Short biography

© Sarah Dobai, Hidden in Plain Sight, 2015, film still (detail)
© Sarah Dobai, Hidden in Plain Sight, 2015, film still (detail)

Sarah Dobai

Visual Arts

September, October, November 2020

Auswärtiges Amt

Sarah Dobai’s practice is based in photography but extends into film, publication and performance. Her work reflects on the central position of a photography and cinema in relation to on-going debates around representation, realism and authorship. Her recent work has focused on re-enacting and repurposing historical works of literature or cinema as a means to animate and foreground concerns with present-day social and political conditions.

Recent projects include the performance and photo prose poem work Bees in a Hive of Glass made in collaboration with novelist Tom McCarthy commissioned by TANK and Whitstable Biennale.  Recent exhibitions include her solo show Principles & Deceptions at Or Gallery (Vancouver) and Filet (London) and The Vanishing Point in History with Matthew Buckingham, Uriel Orlow and Lina Selander for L’été Photographique de Lectoure (Gers, France).

Her publication The Overcoat comprised a republication of Nikolai Gogol’s classic novella (1842), was published by Four Corners Books and featured photographs of commercial vitrines in London and Paris considering these displays in relation to the confusion of surface appearance with reality that figures both in the story and on the streets of the city. Other exhibitions include Theatres of the Real, Fotomuseum Antwerp, Belgium; Darkside II, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; and City Lives, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery; The London Open, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; On the Nature of Things, Kamloops Art Gallery, British Columbia, Canada; and Troubled Water, Kuandu Museum of Fine Art, Taipei.

Sarah Dobai is currently working on the new film work The Donkey Field which centers on a factual account of a child’s experience of displacement and persecution in the setting of a Europe in the recent past or future.

She completed an Masters in Fine Art at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, working with Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace. She lives and works in London and is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts.