Ben Soedira

Ben Soedira
United Arab Emirates
Born and raised in Dubai, but now living in Glasgow, UK, Ben Soedira’s work examines what it means for a place to be recognised and understood.


His work revolves around the ideas of belonging and foreignness coinciding with each other to create the idea of home and familiarity. His visual work follows the documentary elements within the photographic medium, whilst pushing the photographic image in ways that can be read conceptually and descriptively.

Having graduated in Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art, Soedira’s photographs address political, social and personal issues. The photographs become a way of exploring both conceptually and in a documentative manner the world’s current state.


Foreign Sands

Ben Soedira’s Foreign Sands is an exploration of what constitutes ‘home’. Having lived in a country foreign to his parent’s background, Soedira has been surrounded by the modernisation of culture and people. Foreign Sands uses the metaphor of the landscape to visually express the growth and development by which people have influenced a city. In this case Dubai, a city purely built on foreign elements, from imported sand to manipulating its own natural resources in order to seamlessly construct the impossible.

Foreign Sands displays metaphors that subtly show this, through images of clothing that blend within the natural landscape, to the growing community of Kushti wrestlers fighting for a place they can call home. Images of sand and dust speak about the desert and its ever-shifting landscape, much like Dubai itself. Making Dubai a reflection of a globalised society, a place that has been influenced and built up by foreign cultures. As the city rapidly moves forward we begin to forget what is truly important, a kind of ‘urban amnesia’. People shift the direction and meaning of home by creating their own communities and life within a changing urban landscape.

Dubai is home for the artist despite that officially on paper being Glasgow. Through the work Soedira questions what constitutes home and identity in his own life. It leads him to ask Where am I from and what truly is home for me? Dubai is a place that feels strangely foreign to Soedira, but at the same time he is very comfortable in. Yet with everything in motion it excites him to see his home shift and expand in new directions; a place that allows all cultures and nationalities to bring something from their own motherland to this new home.