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Art Dubai


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Art Dubai Magazine

Art Dubai Magazine

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  • 1. January - March | 2008 1
  • 2. Banking & Brokerage | Financial Markets | Islamic Finance | Professional Service Providers | Re-insurance & Captives | Wealth Management Your Gateway to Growth January - March | 2008 1
  • 3. FORM LONDON | ART + DESIGN MODERN + CONTEMPORARY 28 FEB - 2 MAR 2008 OLYMPIA Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Ahmed R. Abou Naja Creative Director Marwa R. Abou Naja Design Editor & Photographer Al Zahraa Sulaiman Editorial Assistant Afreen Ahmad Guest Editor Laura Trelford Marketing Executive Mark Hartnett Art Consultant - UAE Rawan Muwahid Editorial Consultant – Doha Mohammad Nabil Suleiman Editorial Consultant – USA Maher Sami quot;Collidonthusquot; resin, steel, brass. life-size. Coverpage | Jitish Kallat Published by ‘Collidonthus’ (2007) is a life-size recreation of an accident-hit car with simulated bones as if it were the re-structured remains of some prehistoric specie. Much of Kallat’s work responds to his bustling home city of Mumbai. The sculpture, somewhat grotesque, burlesque and arabesque in equal measure is rendered as a victim; shattered in the crossfire of a sectarian riot or the abandoned carcass of a discarded automobile in the fast- changing, strife-ridden Indian streetscape. Image courtesy of the artist and Albion Gallery, London. Tickets: 0871 231 0820 LONDON’S ONLY MODERN + CONTEMPORARY ART + DESIGN EXHIBITION See, buy and celebrate 20th and 21st Century Art, Design, Photography and Sculpture Soura Magazine | Special Edition 2 January - March | 2008 3
  • 4. CONTENTS Introductory 08 statements 28 Participating Galleries 08 Art Projects Educational 28 Initiatives International 08 Curators in Dubai 28 Other local exhibitions Soura Magazine | Special Edition 4 January - March | 2008 5
  • 5. Art Dubai Monday 18:00 - midnight START Charity Fundraiser, Timetable takes 17 March 2008 at the DIFC place every March at Tuesday 19:00 – 22:00 Patrons Preview the Madinat Arena. As 18 March 2008 the first contemporary art Wednesday 10:30 - 18:30 Global Art Forum fair in Dubai, the Fair has 19 March 2008 14:00 – 17:00 17:00 - 22:00 Vernissage Preview become a cornerstone for the rapidly growing Thursday 10:30 - 19:30 Global Art Forum 20 March 2008 12:00 - 20:00 Public Day art community of the Friday 10:30 - 18:30 Global Art Forum Middle East. 21 March 2 2008 12:00 - 20:00 Public Day (Iranian New Year) The 2008 fair will host Saturday 11:00 – 17:00 Public Day nearly seventy galleries 22 March 2008 from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, North and South America, North Africa and Australia. Dates: 19th - 22nd March 2007 Venue: Madinat Jumeriah, Dubai Soura Magazine | Special Edition 6 January - March | 2008 7
  • 6. Art has boundless potential – it can create a world that hardly exists and then make you believe in it. It can capture and keep different cultures within and provide historical insights into a civilization past. Today, Soura joins hands with ‘Art Dubai’, to ring in a festival of art and commemorate this fantastic platform that will bring together EMIRATES PALACE artists from all over the world. We, at Soura, feel honored to publish the official magazine for ‘Art Dubai’ and let you delve into all the NOVEMBER 17 - 20, 2008 wonderful pieces of the art world. Soura has always followed photography and art closely. In fact in our latest issue, our selected artists seek to merge the two. But then, we have believed all along that photography is, indeed, a form of art. We do not seek fame or fortune; we only hope to be able to bring forth art in entirety; so that we, along with ‘Art Dubai’, are able to highlight the many worlds, the many cultures and the many faces of art, converging in our very own city of Dubai. Coming to you in a year which marks the second anniversary of the ascension of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we thus, pay tribute to the visions of Sheikh Maktoum - his visions of creating a modern and magnificent Dubai. Amidst this atmosphere of celebrations, ‘Art Dubai’ and Soura seek to create an amalgamation of international talent and local skill and vow to leave you with a brilliant perspective of both. Ahmed Abou Naja Publisher of Soura Magazine Soura Magazine | Special Edition 8 January - March | 2008 9
  • 7. I am delighted that Soura are a media partner for Art Dubai, they are a key new arts publication for the region and a very important vehicle for the growing number of talented photographers based here. We look forward to welcoming them to the fair and thank them for working with us on presenting this supplement. Anyone who visited Art Basel Miami this December will understand the concept of chronic art fatigue. Art Dubai seeks to offer both residents and visitors to the city this spring a taster of such an experience. The art scene in Dubai has developed at an expediential rate over the past year with new artists and curators coming to town and is proving it can become a seriously considered global art city. The fair itself will be substantially bigger, with galleries from across the world, many returning and many experiencing Dubai for the first time. There is a significant growth in Middle Eastern talent represented by these galleries, and that will be supported by a plethora of other art projects, videos and events. The Global Art Forum will take place over three days for the second time with a programme of talks and discussions tackling current pertinent issues within the contemporary art world. The new Art Park will entice visitors underground while ‘Desperately Seeking Paradise’ will retain people’s attention on the water terraces surrounding Fort Island. At a time when the international art world is looking to the Middle East, Art Dubai gives the city of Dubai a platform to demonstrate the wealth of local talent as well as welcoming globally recognized artists, curators, critics and collectors. We welcome you to a week of total art emersion! Laura Trelford Education & Project Manager, Art Dubai Soura Magazine | Special Edition 10 January - March | 2008 11
  • 8. John Martin Fair Director Art Dubai was the first international contemporary art fair in the Middle East. It sets itself apart by its international diversity whilst always seeking to maintain the highest curatorial and commercial standards. Whilst we acknowledge the importance of all forms of contemporary art, Art Dubai seeks out innovative and experimental work rather than traditional art forms. As such it follows the accepted practice and standards of most major international contemporary art galleries, foundations, fairs and public institutions working in the field of modern art. Art Dubai’s selection committee work to ensure the quality, independence and credibility of Art Dubai, and the fair seeks to be relevant within the region, as well as internationally. Art Dubai will seek ways to present contemporary art in an open and accessible, primarily enjoyable and secondly instructional. Most importantly, it has to be fun! We look forward to welcoming you to Art Dubai 2008. Art Dubai was founded by John Martin and Benedict Floyd and is run by a team in two offices, London and Dubai. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 12 January - March | 2008 13
  • 9. In a city whose landscape is forever changing, there is a new and welcome buzzword in Dubai: Art. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment in which this trend was unleashed, but for anybody familiar with Dubai this development has been dramatic. We are now fortunate to live in a city that not only offers beaches and luxury hotels, but also is home to international auction houses, a wealth of local art galleries, art magazines and, of course, a first class contemporary art fair. The foundations necessary for a city to lay claim to having a serious international art scene are being laid and over the next few years we will see how the local corporate world joins hands with this emerging local art scene. Historically corporate institutions have played a big role in supporting and becoming patrons of the arts: whether by building their own art collections, setting up foundations or sponsoring the arts, corporations are an essential player in promoting a thriving arts culture. Indeed we have already seen this in Dubai with the DIFC supporting the Fair. My role as the Managing Director of at Art Dubai has been to engage with the local corporate community, both the local companies and international firms, and to encourage them to get involved in the promotion of Dubai’s art scene. My discussions have resulted in the exchange of so many exciting ideas that it seemed that the most obvious next step would be to provide a platform to share these discussions with the public: and so the conference on Art & Patronage in the Business Age was born. Taking place on the 16-17 of March at the DIFC as part of the Global Art Forum, this conference brings together top international corporate collectors and patrons to talk about their experiences in the art world. It will make fascinating listening for businesses in Dubai, both for those who are already supporting the arts and those who are just curious to see what being an art patron is all about. These discussions aim to inspire, and it will be interesting to see over the next few years which companies emerge as true supporters of the arts and culture in Dubai. Asmaa Al-Shabibi Managing Director, Art Dubai Soura Magazine | Special Edition 14 January - March | 2008 15
