Jalal Abuthina | Jettisoned on Atman

"In a distant star system, somewhere just beyond Orion's tail, lies a small sulphur planet with a single moon orbiting it.

To most spiritually evolved civilisations throughout the universe capable of celestial travel, this moon, known as Atman, is as revered as it is feared, and usually only ever spoken of in hushed reserve. Few know of its exact location, and even fewer the true details of its puzzling history.

Passage to this coveted and most sacred of places is reserved only through the Circle of Elders, and it is believed that entry into its gravity field can only take place post-ritual.

Visits to Atman are forbidden, even to members of the Circle. The only ones allowed to set foot on its sands are those known as the Emsheh, the unreachable. Members of the Emsheh tribe are considered throughout all worlds to be the most dangerous and corrupt of individuals. Believed to be stripped of all spirit, they pose the greatest threat to the state of cosmic peace that the Circle strives so hard to maintain.

Traditionally, on the rare occasion one is seized and in the custody of the Circle, Emsheh are taken to Atman to face their reckoning. No one can say for sure what happens on Atman when one is delivered there. But somehow, it conspires to give each visitor a unique experience, ultimately curing them of their abominations and afflictions.

As always, the Emsheh will emerge unscathed, rebirthed, and free from any memory of their time there..."


Jettisoned on Atman is the mystical series by Dubai-based visual artist, writer and photographer, Jalal Abuthina, featuring musician, Hamdan Al Abri. Jalal's personal work varies highly in subject matter and approach, and drifts between locally focused photo documentaries, public intervention projects, and his own personal excursions into the curious and surreal.


While location scouting around Dubai for this series, the artist came across an obscure construction site that rested on a small reclaimed island off one of the city's main beaches.

"For the past few years, the concrete pillars of the site had been covered by giant sand dunes by the developer to conceal the incomplete work, and at the end of last year, the sand was finally cleared before re-commencement of construction plans for the development. Throughout the years being buried in the sand, the combination of sea sand, salt and time had accumulated and interacted with the concrete and metal pillars in their own way - resulting in a very strange (but beautiful) aesthetic that set the site aside from any other I'd ever seen. Combined with the fact that the location was sealed off from the public and completely secluded on its own island, it looked and felt like a completely foreign place."


Both Jalal and Abri were drawn to the genuine mystique of the spot.

"We couldn't help but start throwing ideas back and forth at each other with the underlying inspiration seeding from the actual environment itself, and wanting to do something that could visually play on the impression of that first encounter we had with it. So we did, and it ended up being a mishmash of ideas woven into a storyline that was shot over two sunrises. Last month, the pillars were demolished and construction plans for a new beachside development have already begun on the site, so we were really happy about deciding to do the shoot there and to be able to capture this fluke occurrence in time in our own way."


Site hieroglyphics drawn by Naeemah Petersen, with clothing provided by Dubai based designer, Aliya Tair.