I started this project during the global financial crisis, in 2009, although some of the scenes were photographed earlier. Initially I was attracted to the construction sites that were mothballed during that time. People were leaving the city in large numbers, newspapers claimed that supercars were being dumped at the airport in their hundreds.
I started to imagine a Dubai of the future, abandoned by people and colonised by released zoo animals. The resultant project went viral in 2011 and was featured in news and other media all around the world. Huffington post referred to it as their ‘favourite post-apocalyptic art’ of 2012 (the year when the Mayans supposedly predicted the end of the world) Personally, I never intended it to be viewed as post-apocalyptic.
It was first exhibited in a solo exhibition in Shelter, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai, in 2013 and subsequently at a number of other locations. It’s received quite a few international awards and was made into a wonderful public space installation by Monica Allende, in a disused petrol station at Getxo Photo festival in 2017, which revived interest; later that year it was featured in an article in Internazionale Magazine in Italy, written by Christian Caujolle, and in the Guardian online here.