Abu Dhabi Art 2013

This was my first time attending Abu Dhabi Art (Nov. 20-23, 2013). I came in not knowing what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at what I saw, despite the mini-crisis of the weather shutting down one of the main exhibition halls- the Norman Foster-designed UAE Pavillion (more of that later). I first spent a few days in Dubai, checking out some of the local galleries. Third Line had a great exhibition by the Egyptian-American artist Sherin Guirguis, a first in the region for the artist. Third Line also had a great project space exhibition by the Pakistani artist Raja’a Khalid.  This archival- focused exhibition questions the objectivity of certain public documents, with a focus on how the discovery of oil in the Middle east was depicted in the Western press throughout the 1930s.

I then headed to Al Qouz where there were some excellent exhibitions. Lawrie Shabibi Gallery had a beautiful solo exhibition by the New York-based Lebanese artist Nabil Nahas. Green Art Gallery had a conceptually charged group exhibition titled Statue of Limitation, featuring such artists as Nazgol Ansarinia and Judith Sonnicken. Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde had a beautiful solo exhibition by the master conceptual Emirati artist Hassan Sharif. The timing of the exhibition couldn’t have been better, with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi announcing that it has acquired 63 works by the artist.

Overall Dubai was fun as always- I always have a great time when I am there, and it is always nice to catch up with galleries/friends/artists. I also had a great studio visit with Taymour Grahne Gallery artist, Mohammed Kazem (http://www.taymourgrahne.com/artists/mohammed-kazem), and I really enjoyed seeing some of his amazing new works, while also discussing plans for his upcoming solo exhibition at the gallery in the Fall of 2014. Mohammed Kazem was part of some great shows in the UAE, including Emirati Expressions and the Maraya Art Centre (more of that in an upcoming post).

After several days in Dubai, I took the one-hour drive to Abu Dhabi. The hotel of choice for this year’s Abu Dhabi Art crowd was the St. Regis, due to its proximity to the fair. As I pulled up, I saw that the hotel lobby and grounds were overtaken by art fair attendees-  dealers, collectors, curators, and more. It was a nice experience staying in a hotel that was filled with members of the art world.

The first VIP day at the fair saw both halls packed. I enjoyed the two-hall set up, allowing for a break up.  What really impressed me in the first hall was the quality of the Modern Arab Masters. Meem Gallery had an incredible booth, split into 2 sections- modern and contemporary. It’s modern booth was made up of a large Moudaress, a Kayyali, a sculpture by Dia Azzawy, and most impressively of all, a work by Algerian Modernist M’hamed Issakheim titled Femme et Mur. To be frank, this was the first time I had ever come across or even heard about this artist, but was extremely impressed. Meem Gallery’s curated contemporary section witnessed a triple whammy, with paintings by contemporary art stars Jeffar Khaldi, Khaled Hafez, and Mahmoud Obaidi. The theme of the contemporary section was based on John Lennon’s 1971 song ‘How do you sleep?’

photo

Modern Section of Meem Gallery Stand at Abu Dhabi Art

Contemporary Section of Meem Gallery Stand at Abu Dhabi Art

Contemporary Section of Meem Gallery Stand at Abu Dhabi Art

London’s Park Gallery also had an incredible booth this year! The booth featured one of the most stunning works I have ever come across. The work, titled Le Vieux Sycamore de Rod El Farag Egpypte ,was by French-Egyptian artist George Sabbagh. The gallery also had a fantastic Kayyali and an incredibly colorful Fateh Moudaress on display.

The Park Gallery booth Abu Dhabi Art 2013

The Park Gallery booth Abu Dhabi Art 2013

Georges Sabbagh - Le Vieux Sycamore

Georges Sabbagh – Le Vieux Sycamore

Louay Kayyali - The Match Seller

Louay Kayyali – The Match Seller

Along that same stretch of the exhibition hall, I also really enjoyed Lawrie Shabibi’s booth, which featured works by Nabil Nahas and Driss Oudahi. Lurking in the background of the booth, I noticed see-through vases in different colors. On closer inspection these vases smelt perfumed, and I soon discovered they were made out of soap! These traditionally-Korean shaped vases were the work of Korean artist Meekyoung Shin.

Nabil Nahas and Meekyoung Shin

Nabil Nahas and Meekyoung Shin

Third Line had 2 beautiful works by Tarek Al Ghoussein, and 2  works by Lebanese artistic duo Khalil Joreige and Joanna Hadjithomas. TTL also had a book signing for the artist’s new book.

Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas

Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas

Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas

Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas

Over at Agial’s gallery, the booth was filled with a mixture of contemporary and modern. The booth’s Ayman Baalbaki diptych were among the first to sell (as usual). The paintings are of 2 concrete barriers often found throughout Beirut- one with the word ‘Beirut’ written on it, the other ‘Wa3ed’ referring to Hezbollah’s construction wing. Here Ayman highlights the fragmentation of the city of Beirut into mini fiefdoms, where something so basic as a city’s concrete barriers being different depending on which part of the city you find yourself in. Agial’s booth also contained an outstanding Aref El Rayess, and 2 beautiful Gouaches by Lebanese modern master Saloua Rouda Choucair, who, since her Tate retrospective, has been getting some long overdue attention.

Ayman Baalbaki

Ayman Baalbaki

Youssef Abdelki

Youssef Abdelki

Youssef Abdelki

Youssef Abdelki

Saloua Raouda Choucair

Saloua Raouda Choucair

Saloua Raouda Choucair

Saloua Raouda Choucair

Over in the Norman Foster-designed UAE Pavillion, there was a heavy tilt toward galleries from outside the Middle East. New York’s Leila Heller Gallery had a booth with several beautiful Zenderoudis on display.

Charles Hossein Zenderoudi Untitled, 1981 Oil on canvas 51 x 38 in.

Charles Hossein Zenderoudi
Untitled, 1981
Oil on canvas
51 x 38 in.

Charles Hossein Zenderoudi Untitled, 1981 Oil on canvas 38 x 51 in.

Charles Hossein Zenderoudi
Untitled, 1981
Oil on canvas
38 x 51 in.

Galerie Isabelle Van Den Eynde featured beautiful works by Rokni Haerizadeh and Nargess Hashemi, among others. The work by Rokni was an overglaze painting on Meissen Porcelain.

Rokni Haerizadeh

Rokni Haerizadeh

Nargess Hashemi

Nargess Hashemi

Ayyam Gallery had some beautiful Abdulnasser Gharem works on display:

The-Stamp-Inshallah-by-Abdulnasser-Gharem-2011-300

The Stamp Inshallah by Abdulnasser Gharem,2011

One of my favorite booths of the fair was by Galerie El Marsa. On display were works by Modernist Tunisian artist and ceramist Khaled Ben Slimane. There were also several Zenderoudis, and a beautiful work by Modernist Hatim El Mekki – a great discovery for me!

_MG_9960

Hatim El Mekki

Khaled Ben Slimane 2013 Ceramics 85x40 cm

Khaled Ben Slimane
2013
Ceramics
85×40 cm

Khaled Ben Slimane Ascension II,2013 Acrylic on canvas 80x60cm

Khaled Ben Slimane Ascension II,2013
Acrylic on canvas
80x60cm

The excitement of the first day quickly wore off as a storm approached the UAE. Early in the morning before dawn, the he Norman Foster-designed UAE Pavillion started leaking, with tens of millions of dollars worth of valuable art work locked inside. Shippers and installers quickly came in to start packing up the works to store them in a safe location. Nonetheless, there was some confusion amongst gallerists as to what was going on. Abu Dhabi Art came out to officially announce that due to the storm, the entire fair would be closed for the time being. Eventually, dealers were allowed in to help pack up, and we got word that the fair would reopen, but only the exhibition hall that had no leakage. All talks were also postponed until the following day.

That night, the second hall opened much later at 7 pm to a slightly diminished crowd. Dealers, however remained upbeat, as the Abu Dhabi Art organizers were hard at work trying to figure out a way to accommodate the dealers that were in the UAE Pavillion The next day, as the second hall opened as usual, fair organizers decided to use an empty hall for galleries that were in the UAE Pavillion to display some of their works in smaller booth. It was this quick thinking that earned the organizers praise however, as they proved to be accommodating.

The talks were extremely interesting, and included a discussion between Reem Fadda and Syrian-German artist Mawran, and talks with Shirazeh Houshiary and Haegue Yang, among others.

Overall, even with the unpredictable consequences of the weather, and the evacuation of  the Norman Foster-designed UAE Pavillion, the fair proved to be a good one. There was a mixture of top tier local and international galleries, great talks, and a steady stream of spectators. The quality of the contemporary works overall was mixed, but the modern Arab artworks were truly top notch. Galleries were happy with the fair, with all I spoke to stating they would definitely return for Abu Dhabi Art 2014.

