The Y

Thailand/United Kingdom


Alba Zari uses photography as a means of investigation and self-analysis in search of her father whom she has never met. The Y was missing. At the age of 25, she found out that she did not have the same Thai blood as her brother. She only had a few clues regarding her father’s identity: she knew his name, that he was Iraqi and that he worked for Emirates Airlines. After a DNA test and an exhaustive gathering of official documents, she discovered a American legal father, Gary, homeless, whom she met in Los Angeles. She then went through her family album to identify the hereditary physical characteristics that do not appear in her mother’s genetic code.

Using physiognomy and its exclusion principle as a basis, she created a 3D avatar of this unknown biological father from her own face modelled in 3D. To this day, this is the only picture she has of this man called Massad, who at present only lives in a virtual world.

About the artist

Born in Bangkok in 1987 where she lived until she was eight, Alba Zari later grew up in Italy. She has studied cinema at the DAMS in Bologna as well as documentary photography at the ICP, New York. In her practice, she explores themes relating to society with an introspective sensitivity and an autobiographical streak. She now lives and works in London.