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Image is everything

Image is everything

Does the Middle East media represent Arabs poorly? And if it does, how can this be fixed? Communicate reports.


December 25, 2009 9:44 by

“Middle East countries are getting good at this,” he said. “But the interesting thing is that this has not yet transferred to the ad industry.” The implication being that, until more Emiratis are involved with advertising, there can be no effective self-deprecation.

According to Dimachkie, this lack of involvement all too often leads to cliché-ridden ads, or generic ads that could be used anywhere in the world, because there is no real insight.

He was joined on the panel by Dr. Nezar Andary (pictured), professor at Zayed University of Abu Dhabi; photographer Alia al-Shamsi; founder of the Traffic design gallery Rami Farook; and James Langton, Deputy Editor of The National on Saturday. All offered an interesting perspective.

Andary, in particular, posed questions that deserved much more time. Two that stuck with Communicate were: Do we really want to represent the problem as being between locals and non-locals? And  is it genuinely possible to find a solution if it is a forced process?

Meanwhile, the introduction for photographer Shamsi – an intended compliment – was, unfortunately, yet another symptom of the Arabian representation problem. “She has transcended both her gender and her nationality,” said the moderator, in the manner of a teacher praising a pupil.

Good for her, we thought (sarcastically), because generally women can’t be photographers, and we all know Emiratis can’t use cameras.

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