  • 10. Introductory statements The Honorary Patron of Art Dubai is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, Ruler of Dubai. Visiting the art fair in March 2007 with John Martin through art. Art is an international integral to our vision. We firmly believe language that appeals equally to that Dubai can become a truly global diverse people. centre for art – and that the DIFC can play an integral role in that process. Art Dubai is not just a display of art Indeed. The DIFC art strategy is to pieces that is held for a couple of establish itself as both an international days once a year. It is an on-going and regional presence – collecting, process that takes place throughout displaying and promoting artists from the year in an ever-expanding cycle. this region and across the world. For example, the planning of the next event begins right after the current We are expanding the DIFC District, one is over. That includes a marketing the area immediately surrounding our and promotional campaign which financial centre, to publicly display aims to introduce the public to Art works of art from both the DIFC’s Dubai and what is new in it. What art own collection and regional and means and what is available in the international galleries. We’ve been market and who is new and which busy – and will be busier still in the work is in demand. It also highlights months to come. While such change trends and fashions increasing the will not occur overnight, I am confident visibility of both local and regional that we will realise our ambition over art. Works bought at Art Dubai or as time. Indeed, we have already begun The Islamic world has always a result of it benefit the buyers who the process of reaching out and appreciated art in all its forms and may have acquired works of art for communicating the universal value of in recent months there has been a pleasure or as an investment. the experience of art. resurgence of interest in contemporary art, not only in Dubai, but across the During the inaugural Gulf Art Fair, we The DIFC has a two-pronged region. This, I believe, is due in part received 9,000 visitors over the three approach in encouraging local to the growing recognition of some days it ran. We are pleased that some artists with their practice. The first is excellent artists that we have among 1,500 of them came from overseas. to identify promising talent and to us as well as the awareness generated We had works from 41 galleries and evaluate the work to see if it is world amongst the art-loving public through collective sales during the event had class. Once that is done, we bring that visiting art galleries as well as the efforts stood at US $9-11 million, a significant artist’s work to the public eye through of the Dubai International Financial figure for a first-time event of its kind exhibiting the work at the DIFC District Centre through initiatives such as Art in the Arab World. It also raised US as well as at the various art fairs and Dubai and its own collection. $500,000 in support of START – a project exhibitions. The DIFC also adds to its that funds children’s art workshops own collection, thus helping raise Since the inception of the DIFC in late in underprivileged areas in the the value of the works of local and 2004, we have had a clear desire to region. It had some 40 journalists from regional artists. promote the arts of the region in the abroad in addition to the 100 from region and the world. As DIFC bridges the region. Our target is to surpass all Art Dubai is very important to us. the East and the West and serves as these achievements. Art Dubai 2008 is It is an expression of the cultural the gateway to the financial world already double the size with seventy philosophy of the DIFC and as such to people in forty-two countries, we international galleries confirming is themed to promote Dubai and the additionally aim to be the gateway participation. We are paying special DIFC in all its aspects as a hub for art for art. Art Dubai, a DIFC subsidiary, attention to the galleries and artists – a meeting point of the Occident has been very successful. The DIFC from the region, South and Central and the Orient. As the DIFC brings has a significant art collection of its Asia and the Far East to ensure that together and promotes financial own, and has long considered the this truly global event serves as an union across the globe, Art Dubai collection, display and promotion of important showcase for contemporary and other art initiatives of DIFC aim regional and contemporary art as art to the world. to promote cultural understanding Soura Magazine | Special Edition 16 January - March | 2008 17
  • 11. Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC and Chairman of Art Dubai visits the DIFC Gulf Art Fair Soura Magazine | Special Edition 18
  • 12. Introductory statements Patricia Millns presented an art project at the first Art Dubai to tremendous Representative from the Board of Patrons: acclaim, and continues to be a pivotal figure in the growing art scene Princess Alia Al-Senussi speaks about stemming from Dubai. Laura Trelford asked her some questions: her experiences in Dubai LT Was it a success? LT You have been living and working as to find sophisticated collections and critics; Furthermore, I had to consider what for instance, I love the work of artists like artists and works to introduce and what an artist in the Middle East for many years. PM I think so. It brought some of the top Mariko Mori, the Campanas, Mark Bradford impact they would have on the public. I Why have you found yourself spending the and David Adjaye—although much of wanted to emphasize that contemporary galleries in the world here. It brought top majority of your time in Dubai recently? my taste is influenced by the contact I art need not be intimidating and also artists that showed international projects . It PM I have spent a lot of time here with have with these remarkable individuals. that even “difficult” pieces were open to allowed people who lived here to see some People are interested in art in the Middle interpretation, discussion and analysis for of the best galleries in the world right in their Arab artists over the past twenty-five years East but there must be significant acts of anyone who attended the fair. It bodes own city. The Global Art Forum brought and was an early member of the Emirates patronage and collecting surrounding well for the future that people expressed critical analysis and open discussion and this Fine Art Society. Recently with the growth this discourse. such interest in the art at the fair. has been followed by the Thinking Cloud of Dubai and the international interest in Princess Alia Al Senussi with Yasmin Alireza that you have formed. The international this major hub, art has been thriving- it is a Many of the galleries such as Albion Artists that are particularly significant After months of anxiety, hope and high gallery directors who came here brought a natural progression. Art auctions, the DIFC were successful with works from a wide to contemporary art in the Middle East expectations, one could never know what high buying group of people in that saw the Gulf Art Fair (now known as Art Dubai) the geographic range of artists such as are, of course, the obvious choices of the outcome would be but the inaugural local galleries and local artists. These were growth of galleries, art forums, international Shilpa Gupta, Kader Attia and Kristian Kader Attia, Walid Raad/The Atlas Group, DIFC Gulf Art Fair was inspirational. The good connections for the future besides quality art magazines and national Ryokan (however this was due by- and Mona Hatoum among others, but, entire region, not just the Gulf, feels the initial financial rewards. The international collections being built has all brought a and-large to non-local collectors) and also, I believe a real effort needs to be energized in terms of its commitment to press reports brought Dubai to the world art wider range of art and new media to some of their other bodies of work made to expand the collecting base contemporary art and architecture. I am markets attention. Dubai. It is very exciting and stimulating to will be shown as well as some new to support non-Arab/Iranian artists and a frequent visitor to Dubai, going about be a part of this. I am also involved in art LT What do you hope it will achieve during artists presented at the second fair. I non-traditional techniques. twice a year for the last eight years and I developmentand dubaiis the place. am excited for the 2008 edition of Art have never seen such a lively arts scene the next five years? LT What did Art Dubai bring to the