Image-ining the Middle East

By Vija Mendelson, API Program Manager and Director of Intercultural Initiatives

As a visual artist who loves to travel, I think photography can be a great way to explore and engage with the places you visit.  The common thread in my work is experimenting with how original prints can be combined as raw material for my finished pieces – I’m intrigued by how multiple images fuse together to create a new reality, one that often mirrors imagination and/or memory. Although I usually work with film, I recently found a way to continue this approach with digital photos as well. In person, these pieces are two separate color digital prints on transparencies, layered and lit from behind with a lightbox effect. Online, these are simply two layered digital images. Regardless of the format, they often leave the viewer wondering where one image begins and the other ends.

I’ll be sharing some of this new work here on the API blog in photoessay form to highlight some of the great places we send students!  Featured first: the Middle East.


– Mosques in Katara cultural village in Doha

– The Pearl sculpture on the Corniche in Doha with the waters of the Gulf –

– The gates of Qatar University with Katara sun sails –

Qatar Foundation word sculptures on the Corniche in Doha

– Dovecotes in Katara cultural village in Doha

– Stop sign with Islamic brise-soleil pattern from Doha skyscraper –


– Abras on the Dubai Creek –

Bastakiya quarter in Dubai with jewelry from the Gold Souq –

– Burj Khalifa sculpture in front of Souk Madinat Jumeirah door in Dubai –

– View from the Main Building of the American University of Sharjah

– Mosque in downtown Sharjah

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi –

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  1. Lovely project. Many of the image overlays look like beautiful reflections.

  2. Brittany B says

    Wow, Vija these are so neat! Thanks so much for sharing your work! I love the way they really do make me think more deeply about the subject matter.

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