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Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige Talk at the Guggenheim!

On Monday, December 2, Reem Fadda, Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, will engage with Lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige in a lively discussion about their practice from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Guggenheim in New York! Join us there!

For more information, click here:

http://blogs.guggenheim.org/checklist/two-artists-one-decades-long-practice/?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=sm&utm_campaign=srgm-facebook

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The Auction Room: Middle Eastern Contemporary Art Auction!

AUCTION INFORMATION:

Specialist in charge:
Janet Rady 
Email: mideasternart@theauctionroom.com
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7499 4406

Exhibition Information:
17th – 18th September: 10am – 7pm
19th September: 10am – 6pm
27 + 28 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG

AUCTION OVERVIEW:

The Auction Room is the first London-based auction house to conduct online auctions in the Contemporary Middle Eastern market.

Janet Rady, the specialist in charge of the auction, has commented, “in recent years there has been a huge surge of interest in the region and we are delighted to be filling a gap in the current market. With estimates ranging from £1,000 to £60,000, the auction provides the perfect opportunity for a variety of collectors from all parts of the world to participate”.

The auction features works by well-known and up-and-coming Arab and Iranian artists, including: Ahmed Alsoudani, Lalla Essaydi, Diana Al-Hadid, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Ramin Haerizadeh, Hayv Kahraman, Shirin Neshat, Ali Shirazi and Soheila Sokhanvari. A selection of works come from the critically acclaimed exhibition: Unveiled: New Art from The Middle East held in 2009 at the Saatchi Gallery, London.

Many of the works confront the political and social issues of the artists’ native countries with a clarity and bravery which, in several cases, has resulted in exile or arrest, whilst they also draw clear influence from and take great pride in their county’s artistic heritage and legacy of decorative arts.

AUCTION DATE:

19th September 2013 at 7:00pm ADD TO CALENDAR

Check out the works in the auction here:

http://theauctionroom.com/auctions/4 

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Huffington Post: An Interview with Taymour Grahne, on the Occasion of the Opening of His Gallery in New York

Check out Taymour Grahne discussing the upcoming gallery with the Huffington Post! 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-scarborough/an-interview-with-taymour_b_3770691.html#slide=2813000

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FotoFest International

FOTOFEST INTERNATIONAL | http://www.fotofest.org

FotoFest Announces Theme and Dates 

for the 2014 International Biennial

CONTEMPORARY ARAB PHOTOGRAPHIC ART

Photography, Video and Mixed-Media Art

March 15 – April 27, 2014

Houston, Texas

U.S.A.

Khaled Hafez (Egypt) The A77A Project: on Presidents & Superheroes (still from video), 2009

Khaled Hafez (Egypt) The A77A Project: on Presidents & Superheroes (still from video), 2009

 

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JUNE 15, 2013 – FotoFest International announces Contemporary Arab Photographic Art as the theme for its 2014 Biennial Exhibitions of photography, video and multi-media installations. The Biennial is showcasing more than 40 contemporary Arab artists addressing a broad range of aesthetic and cultural values impacting Arab culture. The FotoFest 2014 Biennial, the Fifteenth International Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art, takes place March 15 through April 27, 2014, in Houston, Texas.

ARAB PROGRAMS

“The FotoFest 2014 Biennial will present a focused selection of the best contemporary photography, video and photo-based installation art being done by Arab artists in the Middle East and North Africa,” says FotoFest Senior Curator and Artistic Director Wendy Watriss. “The Biennial emphasizes ideas and subjects important to contemporary Arab artists working with these media.”

FotoFest has commissioned one of the world’s leading experts on contemporary Arab art, Karin Adrian von Roques, as the principal curator for these exhibitions. Ms. von Roques has worked for over 20 years in the Middle East with exhibitions and publications on contemporary Arab art. She is one of the first curators in Europe to have initiated a series of exhibitions strategically aimed at bringing the work of Arab artists to the attention of a broader, international public. 

“The FotoFest 2014 Biennial will be the first presentation of contemporary photo-based, video and mixed-media art from Arab countries to be done in the United States in recent years,” says Ms. von Roques. “We are presenting work from some of the most important Arab artists working today.”

2014 BIENNIAL THEME AND DATES – 06/15/2013,

FOTOFEST 2014 BIENNIAL

Hassan Meer (Oman), Reflection from the Memory, 2009

Hassan Meer (Oman), Reflection from the Memory, 2009

Photography and video are particularly important mediums for creative expression in contemporary Arab societies. With the expansion of the Internet in the 1990s, a whole generation of younger people took up photography and video as a way to present artistic ideas.