region? Dubai and, of course, I am looking Collecting in general must NOT be seen among gallerists, collectors and institutions PM Next years gallery list is even bigger forward to all of the events surrounding as solely a regional exercise. Of course, as in the past year, which I almost wholly PM A whole different way of looking it--art fair veterans know sometimes special attention must be paid to Arab, attribute to the Gulf Art Fair. As a member and some great new galleries. The the most fun to be had, and the most Iranian and Turkish artists as well as to of the Board of Patrons of the fair, standard is high. i believe it will only and thinking about art in Dubai and for information to be found, is at the ancient art forms such as calligraphy, but I have had the opportunity to watch this develop and grow. I believe it will the Dubai looking at itself as an art market parties. I am particularly excited for artists and designers (and styles) from evolution. Although the region is still in the international fair for the region and the and being seen as an art market... the return of the Al-Madad dinner and around the world must be incorporated early stages of private and institutional Middle East will be seen as a valid area for an international art market. It was a Canvas and Bidoun events, as well as, into collections and museum shows--only collecting, there is great potential. I say this art and art collectors come to and buy. quantum leap for art for the region. of course, the Albion opening night in this manner will Dubai and the rest of the not just as a board member, but also as a party at Trilogy. Middle East be taken seriously as an area director of the Albion Gallery of London. “Wall and Ghost Haifa” Kader Attia Albion Gallery Soura Magazine | Special Edition 20 January - March | 2008 21
  • 13. Introductory statements “ Contemporary art is proving to be one of the most powerful and durable of international languages. — Jan Dalley, Financial Times Arts Editor “ This fair offers the chance for people to experience global art practices first hand whilst providing much needed support for the emerging regional arts scene — Charles Asprey, Curator & Collector “ Dubai has become the region’s art-trading hub. The culmination of all this interest will make the DIFC Gulf Art Fair one of the biggest contemporary art events in the region. — CNN Traveller “ Everyone agrees that Dubai is one of the most exciting places to be right now. And Art Dubai is one of the first great art initiatives. An art fair, as we have seen in Miami, along with several other key elements can act as an important instigator in the development of a cultural climate. — Dana Farouki, Member of Executive Committee, Art Dubai. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 22 January - March | 2008 23
  • 14. Introductory statements Selection Committee the contemporary – stimulating our work was a real surprise. A few months later we putting together this new fair. The idea was were quite astonished when some Arab Mario Cristiani, Maurizio Rigillo The seventy galleries have been to invite the galleries that can best help collectors came to San Gimignano & Lorenzo Fiaschi chosen from over four hundred to present and bring in Dubai what seems to visit the gallery, that is extremely rare Galleria Continua, San Gimignano applications by a Selection interesting and pertinent in the Western and a sign of progression. -Beijing Committee who met in Continua, Art World and, conversely, to show what Andrée Sfeir-Semler Director, Sfeir- San Gimignano in Summer 2007. seems interesting and pertinent in that Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany & The committee is made up of world over to Europe and USA. Beirut, Lebanon also a member of the Gallery Directors who participated selection committee comments: in DIFC Gulf Art Fair (now known We wanted the galleries which support art as Art Dubai) and span the globe. and artists in their country and abroad, with a dynamic and open-minded approach. In terms of selection, we have chosen The most exciting element of this Lorenzo Fiaschi, Director of Continua in terms of quality the best from the adventure is this new field of exchanges applications we got. I am personally very hosted this most important of meetings: and encounters that we have opened. happy that John did not make it too big. The future of this fair is to develop not only The fair has to concentrate on our part I was on the Cologne Art Fair a new market, but also new avenues of of the world, this is the strength of the fair Committee for four years, and the FIAC collaboration and projects that bring the but has at the same time to maintain Selection Committee for five years so Occident and Orient closer together. top quality, so we did not open doors to I was delighted to host the Selection Galleria Continua has a particular interest everybody as it wouldn’t have the level Committee for Art Dubai in San in acting as a bridge for ideas, facilitating we wanted it to have. It is an important Gimignano this summer. It was intended to mutual understanding between different learning process for galleries; particularly be a sociable occasion to bring different cultures. Showing Western art in Dubai for those in the region who I hope will grow personalities together in a tranquil small Main Entrance, Galleria Continua, us is a first step to creating a cultural bridge. over the next few years and become San Gimignano, Kendell Geers, town in the Tuscan countryside which House of Spirits 2005 In my opinion, the first fair went very well, it the standard required for admission. perfectly combined the ancient and Akram Zaatari, Studio Sherazade, 2006, Courtesy of Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamberg, Beirut’ Soura Magazine | Special Edition 24 January - March | 2008 25
  • 15. Participating Galleries Kalfayan Galleries Athens / Thessaloniki 100 Tonson Gallery Bangkok Kamel Mennour Paris Agial Art Gallery Beirut Kashya Hildebrand Zurich Aicon Gallery London / New York Kukje Gallery Seoul Aidan Gallery Moscow Le Violon Bleu Tunis / London Albareh Art Gallery Bahrain Lio Malca New York Albion London MAM Mario Mauroner Vienna Artspace Dubai Max Lang New York Atassi Gallery Damascus October Gallery London Baudoin Lebon Paris OREDARIA Arti Contemporanee B21 Dubai Rome Ben Brown Fine Arts London Produzentengalerie Hamburg Hamburg Bolsa de Arte Porto Alegre PYO Gallery Seoul Bonni Benrubi New York RHYS Gallery Boston Cais Gallery Seoul Rossi + Rossi London Chemould Prescott Road Mumbai Sakshi Gallery Mumbai Christine König Vienna Salomon Contemporary Continua San Gimignano / Beijing East Hampton Contrasts Gallery Shanghai SCAI The Bathhouse Tokyo Diana Lowenstein Miami Silk Road Gallery Tehran Distrito Cu4tro Madrid Sundaram Tagore New York Filomena Soares Lisbon SUN Gallery & Gallery SUN Gabriele Senn Galerie Vienna contemporary Seoul Galerie Chantal Crousel Paris The Third Line Dubai 19-22 March 2008 Galerie El Marsa Tunis TORCH GALLERY Amsterdam Galerie Enriço Navarra Paris Madinat Jumeirah Townhouse Gallery Cairo Galeria Enrique Guerrero Vacio 9 Madrid Dubai Mexico City VONDERBANK Artgalleries Berlin Galerie Forsblom Helsinki Walsh Gallery Chicago Galerie Krinzinger Vienna Yvon Lambert Paris / New York Galerie Michael Schultz Berlin / Seoul / Beijing Galerie Sfeir-Semler Hamburg / Beirut Galerie Tanit Munich Galerie Thomas Munich Galerie Volker Diehl Berlin Galleria Mario Sequeira Braga Galeria Millan São Paulo Galleries Direct Sydney Galerist Istanbul Gallery Espace New Delhi Giorgio Persano Turin Green Art Gallery Dubai Green Cardamom London Grosvenor Vadehra London / New Delhi Hrair Sarkissian, Untitled, 2007, lamda print, 100 x 150 cm, Courtesy of Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki Horrach Moyà Mallorca Soura Magazine | Special Edition 26 January - March | 2008 27
  • 16. Participating Galleries A TASTER OF NEW GALLERIES AT ART DUBAI 2008 Kalfayan Galleries Athens – Thessaloniki, Greece Hrair Sarkissian Kukje Gallery Seoul, South Korea Yeondoo Jung October Gallery London Kenji Yoshida Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace) Galleria Millan Sao Paolo, Brasil Anna Maria Maiolino 101 Tonson Gallery Bangkok, Thailand Chatchai Puipia Soura Magazine | Special Edition 28 January - March | 2008 29
