Emirati artist Lamya Gargash was born in 1982. After graduating from the American University of Sharjah in 2004, she moved to London to pursue a postgraduate degree in Communication Design from Central Saint Martins. Gargash is heavily inspired by inhabited and abandoned spaces as well as cultural heritage in a context of rapid change. Exploring modernity, mortality, identity and the banal, Gargash captures the beauty of human trace and the value of the mundane.


Many of Gargash’s works depict interiors. Selecting spaces that have been semi-abandoned by homeowners seeking to upgrade, the artist documents the moment of transition lost to others in the speed of departure. The somewhat eerie images pose questions about the need for renewal and inherent nomadism. Taking visual cues from interior decoration, theatre and museum exhibits, Gargash creates works that layer anxiety, nostalgia and restlessness. In her recent works, Gargash has turned her camera upon ethnographic artifacts from the Al Ain Museum in Abu Dhabi. The ancient objects are everyday domestic items that are nevertheless anthropologically important. No longer hidden from view as they undergo restoration, Gargash reframes them and chronicles their history in a personal and poetic manner whilst highlighting the remnants of human presence.


Gargash was selected to represent the UAE in its debut pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009 where she showcased her Familial series. In the same year, she also participated in the 9th Sharjah Biennial in Sharjah, UAE with her Majlis series.


Gargash's works have been included in solo and group shows around the world. Solo shows include; Sahwa, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2020); Traces, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2014); Through the Looking Glass, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2012); Presence, Galleria Marabini, Bologna, Italy (2012); Presence, Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne, Germany (2010); Presence, The Third Line, Doha, Qatar (2008).


Selected group exhibitions include; Atami Blues, HOTEL ACAO ANNEX, Atami City, Japan (2022); Architecture of Loneliness, Warehouse 421, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2018); Tribe: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World, American University, Washington D.C., USA (2018); Portrait of a Nation, (ADMAF), me Collectors Room, Berlin, Germany (2016); Emirati Expressions: Conventions of Arts, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2015); A Burgeoning Collection, Sharjah, UAE (2015); Within Borders: Contemporary Art from the UAE, Farjam Foundation, Dubai, UAE (20150); View from Inside: Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art, Emirates Palace Gallery, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2015); Middle East Revealed, Salone del Mobile, Milano (2015); Middle East Revealed, London, UK (2014); Sharjah Art Foundation Collection Works on Display, Cologne, Germany (2014); The Decisive Moment: 8thEmirates Photography Competition, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2014); Fluid Form II: Arab Contemporary Art in Korea, NEMO Samsung Blue Square, Seoul, Korea (2014); I exist (in some way), Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK (2013); Look/13, the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival and Belgian Nomadic Arts Centre, Moussem, Belgium (2013); Wet Tiles, Malmo Arab Film Festival, Malmo, Sweden (2012); The Heart of Pheonix: Art and Culture of the United Arab Emirates, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, South Korea (2011).


She participated in several film festivals such as; Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland; Osaka Film Festival, Japan; Amsterdam Arab Film Festival, Netherlands; Paris Arab Film Festival, France and Dubai International Film Festival, UAE. Throughout her career Lamya has won a number of awards for her work in film and photography. In 2004, Lamya received first prize in the Emirates Film Festival, as well as Ibdaa Special Jury Award for her movie titled, Wet Tiles.


Her work is part of the permanent collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE and Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE.  


Gargash currently lives and works in Dubai.