The Lest We Forget project began as a collection of vernacular photographs from Emirati family photo albums. The collection is unique in its fusing of artistic practice alongside traditional archival techniques. The photographs, objects, and oral histories contributed by community members arethe basis for the development of creative mixed-media responses that become the content at the heart of the Lest We Forget book and exhibitions inspired by the project.
These creative responses were developed largely by college-age female Emirati students in response to photographs of their parents and grandparents. The students conduct interviews with their family members about the photographs and objects, and in addition to writing down the stories revealed through the interviews, create artistic responses as reflections on the stories they hear. The interviews conducted by the students capture interesting and important stories, trends, memories, and history of the UAE, which are the inspiration for the development of creative responses in the form of digital narratives, audio recordings, films, and games that are showcased alongside the family photographs in the Lest We Forget Exhibition in the Warehouse 421 Gallery Space in Abu Dhabi.
My involvement in the project spanned from 2011-2016, and during that time I contributed as an artist, an educator, and a collaborator to Lest We Forget, through a partnership with Creative Director, Michele Bambling, her team, and the other artistic collaborators who worked with the project. My contributions to the project were a hybrid of teaching workshops, mentoring, providing technical guidance for the collection development, digital preservation and metadata documentation, the development of the content and design for a web- based collection, as well as technical support and media development for the exhibitions.