  • 17. Participating Galleries Gloria Petyarre, Bush Medicine Leaves, acrylic on Belgiun linen. Galleries Direct from New South Wales, Australia will exhibit their world class collection of Australian and contemporary aboriginal art at Art Dubai 2008. One such artist is Naata Nungurrayi, The gallery sources the most unique and who is famous for her bold expressive captivating Australian artworks from art works with richly textured surfaces across the vast landscape, including and strong radiance attracting contemporary aboriginal dot paintings, buyers from around the globe. Naata beautiful oil painted landscapes, is from the Pintupi Language group expressionistic portraits and intriguing located in Kintore, and is one of the photographic compositions. leading senior elders of the Kintore In recent years Indigenous art has women’s artist movement. Her art grown in popularity in Australia and is works are associated with women’s gaining recognition worldwide in Europe, concerns and Women’s Law (Tingari America and Asia. Cycle). She paints traditional designs depicting sacred women’s sites and Indigenous desert art is art made by the women performing sacred women’s native Australians from the remote desert ceremonies in the Kintore area as well areas of Australia. The artworks are as the designs that they paint on their visually captivating, and the pieces have bodies when performing ceremonies. been carefully constructed with a deep spiritual and cultural significance to both Aboriginal art has come of age the artist and the particular community. in Australia, and according to the To the unknowing viewer, the pieces Australian Art Sales Digest, between appear like optical themed artworks, 1993 to 2006 Aboriginal art sales at made up of a series of non-descript auction have seen a compound annual shapes composed with thousands of growth rate of 34.1%. In addition to minute coloured dots. Often the shapes the enticing visual properties, many consist of concentric circles, rippling lines, investors and art collectors are and varied bold colours. However delving realising these pieces also hold strong behind the immediate appearance investment potential. reveals a deep symbolism embedded within each motif. Each shape Galleries Direct will also feature some symbolically represents an element from intriguing photographic pieces by the artists’ community including native Australian photographer Maree animals, tracks, campsites, human Azzopardi. Maree has a long list of figures, or waterholes and more. achievements and her thoughtful compositions are highly sought after The symbols are decipherable by internationally. Azzopardi’s creative members of the community, galleries flair has gained her recognition from and expert art collectors. Occasionally successful international artists, and she the entire art work may represent what has exhibited alongside some of the some see as a bird’s eye view of the best in the industry including Cindy landscape, a space - with a spiritual Sherman, Annie Leibovitz (United dimension attached, or an object with States of America), and Tracey spiritual significance. The primary function Moffatt (Australia). of most Indigenous art is to record important elements of the native history, landscape, objects, animals, people For more information email and culture to ensure the history is visually documented and passed or visit on to future generations. Naata Nungurrayi, Rock holes at Marrapiti, Maree Azzopardi, Shadow - The Man Alone synthetic polymers on linen Soura Magazine | Special Edition 30 January - March | 2008 31
  • 18. Participating Galleries Rossi & Rossi has been active in the field of Oriental art for over thirty years, based in central London. They will bring the Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso to Dubai in March. skill. It records the past and makes Gonkar was born in Lhasa, Tibet, and it transportable and usable in the studied fine art at the Central Arts present, particularly in the “emergency” Academy in Bejing, China and at conditions of uprootedness. The artist Central St Martins and the Chelsea needs only these tools to function, School of Design in London, UK is whether in Lhasa or London. Gonkar the founder of the Sweet Tea House has said that the only “Tibetan” element (London) the first gallery in Europe in his work is the shape of the Buddha, devoted to showcasing contemporary which reveals his training in traditional Tibetan Art. His work has been Buddhist painting, in which figures and exhibited in London, Oxford, Zurich, deities are carefully mapped on a grid Helsinki, Karlsruhe, New Delhi, New York, to achieve preset idealized proportions. Washington, Boulder, Los Angeles and This meticulous measurement can be Atlanta. He has been a recipient of seen in the two pieces attached; LA the Leverhulme Fellowship in 2003 as Confidential and Puzzle Buddha. an Artist-in-Residence at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford as well as fellow at In Puzzle Buddha he takes this precision the library of Tibetan Works & Archive, further by having the piece build Dharamsala, India for traditional Tibetan into an enormous crossword puzzle, painting studies. Gonkar currently lives complete with clues, combing western and works in London. and eastern sensibilities and building a piece of significant intellectual Gonkar Gyatso’s journeys and shifts importance which reflects present in culture and environments are geo-political situation. He himself reflected in his work and his ability as says “I would take what I know of an artist to translate these shifts and Buddhism, and compare it with what make them universally understood. I know about Western culture - the His different garb in his My Identity many interpretations Buddhism has series of photographically generated gone through depending on fashion self portraits, presents the different and trends”. We can see this in LA chapters of his personal history; a Confidential where he references traditional Tibetan painter, a maker of global consumerism and titles it after Maoist imagery, a refugee follower of one of his favourite films. For Gonkar the Dalai Lama and finally a Western Gyatso the Buddha icon is the tool for artist in a modern studio. The My exploration of his own art, which also Identity series encapsulate a recurring becomes a reflection on modern life preoccupation for Gyatso: how to and the inner and outer journeys of all communicate with those who do of us. The many different elements to not share your history or language. his oeuvre - installation, photography, Gonkar’s answer is to challenge and stickers work, drawings - show Gonkar’s explain through his art. A telling detail enormous versatility and dynamism as in the My Identity series summarize his an artist of our times. argument. The wooden box that recurs in each image represents the tools For more information email of the artist trade: brushes, pigments and most important knowledge and Soura Magazine | Special Edition 32 January - March | 2008 33
  • 19. Bird’s Eye View: New Beijing 9, 2007 | Weng Fen Participating Galleries Walsh Gallery will be coming Julie Walsh, owner of Walsh Gallery, felt it was only natural to bring the gallery to Art Dubai 2008, since to the Middle East for the very contemporary Asian art has such a global appeal. All first time in 2008. the artists that are featured in the gallery are leaders in their field and are internationally recognized due to Walsh’s interest and help. Walsh Gallery is known for displaying artworks in innovative ways, working with new media and working with performance artists from Asia, which will all be featured in Art Dubai 2008. Walsh believes that artists from Asia are focusing more and more on the use of technology in contemporary art. She said, “I did put together a panel discussion on art and technology in Asia in 2004. I’ve felt for a long time that artists in China, India, and Korea have been making some of the most challenging new media art. With the rapid changes of reconstruction and urbanization around them, many Chinese artists in particular felt the need to record what was happening to them. Photography and new media were incorporated into their art practices in favor of more traditional mediums. Meanwhile, Korea has been the most wired country in the world for sometime. The video art from this country reflects the type of technological vitality that is so much a part of everyone’s lifestyle. India has some great new media artists that are always challenging the medium. I am quite excited to bring Ravinder Reddy, Walsh Gallery a sampling of the best works by the most well known artists from these countries,” Walsh Gallery usually features young artists, but for most of them, their careers have already taken off. Ravinder Reddy, one of the young sculptors Walsh deals with, will be coming to Art Dubai 2008. Reddy creates monumental sized women’s heads and figures, which are based on inner fortitude. Reddy’s inspiration comes from Egyptian and African sculpture, but most importantly, from the women “Beautiful New World” Photographs by Weng Fen he sees every day on the streets in his home town in India. The women he creates are contemporary divine beings, which have a sense of timelessness to “Dual Paintings” by Yang Qian them. “He uses contemporary materials like fiberglass to create his sculptures, although the sculpture entitled “Radha”, which will be shown in Art Dubai 15 March - 19 April 2008 2008, is covered in gold leaf and paint. “Radha” has most recently traveled to Shanghai where she was in Shanghai Contemporary,” Walsh said. For more information email The Jam Jar | St. 17a Al Quoz, P.O Box 27554, Dubai T: 04 3417303 | E: | Studio . Gallery . Consulting . Events Soura Magazine | Special Edition 34 January - March | 2008 35
