8. Back and Forth Disco

Farah Al Qasimi Blanket Shop on the NYC bus sheltersFarah Al Qasimi, Blanket Shop, 2019. Photo: James Ewing, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY.  Photographic work as a part of Back and Forth Disco, presented by Public Art Fund on 100 JCDecaux bus shelters citywide, January 29 – May 17, 2020.  

The Public Art Fund is behind a set of seventeen new works by artist Farah Al Qasimi, from Abu Dhabi in the United Emirates, featured on the JCDecaux bus shelters around the five boroughs. Born in 1991, Al Qasimi works between Brooklyn and Dubai, and in these works, she’s using New York City as a subject matter for the first time.

According to Public Art Fund, “Back and Forth Disco breaks through the chaos and anonymity of the city to explore the experience of being an individual in an overstimulating placeFarah’s known for her richly textured photographs and distinct approach to portraiture, and by utilizing elements of camouflage and concealment, she emphasizes her subjects’ individuality, challenging traditional notions of figuration.” The works show everyday New York places — a bodega, a fabric shop, a bakery, barbershop, beauty salon and more — but from her lens, selecting moments that surprise the viewer about the particular subject matter. You can find a map of all the locations here.