On a small peninsula that juts from the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, desert and water lap at the edge of skyscraper-cities. The disparate nature of Qatar’s impossible landscape is mirrored by its capitalist economy; built on the fossil fuel industry it has seen rapid development in the past thirty years, but at what cost?
‘Oasis’ by Russian photographer Danila Tkachenko explores this metamorphosis as a concept and truth. In the 2018 series that was commissioned by the Qatar Museum, Tkachenko looks at this apparent progress and Qatar’s history. “The residents of the country have ended up in a new reality over a very short time period”, he explains. “Moving from a country with a harsh desert climate, [with a] small amount of freshwater, where they always had to work hard to survive, they find themselves in a capitalist heaven.” Yet, by its very nature and despite its claims, capitalism has no winners and provides heaven only to the ‘lucky’ few. “The Qatari people, leaving behind the stark desert wearing traditional clothes and entering a new contemporary reality, are joyfully accepting all the benefits of the capitalist world, seeking more and more comfort and luxury”, Tkachenko notes. “At the same time, they are meeting the challenges of this new world. Will the Qatari people manage to retain their identity? Or will they lose their strength of will in such a comfortable environment? Will they yield to the destructive temptations and attractions of the new world? Only time will tell.”