  • 20. Participating Galleries I have been stopping over in Dubai over the last We are an international arts organisation. When ten years and have seen it transform beyond most organisations in London or New York say recognition in that time. It now holds its own as an that, what they really mean is that they work international business hub, and is a destination in Green Cardomom are taking a with Euro-American artists, or in other words they its own right. For Dubai to become a truly global work around the Atlantic Ocean. But our version stand at Art Dubai and in addition art city It needs to have a number of ingredients: of international is focused on the Indian Ocean. a culture of producing, viewing, discussing and And it is that view of the world that you will find will present some projects in and buying art; a critical mass of good galleries and reflected in our programme. serious collectors; and a public art infrastructure around the art fair, including in the that underpins the market and the audience. By Art Park. Hammad Nasar gave the infrastructure I mean the institutions—academia, exhibition spaces, publications—and the people following thoughts about Dubai (artists, curators, academics, critics, writers) to make these institutions more than just empty buildings. and their participation. Top: Unbearable lightness of being From observing Dubai’s burgeoning gallery scene, Khalil Chrishtee being involved in the last Sharjah Biennial and Bottom: Mahbub Shah noting Abu Dhabi’s ambitions, it is clear that the UAE as a whole has many of the components in place. It also has a location of strategic importance, with deep connections to South and Central Asia In God We Trust, Mohammed Zeeshan and the wider Middle East. So it is ideally located to explore a different slice of the art world. What Mohammed Zeeshan will take time is for infrastructure to develop and for Ambiguity rules in the work of Zeeshan the right caliber of people to populate it. But Dubai Muhammad Zeeshan. Working in contemporary has shown the world this ability to act on vision and Pakistani miniature painting, video and drawing, create the right conditions to find or grow the right he has been described as an observer who ingredients. It is unlikely to push out London or New voices his thoughts only after some reflection. This York in the next five to ten years. But there are not considered approach lends a certain richness to too many other cities that are beyond Dubai’s long- his manipulation of subjects that could otherwise term ambitions. be heavily politicised. Weapons and animals are amongst the symbols used to touch on these areas, Art Dubai offers an opportunity to showcase the though often disguised or camouflaged. Rodents artists we work with to an international audience, appear delicately treated with silver leaf; birds one that will bring different expectations and are wrapped in white cloth (but does this bind or ways of seeing than what we might come across protect?) In tackling themes such as masculinity, in London or Lahore. It will be valuable to get this dominance and local and international violence, fresh response to the work. Green Cardamom, of he injects beauty into what could be a stark which I am a co-founder, is an arts organisation repertoire of images. that combines the talents and experiences of many individuals: Anna Sloan in the US is an Zeeshan started his career as a commercial academic teaching and researching both cinema painter, seeking to appease his family Islamic Art and Contemporary art history at the and society. In making the shift to edgier themes University of Michigan; Leyla Fakhr is a London- and media he has faced criticism in his home based Iranian curator, who also works with Tate country for “adulterating” the true miniaturist style. Britain and carries out independent projects in This description jars. Despite the often difficult Iran; Nada Raza has organised shows in Dubai subject matter he chooses, there is a gentleness (with the Third Line gallery) and was one of the and concern for beauty that pervades this work co-founders of Quintessentially Art (a London and is quietly silencing critics. Coming from art advisory company); Louise Sunderland has Lahore, the ‘Heart of Pakistan’, Zeeshan borrows worked on education projects with the Tate and imagery from Pakistani television and advertising. the Whitechapel galleries; Vipul Sangoi runs his own Links to international politics are made, design and photography practice; Kaif Ghaznavi but implicitly. This means the work is of local is a Lahore-based artist, lecturer and curator, and concern – and global relevance. co-founder Anita Dawood has edited a number of publications in the UK, Switzerland and Pakistan. For more information visit: The whole team informs the projects we take on. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 36 January - March | 2008 37
  • 21. Art Projects Tarek Zaki Townhouse Gallery - Cairo Art Dubai helds an event in Cairo in November 2007 in collaboration with the Townhouse Gallery. The director of Townhouse came to the first art fair in Dubai as a speaker at the Global Art Forum and aslo brought Lara Baladi’s Roba Vecchia which was displayed outside the DIFC. For Art Dubai 2008 Townhouse returns with a project by Tarek Zaki. Tarek Zaki, born in 1975, graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Cairo with a BA in Graphics, in 1998. As well as his solo exhibitions Tarek has participated in several group exhibitions and residencies in Egyptand abroad in Switzerland, New York, Amsterdam amongst others. Zaki creates objects that are not specific to any certain age. “By sculpting objects of the everyday life, he positions the spectator as an archaeologist from the future, looking at remains of the present.” He transforms records of the present into found objects of the future. “‘Monument X’” is dismantled pieces. Sections of columns, plinths, arches and sculpted body parts made of plaster and cement are deliberately cut and grouped. Viewing the monument, it is not clear if the monument is being restored or deconstructed. How the whole monument should look like or what it represents stays ambiguous. Some parts are even missing and it is left to the viewers’ imagination to complete the whole picture”, Tarek Zaki. For further information about Townhouse and its activities, visit: Soura Magazine | Special Edition 38 January - March | 2008 39
  • 22. Art Projects INTERVIEW WITH COLIN RHYS, RHYS GALLERY Colin came to the first edition of the art fair in March from Boston, USA. He liked it so much he discovered new artists and is bringing one of them back. stumbled on the Third Line at a very high price point, it I had been following booth, which for me was really was good to see so many the development of the exciting to see a booth like foreign galleries there, with infrastructure in Dubai through Sunny and Claudia’s when a lot of these new foreign some of my undergrad so many others were packed fairs, the booths are often business courses and was very with Haring’s and Hirsts, which dominated from galleries interested in traveling to this are great to see, though i can from that immediate region. place that was literally being see that work anywhere, i was It is really staying in line with designed and developed as I really curious to see galleries Dubai mission at becoming read the articles, and for me I that were from Dubai or other a global hub not just for knew I had to experience this parts of the middle east. finance or trade, but also for place in person to really get the creative things, which a grasp on what was going Amir H. Fallah lives and works Amir had a small painting often is overlooked or pushed on there. It also so happened in Los Angeles. He founded hanging in the booth, i was to the side during a time of that this was the first year of Beautiful/Decay magazine when instantly drawn to it, both the such rapid development, and the DIFC Gulf Art Fair (now he was sixteen years old and colors and the subject matter that was very nice to see. I known as Art Dubai), so it was has seen it go from a black and he was dealing with really have a strong interest in any like killing two birds with one white zine to an internationally spoke to my aesthetic for place that is changing or stone... go to a place i was distributed colorful publication. work and what I respond to. developing in some way, for very interested in, plus get to From framed miniatures on In usual fair fashion, Sunny was a young person like myself, I go the fair, and best paper, to large scale canvases swamped with people trying want to be a part of building of all, it can get written and murals, Fallah’s works lie to talk to her, i understand the something, a catalyst for off as business expense. somewhere between the situation at fairs, so i politely change and development amorphous painterly blobs of handed her my business card where ever my gallery is doing There were two main a Philip Guston and the flashy and asked if she would send something, whether it is an highlights for me. The first was candy coated gloss of computer info on Amir’s work. installation at an art fair or a seeing all these both younger generated illustrations. Less permanent exhibition space. and older people, some from clearly derived from graffiti than A day or so later she sent me Before I arrived in dubai, I Dubai others from other points his previous body