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Garden of Delight

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Fascinating and estranging image of Dubai by photographer Nick Hannes

Dubai has developed into a vast theme park, where you can ski in the desert and swim with dolphins. Forever in search of illusions, we lose sight of reality. What does that do to your imagination? How many more malls, theme parks and hotels does a society need?”

— Nick Hannes


The rapid transformation of Dubai from a regional trade post in the sixties to the ultramodern metropolis of today, fascinates both supporters and critics. With its enormous shopping malls, artificial islands and iconic sky scrapers, the small emirate in the Persian Gulf is a world player in the field of tourism, real estate and business.

But Dubai is also a generic city: a city without historical layers, without character, without identity. The public domain is being privatized at a high pace, activities mainly take place in artificial indoor spaces such as malls, gated communities and amusement parks.

Success story or megalomania? In Garden of Delight, photographer Nick Hannes paints an estranging and unsettling image of Dubai’s entertainment industry, its consumerism and market-driven urbanization. His pictures showcase Dubai as the ultimate playground of globalization and capitalism, and raise questions about authenticity and sustainability.

The series Garden of Delight won the Magnum Photography Award 2017 and the Zeiss Photography Award 2018. The exposition Garden of Delight ran from 15.12.2018 until 3.03.2019 in De Garage in Mechelen, Belgium.

  • 27 x 20,4 cm
  • 188 pages
  • Softcover with flaps
  • Quadrichromy
  • Bilingual edition English-French
  • ISBN 978 94 9267 776 1

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