Instituto Sacatar Fellow 2018 for her underwater photographic practice and 2016 Recipient of AFAC (Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) Performing Arts Grant 2016 and The Marlborough Theatre's Professional Development Scheme 2018 for her unique performance based process of storytelling 'LPP' (Live.Projection.Painting); Estabrak is an award winning Visual Artist & Film Maker currently based between London and Muscat. She is originally from Iraq, born in Iran and raised in London, after having come to the UK with her family as a child refugee.
With an arts background in Central Saint Martins and a Masters in film & media production, she is both by nature & nurture; a storyteller. Previous works have found themselves showcased on an international basis in such places as New York, Dubai and Berlin, along the way exhibiting at Royal Academy of Arts, & TATE Britain, London, UK.
She has been a part of some pioneering projects such as 'Imagine Art After' and has had her work presented to the UN as well as having been commissioned and supported by numerous organisations including 'The Helen Tetlow Memorial Fund', 'Red Bull Oman' and 'The Alserkal Cultural Foundation'.
Often lead by emotions, particular interest lies in honest approaches to un-silence ignored sociopolitical realities usually explored through progressive, multidisciplinary ways of storytelling. Something well identified in her ambitiously proposed, long-term, underwater photographic series 'World Under Water'(WUW) which looks at the sociopolitical intersection between human relationships, identity, culture, fabric, water and the environment. WUW's award winning first edition; Omanis Under Water (OUW) (2014+), received international success and acclaim with it's second edition Brazilians Under Water (BUW) having started in 2018. Recently having been interviewed and named one of 'five incredible underwater artists' by BBC's seriously section as part of 'Pursuit of Beauty: Art Beneath the Waves' podcast, BBC Radio 2018.
Her work explores the relationship between the body and oneself, poking at questions relevant to our existence. Subject matters run between identity, memory, culture, equality, gender, tradition, environment and understanding. Estabrak’s works are fueled by the concepts of existing in places we cannot exist in for long periods of time. They play on the ideas of reality and fiction as well as the use of water based elements both as mediums and as a physical representation of cultural discourse. Whether it be through photography, painting, performance or film; the diversity in the meaning of using water lends itself well to such a multi-disciplinary show. Through this, her work attempts to draw out on the emotional intersection between the personal, social and political.
In Estabrak’s current line of performance based works, mythology is an underlying current. There, she has found many stories; verbal recitals of undocumented herstory. The blur between reality and mythology comes into play through her unique live projection-painting (LPP). Performance work is a concept she has been exploring for a number of years now. LPP is a method that involves immersive experiences through film, live painting and live performance for site specific spaces. “It's all about that reach; that journey between us and the unknown and the layering of the dimensions between the two.” Within the performances; reality, space and time are questioned via the physical layering of images which often causes the viewer to rethink their own understanding. It is a film revealed through touch, viewed through sight and received through layers of sounds and emotions. Stories fueled with origins of loss and memory; erupt into a non verbal dialogue between artist and audience.
In 2016 she was supported by 'Mawa3eed Travel Grant' to partake with a project in Morocco with her unique style of storytelling; LPP (Live Projection Painting) where she uses her multidisciplinary techniques to paint films to life - live. She presented 'Tales of the Mother tongue' at her first Biennale; The 6th Marrakesh Biennale 2016 (MB6), which has recently gone on to tour in Venice/Italy and Brighton/UK. She is co-creator of the practice of LPP along with her all female London collaborative; Thre3 Strokes (Athena Anastasiou, Emily Campbell-Burdette, Estabrak Al-Ansari). Since 2014 she has been developing & working on her solo collection of LPPs internationally, bringing this unique art form to the Middle East, North Africa and Theatre.