of work, Fallah his email, and i contacted think I just wanted to go to of the world, buying lot’s of still combines so-called high and him, i had no idea that he see it, though I didn’t know books from the booths, it low forms of culture to make lived in LA, which i still think is what my role could be there, showed a genuine desire to vibrant art that surpasses such it pretty ironic that i had to I just knew I had to get there. learn about contemporary simplistic categorizations. go all the way to Dubai to After being there for almost art and what was happening pick up an artist who works in three weeks last year during in the art world on a global Born in Tehran, Iran in 1979, Amir California, but i guess that is the fair, I felt very comfortable scale. It is very easy for art H. Fallah holds an MFA in Painting how it goes. I asked him if he there, and I began to see fairs to turn into a shopping from UCLA, Los Angeles, as well wanted to build a fort in the how my vision would fall in line frenzy, and it was really nice as a BFA in Painting from the gallery so that was that. He with Dubai and the future of to see young people walking Maryland Institute of College had his solo show with us this contemporary art there. out with stacks of books they of Art in Baltimore. He has been past september and it was a had purchased about the included in group exhibitions and huge success... physically we Amir and I have been different artists from assorted art fairs in Los Angeles and New were both destroyed after working together for just booths. Another highlight York since 2000, and in 2005 he building it, we moved over 2 under a year, it will be a year of the fair was seeing the made a solo exhibition debut at tons of dirt into the gallery in this march, which is actually galleries that had been Third Line Gallery in Dubai, United black trash bags... that was no where i discovered his work. selected to participate in Arab Emirates. Fallah is a founder fun, nor was removing it one I was walking through the the first contemporary art fair of and has been a creative month later. halls of the fair on preview in Dubai, and the different director for Beautiful Decay, L. night, and was feeling a little regions that they all came A.-based quarterly pop culture & For further information, visit: frustrated by the lack of edgy from, though most of them art magazine since 2002. or challenging work, then i were very established and Soura Magazine | Special Edition 40 January - March | 2008 41
  • 23. Art Projects with Art Dubai we will create an ‘artists’ in collaboration with The Third Line, and ART PARK - Bidoun cinema’ to show the work, and alongside, the Bidoun editor - curators a library of create a Bidoun Lounge, which will offer Have you worked on any unusual magazines, exhibition brochures, rare books Art Dubai is pleased to announce a more inimate and less formal ways of projects like this anywhere? and so on, about contemporay artists in the new project space - the Art Park will viewing video, and opportunities for My apartment in college was region, available to everyone in a browsing be devoted to experimental and site- discussions with artists. The Bidoun Artists’ interesting with CD walls and a kitchen area. The space was sponsored by specific work with particular emphasis Cinema will feature three programmes: floor bathed in candle wax - but that Bloomberg, and we partnered with them on work from non-profit organisations one curated by Bidoun editor-curators was a during my ‘experimentation’ in organising a Collectors’ Evening on the within the Middle East. featuring work by upcoming artists from phase. The Bidoun Lounge is definitely opening night of the fair, aimed at bringing the region, and other programmes the sexiest thing I’ve done so far. together young and potential collectors curated by Bidoun guest curators Tirdad with gallerists and artists - with the longterm This year Bidoun will be curating three Zolghadr (titled ‘Thanks for Sharing: Films Tell me about Traffic, it is such an goal of developing the collectors’ base video programmes in a special space for an Art Fair’, the programme explores exciting initiative – a beautiful use of in Dubai. It was a packed night! We also designed by Antonia Carver and the “the pleasures of incommunicado or space with design pieces from all over commissioned a group of young artists design team of Traffic. Laura Trelford had semi-miscommunication”, and features the world on display. based in Dubai (not yet represented by conversations with them both. work by Anna Witt, Shahab Fotouhi, Traffic is the 1st design gallery in the galleries) to make limited edition cushion Walter Benjamin, Yoshua Okon and Ziad Middle East to exhibit contemporary covers for sale at the fair. This is part of the region to have an open dialogue and Traffic is one of the most exciting new ANTONIA CARVER INTERVIEW Antar) and Nav Haq which looks at future furniture & accessories, host design a series of multiples and limited edition exchange their passion & experiences. spaces to open in Dubai in 2007. A scenarios, and includes work by Chris events and house a library. We works that we commission from time cultural commercial space - Traffic was Evans, LouLou Cherinet, David Maljkovic opened in September of ‘07 to act to time. Many people said that it was What is the most exciting aspect of the fair setup as a platform to discuss & develop and Huluk Akakce. The Bidoun Lounge will as a platform for the designers of the fantastic to have, within the fair, a window in your opinion? design awareness in the region and also feature a ‘video bar’ with continuous region to show, source and discuss the to what was happening arts-wise in the Having the whole city in that ‘mood’ is an showcase works from international and screenings of the video programmes on latest in design. region, and a non-commercial, chilled-out amazing experience. This year Art Park will regional talents. plasma screens with headphones, for more space, open to all. débuting to bring an alternative & casual Traffic recently launched the regions first intimate viewing. Who is the most interesting designer vibe into the fair. product and interior design competition. currently working in the UAE? How do you choose the artists you Visit for further Did you curate the video booth Khaled Al Najjar and Omran Al Owais’s, commission to do artworks? What do you think about the Art Park details.The creator of the concept is programme last year and what were the 2 local architects, have stood out with Bidoun is kind of a collective of writers, as a concept? Rami Farook, a UAE national with a US criteria used to select work? their cutting edge design. I also like the artists and architects, based throughout I think Art Park is an amazing way to take us education. For Rami, traffic is a personal Us four editor-curators worked on the work the Raghda Bukhash, a.k.a Pink the Middle East and the west, and we’re in into an unconventional art experience with passion and he is delighted to be working Bidoun programme together, and then we Sushi, is doing and her experimentation constant email contact, talking about new its deep, dark and sexy lounge, video bar with Art Dubai. Laura Trelford asked him a also asked the Third Line to partner with of different mediums. work we’ve seen, and people pitch in with and other installations. few questions. us in showing some of their artists - as they ideas. The core group is made up of the also promote contemporary artists from What plans do you have for the space editors - me in Dubai, Asal Farjam in New What was Bidoun’s involvement with the Talk me through how you begin thinking of a Why is Art Dubai a project you want to the region. For our programme, we didn’t – I hear a rumour Est & Sons will be York, Negar Azimi in Tehran and New York, first edition of the art fair in March 2007? way to design this space. work on? theme it as such, but pooled ideas of work here in Dubai in March? and Hassan Khan in Cairo, but we work We created a ‘lounge’ - the idea was to I always start with type, behavior and I enjoy art & design in general so being that we thought was seminal or particularly True, we’re launching Established closely with others in the network. It partly use the space on Fort Island as a platform movement of the crowd. I then look into part of a great initiative like Art Dubai thought-provoking in this context. None & Sons during Art Dubai. This brand depends on what kind of commission it is - to further Bidoun’s role in supporting and the mood I want to create and that’s when allows me to satisfy my cultural needs and of the video had been seen in the Gulf is a signal of revolutionizing design each issue we commission artists to make promoting contemporary Middle Eastern lighting, colors, and materials come into communicate my views to the community. before, and some not in the Middle East. movement coming from the UK. By new work for the pages of the magazine, artists. In the lounge, we had a video play. Once all that has been processed, fostering British talent and presenting and then, when it comes to public spaces, booth, showing rolling programmes of I start