Foreign Sands is Ben Soedira’s exploration into what constitutes ‘home’. Having grown up in a country foreign to his own parents, Soedira has had to contemplate on where he truly belongs. In his case, home is Dubai. A strange city, built entirely on foreign elements, from imported sand to migrant workers, the resources of the world are gathered together between the sea and the desert in order to make the impossible, possible.
In what Soedira can only describe as ‘urban amnesia’ the city moves forward and begins to forget what was once truly important. Soedira reverses this, amidst this turmoil, he focuses on the small details. Those that only people familiar, truly at home with the city, would ever recognise. The ubiquitous piles of empty water bottles. The constant, soft breeze that billows cool cotton clothing. The dusky tones of its domestic architecture that blend seamlessly with the landscape. The weekly gatherings of Kushti wrestlers who grapple and fight for their small patch of earth.
Visually, the work in many people’s eyes may seem quite foreign. However I do feel like everyone can relate to it in some way, as more and more we question our identity. As our access to the world becomes easier and we dream of moving away to set up home somewhere else, we are lead to question where am I from and what is truly home for me?
Ben Soedira was born in 1994 in Sharjah to an English mother and Dutch-Indonesian father. He moved to the UK in 2013 to study an Art Foundation at Leeds College of Art, before studying Fine Art Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. He remains in the city today.
With an attentiveness to space and the everyday that passes through it, he encompasses what it means for a place to be recognised and understood. His work revolves around the ideas of belonging and foreignness both coinciding with one another to create notions of home and familiarity. His photographs touch on political, social and personal factors, often leading to a body of work that has many interpretations.