What Remains is a self-initiated project born out of Sara Al Obaidly’s journey across the island of Madagascar in 2016. Travelling from the capital Antananarivo to the west coast and ending her trip in Belo Sur Mer, Al Obaidly covered over 800km by land, river and sea.
Madagascar is an exceptional terrestrial ecoregion home to unique species of plants and animal life found nowhere else on Earth, yet it is also the world’s leader in deforestation, with approximately 93% of its primary forests destroyed, leaving only 7% of the island’s rich rainforest left. The reason for this slash-and-burn agriculture – whereby an area of forest is cut and burned – is to create fields for raising cattle, logging of precious woods, charcoal production and in certain sites for mining purposes. All destroy the island’s habitats, rich with endemic biodiversity.
This previously unseen body of work combines photographic works, sound design, film and installation. What Remains is an exploration of what mankind will leave behind once we have fully exploited Earth’s natural resources in the name of progress. The work asks profound questions about human civilization’s impact on our environment. Al Obaidly hopes to initiate dialogue with a serious message and a call to action, encouraging visitors to self-reflect, spurring all of us to contemplate and re-evaluate our relationships with and connection to the natural environment in this modern world, and the footprint we will leave behind.
Sara Al Obaidly is an interdisciplinary artist, living and working between London and Doha. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including Manege, St Petersburg (2018); Kraftwerk, Berlin (2017); National Portrait Gallery, London (2016 & 2014); Museum of Islamic Art Park, Doha (2015); and Qatar Museums Gallery – Al Riwaq (2014), among others.
Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Creative Review Photography Annual, Le Monde and on TIME’s ‘LightBox’ in ‘22 of this year’s best portraits’ 2014. In 2016 she received an honorary mention in the Life Framer Awards under the theme ‘Youthhood’. Al Obaidly has been awarded art residencies at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, USA (2019) and the Doha Fire Station, Qatar (2015); as well as receiving training from the prestigious French film school La Femis, Paris (2016).