sketching the environment i’m What has Art Dubai done for the region? Do you feel that Dubai has a way to go as their collection in a design meets we try to commission artists according to work by upcoming artists from the region visualizing and placing icons that represent Art Dubai has created and opportunity far as displaying video art and art film and if art format Established & Sons have the space, what they’re working on, and - including Wael Shawky, Ahmet Ogut, the pieces I want to place. for collectors, gallerists and art lovers of so how do you feel Dubai could develop as changed the way we view furniture. how they want to further their practice... We Solmaz Shahbazi, and Iman Issa. Wael’s a centre for film and video? generally try to give exposure to upcoming, work has since become something of a Yes - definitely it has a way to go - contemporary artists from the region who ‘classic’, but it had never been seen in particularly in terms of public venues are making particularly exciting work that the Gulf. In the video, he recites a soura - although we’re hoping to encourage hasn’t received the recognition it should. from the Koran while walking around a multiple ways of distributing and viewing Or more established artists who want to do supermarket - and the juxtaposition of his video, including online. Bidoun is one of something special, something different from expression of his faith and the commercial very few independent, non-profit-making their usual practice. environment raises so many issues pertinent organisations in the region, and the others to the Gulf - it became quite a talking point. are mostly based in Cairo and Beirut. What is in the pipeline for Bidoun We also wanted to be sure to attract new Without so many institutional buyers yet, involvement in Art Dubai 2008? audiences for their work, so we worked with it’s hard for commercial galleries to exhibit We’re really looking forward to it! The idea the fair and teachers from local colleges much video, or installation although galleries is to focus on video, but mix programmes to bring students along to the lounge, such as Total Arts and the Third Line have with discussions with artists/curators and and they’ve since used the experience done so, despite it not necessarily being local audiences, in order to further the in their classes. The Lounge also showed a commercial venture as yet. appreciation of video in the Gulf. Together sculptural and installation work curated Soura Magazine | Special Edition 42 January - March | 2008 43
  • 24. EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES The Global “ Our only chance in this region Art Forum is to just hold hands and work all in association with together and Beirut is one seed The Financial Times and can bring what it can. Dubai has other qualities, it has money and it has the energy. Look at this city and you will see that growth everywhere, so I really think that we all can get somewhere and in terms of globalization and the world is now so small and we want to bring our own identities and to be out and show the world that we have our own art. We are not looking westwards to find work, but we have an oriental art based and rooted in this region but which looks out at the world’ FIAC launch of the transcripts — Andree Sfeir-Semler Global Art Forum:2 in March Global Art Forum timings: 2008 will continue to create links Monday 17 March between East and West through Art Patronage in the Business Age: examining professional and public - Building a Corporate Collection interests in art. Art is a business, - Working with Corporations and the Global Art Forum will - Corporate Communications examine public support for the arts, & Branding corporate and private collecting, Tuesday 18th March and art patronage. Yet, it cannot be Art Patronage in the Business Age: ignored that art is a form of cultural - Private Passions: Collector- heritage, and so the museum’s role Philanthropists in preserving the past and hosting - Building Cultural Cities the future will be integral to the Wednesday 19th March discussion program. The artist and Artists and New Productions: collector have become nomads - Public Art Commissions in today’s global art world, and - New Art Productions the journey to find inspiration also - The Art of Words: Calligraphy & Text leads to self-discovery. This journey Thursday 20th March will be the backdrop for a series of The City in Transition: conversations between artist and - The Artist, Collectors and Curators collectors. In collaboration with FIAC as Nomads in Paris, the Global Art Forum will host Paris-Dubai: Paris/Dubai, which will unite artists From Tradition to Transition and intellectuals from the Middle Friday 21st March East living in Paris through the topic - The Future Museum and of art in transition. the Middle East “ 17th & 18th March at the DIFC; What’s so interesting about 19th, 20th & 21st at the come there and you Madinat Jumeirah. have to start again… everybody gets a fresh chance in a country Confirmed speakers include that is not necessarily going to Glenn Lowry, the Director of the take it all for granted. I find it really Museum of Modern Art, New York, exciting to be in a place that is Maria de Corral, Anish Kapoor able to encourage big projects… and Daniel Burren. there is an enormous energy to build and build and build’ For further information contact — Wim Delvoye, Artist, Brussels, Belgium Soura Magazine | Special Edition 44 January - March | 2008 45
  • 25. EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES Over twenty children aged 11-14 have had their first START workshops at the National Museum of Beirut. Chief curator Suzy Hakimian was there to welcome them to the collection before they began drawings of their favourite items, lead by the young artists previously trained by START and The British Council. During the workshops the children were introduced to filming equipment and were able to begin animations of their drawings. These workshops in Beirut will now run for 30 weeks during 2008. In Dubai START will be working with British Museum curator Venetia Porter for the duration of Word into Art at the DIFC. Schools that START is already working with will be brought to meet artists exhibiting in this important exhibition. There will also be an online cross-cultural exchange with British schools and the children in Lebanon. The idea is that children will enjoy learning about one another by seeing images that they have created with START. “ I am happy to learn that the START artists are willing to INTERNSHIP SCHEME Bob Dahm, Design Chair, School of Sanaa Al-Falasi, Fourth year student visit our villages. Your art engagement can certainly help a Architecture & Design, American University at Zayed University. lot. You can’t imagine how deep our children were touched of Sharjah Working with universities across the with today‘s experience. It was full of joy and mainly of During her internship, Sanaa has UAE, current students and alumni “ exploration and sharing and I am really grateful for this. Art Dubai offers an opportunity for worked with START, Art Dubai, B21 have the opportunity of applying to our students to become more familiar Gallery and Time Out Dubai, lead join the Art Dubai team to experience In March START looks forward to being the first event in the season with the art and gallery world from a photography workshops at DUCTAC a variety of working environments surrounding Art Dubai by hosting its Gala Fundraiser on March practical perspective, and will allow and been live on Dubai Eye radio. She within the art world. Between October 17th at the Dubai International Financial Centre. Art collectors them to relate theory and skills learned will return to work with Art Dubai and a 2007 & March 2008 students will in the region who wish to support the talents of tomorrow will in our programs to practical applications participating gallery in March 2008. spend time with Art Dubai, working no doubt be out in force. Ticketing for this event is managed by in industry in this area and abroad. Our on all aspects of is planning and “ Platinum; tel +9714 361 2861, email students are excited about the internship The Visual Arts Internship has strategy such as event management, opportunities Art Dubai offers and we improved my knowledge about PR and marketing campaigns and START are leading the children’s education programme for the look forward to a fruitful collaboration in the art world in the UAE and in the design of the spaces. They will have ‘Word Into Art’ in Dubai. the future. region tremendously. There is a great the opportunity to work with other interest in the arts and cultures arts-related organisations such as Thinking Cloud 5 will take place at the DIFC taking on the Sara Al Madani, Zayed University amongst people in the UAE due to the charity START that was formed topic: ‘Methods of Display’. For further information email Art Dubai and the numerous gallery International Studies major at the fair in March and other arts openings that have been happening Sara spent eight weeks under Art Dubai’s organisations within the UAE such all over town. The internship supervision, working with Art