“In looking at the works of many contemporary Arab artists working with photography, we have seen a number of common themes,” says Ms. von Roques. “The FotoFest 2014 Biennial will feature these recurring subjects. They include: the emergence of secular art and culture in modern societies; the desert as metaphor; religion and faith in everyday life; a sense of belonging and feelings of estrangement; the complexities of East-West relationships; the rapidity of social, economic and environmental change, particularly in the Gulf region; the position of women in Arab societies; and the recent political changes in so many Arab countries.”

The exhibitions feature Arab artists living and working in 14 states and territories, including the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Syria and Iraq. Among the artists are Ahmad Mater, Boushra Almutawakel, Steve Sabella and Khaled Hafez. A full list of artist names will be released in January 2014.

FotoFest’s Artistic Director and Senior Curator, Wendy Watriss, known for her expertise in international photography and close working relationships with artists throughout the world, is collaborating with Ms. von Roques on the selection of artists and artworks for the biennial exhibitions.

“We are very pleased to be working with Karin von Roques,” says Fred Baldwin, FotoFest Chairman. “Having curated exhibitions worldwide with contemporary Arab artists, she is a respected and knowledgeable authority on the region and its cultures. She is one of the world’s major consultants on contemporary art in this field.”

Additional Arab programs organized by FotoFest for the Biennial include Lectures and Forums with Arab artists, curators, scholars and cultural activists such as Reem Al Faisal, Dr. Ahmed Mustafa and Ali Khadra; artist and curator Tours of the Arab exhibitions; and a Student Curriculum for grade schools about Arab art and culture. FotoFest will produce a four-color hardcover book on the Arab exhibitions with scholarly essays, artist biographies and related information on contemporary Arab photographic arts.

OTHER 2014 BIENNIAL PROGRAMS

As one of the world’s best known and respected photography festivals, the FotoFest Biennial will feature over 100 independent exhibitions and events organized by participating museums, art galleries, non-profit art centers and corporate spaces across the city of Houston and adjoining areas.

FotoFest’s contemporary Arab programs will be accompanied by FotoFest’s renowned 16-day international portfolio review for artists, The Meeting Place, March 15–April 2, 2014. FotoFest’s international fine print benefit auction, done with Sotheby’s New York, is scheduled for Monday, March 24, 2014, with a weekend of special programs for collectors.

FotoFest will also present the non-thematic, biennial Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibition of works by 10 artists selected by multiple curators from the FotoFest 2012 portfolio review.

Khaled Hafez (Egypt)
The A77A Project: on Presidents & Superheroes (still from video), 2009

2014 BIENNIAL THEME AND DATES – 06/15/2013, PAGE 2

FOTOFEST 2014 BIENNIAL

ABOUT KARIN ADRIAN VON ROQUES

For the past twenty years, Karin Adrian von Roques’ professional focus has been modern and contemporary art from the Middle East. Upon finishing her studies of Islamic Art in Bonn, Germany, she became interested in modern and contemporary art from Arab countries and pioneered academic exploration and exposure of outstanding artists in this field. She began a series of strategic programs to bring concepts central to the works of contemporary Arab artists to the attention of a broader public by means of museum and gallery exhibitions. Aware that contemporary art from Islamic countries takes place within a wider socio-political context and dialogue, Ms. von Roques has organized and participated in seminars, interviews, publications and auctions throughout the world to generate intercultural dialogue on the subject of Arab culture.

Ms. von Roques has been an art advisor and art historian to numerous museums and has worked as a special consultant for Islamic exhibitions such as From Bagdad to Isafahan — Islamic Manuscripts and Miniatures, Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, 1994–95. In 1997 she became the Founding Director of the Hesse Museum in Lugano, Switzerland focusing on programs about ethics and intercultural dialogue. She has curated more than twenty international museum and gallery exhibitions, among them: Written Cosmos — Arabic Calligraphy and Literature throughout the Centuries, Museum of Applied Arts, Frankfurt, Germany, 2004; Languages of the Desert — Contemporary Arab Art from the Gulf States, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Kunstmuseum) Bonn, Germany, 2005 (traveled to the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France, 2006; the Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2007; and Galleria Metropolitana, Barcelona, Spain, 2006); The Present Out of the Past Millennia — Contemporary Art from Egypt, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Kunstmuseum) Bonn, 2007; and The Art of Writing — Contemporary Calligraphy from Three Cultures, Art Forum, Kurhauskolonnaden, Wiesbaden, May 2011.

