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Capture Photography Festival features Farah Al Qasimi’s images of Dearborn, Michigan along the Arbutus Greenway

Dearborn
The Capture Photography Festival is exhibiting Farah Al Qasimi's images of Dearborn in the Arbutus Greenway Billboard Public Art Project.

This year, Dearborn became a flashpoint in U.S. Democratic Party politics. More than half of the Michigan city’s residents are of Arab ancestry. That’s the highest ratio of any medium-to-large-size community in America. And many are furious over the Biden administration allowing U.S. arms sales to Israel as it pulverizes Gaza.

More than 30,000 Palestinians have died in Israel’s military response to Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israeli civilians. According to a UN-backed report, nearly one million residents of Gaza face catastrophic levels of hunger.

As a result of U.S. policies, a strong majority of Dearborn Democratic primary voters cast “uncommitted” ballots in February. It’s raised questions whether Joe Biden will win Michigan in the November presidential election. Without Michigan, Biden will have a much tougher road to remaining in the White House.

Meanwhile, there’s a side of Dearborn on display along Vancouver’s Arbutus Greenway. Capture Photography Festival executive director and chief curator Emmy Lee Wall has curated an exhibition of images by Yale University–educated artist Farah Al Qasimi.

Qasimi created all the photographs in Dearborn. They’ll remain on large Pattison Outdoor billboards between between Fir and Burrard streets until June 2.

Dearborn
Image by Farah Al Qasimi / Capture Photography Festival.

Engaging with Dearborn residents

Dearborn is home to Ford Motor Company headquarters.

“Al Qasimi sought out members of the Arab American community in the city and engaged with her sitters, visiting their homes and photographing them both in their personal spaces and in the public sphere,” the Capture Photography Festival website states. “Through quiet observation, her images offer insight into the layered histories and living culture of the people and places she photographs.

“As we view the world through her lens, unarticulated norms and beliefs reveal themselves as intrinsic to clothing, objects, and places; as these become apparent, unspoken truths about power, gender, and taste are exposed.”

Dearborn
This Farah Al Qasimi image is surrounded by a community garden and a condo building in the background.

OmniVita Custom Wealth Mgmt. Inc. is presenting the Arbutus Greenway exhibition with support from Leslie Lee and John Murphy.

This week, Pancouver paid a visit to the area to see how they look to passersby. The “313” area code in the image below is there for a reason—it’s what you have to dial to reach Dearborn.

Dearborn 2
Farah Al Qasimi’s practice “makes visible the contemporary, globalized post-internet culture that surrounds us and defines our current condition”, according to the Capture Photography Festival.

For more information on the Capture Photography Festival, visit the website. Follow Pancouver on X (formerly known as Twitter) @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.