourists, who immediately captured her attention when she first started her residency in Al Fahidi. She has recorded many people at two locations. The first was House 11, where she has been based since January alongside A.i.R Dubai’s other residents, and the second location was XVA Hotel and Gallery, a vibrant spot in Al Fahidi and the temporary home to international residents. Similar to her scan works, Maitha’s new project is informed by her interactions with people. Throughout her experimentation with the camera, the artist was moved by the continued tension between whether to give directions or not. Maitha says: ‘I didn't want the performance to feel staged.’ However, she repeatedly noticed that the sitters needed some sort of instruction. Having carefully edited the footage and stitched three, one-minute excerpts together, Maitha brings her subjects into her studio through three projections. The quasi-documentary aesthetic of Maitha’s video focuses on the human condition, which has been at the center of the artist’s practice for a while now.