Among Ms. Von Roques’ writings and publications are: The Situation of Contemporary Arab Art, catalogue essay for the exhibition Languages of the Desert, Dumont Verlag Cologne, 2005; The Present Out of the Past Millennia — Contemporary Art from Egypt, catalogue essay for the exhibition of the same title, Wienand Verlag Cologne, 2007; and Perfect Harmony — The Calligraphy of Khaled Al Saai, catalogue essay for the retrospective of Khaled Al Saais work at Centre Culturel Francais de Damas, Syria, 2009.

ABOUT FOTOFEST INTERNATIONAL 

Founded in 1983, FotoFest International was established to promote international awareness of museum-quality photo-based art from around the world. FotoFest is a non-profit photographic arts and education organization based in Houston, Texas. The first FotoFest Biennial was held in 1986. It is the first and longest running photographic arts festival in the United States. It is considered as one of the leading international photography Biennials in the world.

As an international platform for serious photographic arts exhibitions, the FotoFest Biennial has become known as a showcase for the discovery and presentation of important new work and new talent from around the world. The Biennial takes place citywide in Houston with participation from the leading art museums, art galleries, non-profit art spaces, universities and civic spaces. The Arab exhibitions will take place in FotoFest’s headquarters gallery and three to four additional FotoFest art spaces.

The Biennial has an audience of 275,000 people from thirty-one countries. This audience includes a select group of 150 museum curators, gallerists, publishers, editors, photography collectors, directors of non-profit art spaces and international festivals from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada and the United States.

FOTOFEST 2014 BIENNIAL SPONSORS

Early institutional supporters of the FOTOFEST 2014 BIENNIAL are The Brown Foundation Inc., JP Morgan Chase Foundation; the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; Houston Endowment, Inc.; The Wortham Foundation; and Texas Commission on the Arts.

FotoFest 2014 Biennial Curator, Karin Adrian von Roques.

Photo by Franz Fischer

2014 BIENNIAL THEME AND DATES – 06/15/2013, PAGE 3

FOTOFEST 2014 BIENNIAL

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My Day at the Tate

         The Tate Modern is one of world’s most renowned institutions. The museum is a powerful force in the art world, often influencing the art market, and catapulting the careers of artists onto the global stage. I have deep respect for this institution, and by the fact that it is a truly global museum, which is evident with the current list of exhibitions, including: Sudanese Ibrahim El Salahi, Lebanese Saloua Raoudah Choucair, and Mashcac Gaba from Benin.

            The fact that the Tate is showcasing 3 significant and groundbreaking shows on these artists highlights the museum’s commitment and dedication to exhibiting art from across the world, and to provide a much-needed platform for non euro-centric artists. It is line with the increasing attention the art world is giving the global south as of late, including the regions of Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South East Asia. I foresee more institutional focus on the global south, with the Tate taking the lead. 

Saloua Raouda Choucair

17 April – 20 October 2013

Self Portrait 1943 © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

Self Portrait 1943 © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

          I was deeply joyed to be able to see one of the Middle East’s finest artists finally get the recognition they deserve. It was also fascinating to be able to witness the first retrospective by an Arab artist to ever be held at the Tate. This is a significant and groundbreaking show, and is a high point for Middle Eastern art, highlighting the serious global interest in artists from the region. The Choucair retrospective was outstanding, and the exhibition features works from the 1940s-1980s, and includes both the artist’s paintings and her incredible sculptures.

         Choucair, born in 1916, is a pioneer in the field of Abstract art in the Middle East. Although an incredibly talented artist, it took Choucair many decades for people in Lebanon to pay attention to her. Firstly, as a woman during the 20th century in Lebanon, it wasn’t considered ‘acceptable’ to be an artist- especially a sculptor! Secondly, people at that time in Beirut simply could not understand her work and the concepts and ideas behind it. It was only in the past few years that Choucair has been getting the attention she deserves, the Tate retrospective being the cherry on the cake.

Infinite Structure © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

Infinite Structure © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

          Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art at the Tate, and curator of the show, mentions that she came across Choucair’s work by complete chance. While on a visit to Saleh Barakat’s Agial Gallery in Beirut, she spotted one of Hala’s sculptures. Morgan was immediately intrigued. After enquiring further, Morgan decided to pay a visit to Hala at her apartment. She was surprised to see decades worth of work exhibited all over Choucair’s apartment. Jessica couldn’t believe that an artist of such high caliber had been overlooked by the international art world for so long. Morgan took the initiative to make the situation right, and ended up holding Choucair’s retrospective at the Tate. The Tate also bought several of Choucair’s works for their own collection.

          The exhibition at the Tate is beautifully organized, showcasing and highlighting a variety of Choucair’s styles and works. Her works are deeply inspired by Islamic art and architecture, geometric patterns, and calligraphic scripts. According to the catalogue essay that accompanies the show, “Choucair was interested in using the two basic elements of Islamic design- the straight line and the curve- as a starting point to create simple shapes which she duplicated in various combinations and divisions across the picture plane.” Some of her sculptures look like architectural studies. A key component of her work is the flexibility of the sculptures, allowing one to change round parts of the sculpture, forming different configurations. She uses many mediums in her sculptures including stone, wood, metal, plastic and fiberglass. 

Poem, 1963-1965 Infinite Structure © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

Poem, 1963-1965 Infinite Structure © Saloua Raouda Choucair Foundation

Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist

3 July – 22 September 2013

Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams 1962-1963 © Ibrahim El-Salahi

Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams 1962-1963 © Ibrahim El-Salahi

         Ibrahim El Salahi, a pioneering Sudanese artist who was born in 1930, also currently has an exhibition at the Tate. This is highly significant as Ibrahim is the first African artist to be given a retrospective at the Tate. This exhibition features more than 100 works, encompassing over 5 decades of El Salahi’s career. As written in the show’s catalogue, “His work draws from an imagination deeply rooted in the Islamic traditions of his homeland, which he fuses with an extraordinary mastery of the Western canon, a profound knowledge of African abstraction and an inventive representation of Arab calligraphy.”

Female Tree 1994 Reborn  © Ibrahim El-Salahi

Female Tree 1994 Reborn © Ibrahim El-Salahi

The Tree 2003 © Ibrahim El-Salahi

The Tree 2003 © Ibrahim El-Salahi

          El Salahi’ work references both African and Arab modernism. El Salahi was a founder of the Khartoum School, aimed at creating a distinct Sudanese aesthetic. His meticulous line drawings are highly impressive. El Salahi was educated at his father’s Quranic school, where he mastered calligraphy. He currently lives in Oxford, England.

Self-Portrait of Suffering 1961 © Ibrahim El-Salahi

Self-Portrait of Suffering 1961 © Ibrahim El-Salahi

Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art

3 July – 22 September 2013

© Meschac Gaba Kunsthalle Fridericianum

© Meschac Gaba Kunsthalle Fridericianum

        The Tate also currently has a large exhibition by the Benin artist Meschac Gaba. The show, titled Museum of Contemporary African Art, features twelve different rooms, fusing art and daily life. The artist, who created this show over a period of five years (1997-2002), questions the nature of the idea of museums and how African art is perceived. The exhibition is highly interactive, allowing viewers to read books at the exhibition’s library, and eat at its restaurant.

© Meschac Gaba Kunsthalle Fridericianum

© Meschac Gaba Kunsthalle Fridericianum

© Meschac Gaba Kunsthalle Fridericianum

© Meschac Gaba Kunsthalle Fridericianum

Monir Farmanfarmaian

       After touring the 3 exhibitions, I decided to take a walk around some of the exhibition rooms housing some of the Tate’s permanent collection. It was very exciting to see 2 stunning works by Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian.

IMG_00000076

        Farmanfarmaian, who was born in Iran in 1924, is famous for her mirror mosaic works, which were inspired by her childhood in Qazvin, Iran. These mirror mosaics were at one point used to decorate interiors of Iranian homes. The origin of these mirror mosaics is very interesting: in the sixteenth century large mirrors were being shipped from Venice to Iran, but many of these shipments arrived with the mirrors broken into pieces. The Iranians didn’t want to throw away the precious pieces, so they put the fragments in plaster, and used for decoration.   

IMG_00000073 

 

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FT Article from 2007: Saatchi in talks on opening gallery in art-hungry UAE

What happened to the proposed gallery Charles Saatchi was hoping to set up in Dubai in 2007? Very interesting FT article I came across from 2007- had no idea!

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9a187d92-94b1-11dc-9aaf-0000779fd2ac.html#axzz2YCtDkN00

 

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