Dubai, START, as the Dubai Cultural Council, the On the 7th February Venetia Porter will be leading an Artists’ as programe has opened many doors The Third Line Gallery and the DIFC Arts DIFC, local galleries, publications, Educators day with will include a symposium entitled ‘The Artist, for me as an artist. It has greatly & Culture team. She will return to work radio stations and non-profit artist the scholar and the patron: the case of contemporary Middle enhanced my career prospects during Art Dubai in March. spaces. During Art Dubai they will Eastern Art’. Confirmed speakers include Lisa Ball Lechgar, Nada and there are now many possibilities actively be involved with international “ Shabout, Shiva Balaghi, Sylvia Naef and Stephen Stapleton for me to get my work out there and What I feel benefited me the most galleries and artists during set-up, the from Off Screen. This will be accompanied by an Artists Training make a name for myself in the art from interning with Art Dubai is how running of the fair and take down. Programme which is open to artists and teachers in the region industry. It is an honour and a great my schedule was set to give me the The first group of interns have already and a series of workshops and lectures throughout the opening inspiration to be working with opportunity of experiencing four different undertaken an eight-week period of the exhibition. Art Dubai. work atmospheres rather than just one. of internship. For further information visit or contact For more information visit or For more information email Soura Magazine | Special Edition 46 January - March | 2008 47
  • 26. EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES The Thinking Cloud Art Books substantial, book-making commissions for Art Dubai is pleased to announce the many artists from this region. launch of the Art Dubai Bookshop at Through the publication of affordable, Art Dubai next March. It will be the first innovatively designed artist book commercial space dedicated to fine projects and special editions, Raking art books to appear in the UAE. We will Leaves seeks to encourage a wider also be presenting design items by awareness, ownership and presentation local designers and publications of international contemporary art to related to the region. A series of book audiences globally. launches will be held during the week of Art Dubai. Raking Leaves will be launched on the 28 February 2008 at the Serpentine One will be in collaboration with Raking Gallery, London. Further launches will Leaves, which is a new publishing imprint take place at Art Dubai as part of the established to curate and commission Global Art Forum (19-22 March 2008) artist projects that take the form of a and in Tokyo in association with Arts book. Founded by the independent Initiative Tokyo and the Backers curator, Sharmini Pereira, all titles published Image by Al Zahraa Sulaiman The Photo Book Foundation in July 2008. All launches will under the Raking Leaves imprint embody By the Editors of Phaidon Press be accompanied by the publication curatorial projects that explore the The Thinking Cloud The Thinking Cloud is evidence that the sector in this country. These are of two new book projects by five manifold uses of the book to disclose A book review written by an Art Dubai people of Dubai want to be a part of exciting times indeed but we need brings artists and art critically acclaimed international their content and reach audiences. intern, Rajaa Khalid. the UAE’s ever-growing art scene and to be working in the right direction in artists: Muhanned Cader, Simryn Gill, Working with some of the most significant professionals together to are hungry to share their opinions on a order to capitalise on the fantastic Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan, contemporary artists from across the Asian Five hundred stunning photographs, debate pertinent issues variety of subjects.’ Lisa Ball-Lechgar, opportunities that are opening up for Chandraguptha Thenuwara and region, Raking Leaves books are stand- by five hundred photographers on five Editor of Canvas artists, public organisations and the Jagath Weerasinghe. in the contemporary art alone projects, often representing the first, hundred pages, The Photo Book is an creative industries in the UAE keeping scene. It was founded epic. The format is stylish and allows in mind first and foremost the interest you to focus on the photographs which in September 2007 by The concept of the Thinking Cloud of the residents and nationals of the are reproduced faithfully. Each page UAE and their needs” Mahita El Bacha matches the princples of the Dubai Laura Trelford & Sonia is dedicated to a single photographer Urieta, writer, curator and Public Cultural Council in raising awareness Brewin, the Director of and the book is organized alpha- Programming Manager, TDIC (Tourism, of the current movements in the visual betically, which, if observed carefully START. It responds to a Development & Investment Company), arts in Dubai and the UAE in general. It is makes for some interesting juxtaposi- Abu Dhabi very important to have a regular cultural need within this time of tions such as Guy Bourdin’s Untitled art forum here, as it is an opportunity for tremendous expansion fashion shot next to Margaret Bourke- artists and patrons to come together with White’s portrait of Gandhi. and development in the the mentality of learning more about the arts scene. At Thinking Cloud there is a cultural sphere across The range is diverse and includes growing network of individuals willing to the region: an open all the expected heavyweights such be challenged and to think more deeply as Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Henri platform for talking about about art, which is good’. Khalil Abdul Cartier- Bresson alongside contemporary Wahid, Dubai Cultural Council art. Plans for 2008 include legends like David LaChapelle, Rineke collaboration with Djikstra and Annie Leibovitz. Word Into Art and other Thanks to Thinking Cloud, I was very The quick reference guide on each page glad to be on the same table with international art events. will have you going back and fourth some of my colleagues from different which means you can always come back areas of the arts and culture sector of to The Photo Book and stumble upon the UAE, and to be able to have an something you never noticed before, open and honest first public discussion making it the mother ship for anyone about the pressing questions, concerns with a passion for photography. Thinking Cloud 2: ‘Are you the Audience?’ and wishes that we all have in the For more information contact which took place on 3rd October 2007, kindly midst of the fast developing cultural Books from FIAC Transcripts Book launch supported by the DIFC Soura Magazine | Special Edition 48 January - March | 2008 49
  • 27. International Curators in Dubai DESPERATELY We heard many of the most prominent international curators currently practicing ‘At the End of a Rainbow’ is a 6 week community art speaking in the Global Art Forum in March 2007. We listened to Jean-Herbert Martin, SEEKING project for manual labourers aiming to reach young men former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, who is closely involved with projects in Abu Dhabi and this summer curated the spectacular exhibition who rarely if ever have access to public cultural events in PARADISE Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art at the Fortuny Museum in Venice during ther the UAE. During the course of the workshop, the project Biennale. Jerome Sans, Lance Fung and Hans Ulrich Obrist all spoke. facilitator, Saba Qizilbash along with 6 AUD Photography students will teach a Photography Workshop to a group of This year we are very excitingly getting the opportunity of viewing exhibitions arranged by such top name curators, a trend 12 manual laborers. Over a period of 6 weeks, the group will which is a crucial ingredient to Dubai becoming a true cultural centre. Donna De Salvo, a delegate at the Global Art Forum last meet every Friday with the participants to teach, step by year, chief curator and associate Director for Programmes at the Whitney recently curated a retrospective of the internationally acclaimed artist Lawrence Weiner – who will be executing a project here in Dubai this year orchestrated by the gallery from step, the fundamentals of photography. The Friday sessions the Hamptons, New York Salomon Contemporary. The Director of the gallery, James Salomon was in Dubai recently and is will begin with a seminar, followed by a snack break after delighted to be bringing Lawrence’s work to Dubai. Both at the art fair itself, in the grounds of the DIFC and in galleries across which groups will pair off for field work. With the support of Dubai curators from across the world will be exhibiting their wares this March. Here are a few of the highlights. multi-media, visual references, group discussions, critiques and hands on activities, the participants will be introduced visual arts was a crucial component. Salima Again there are top curators and seeking something – whether on a spiritual, to the basic techniques of photography as well as its role was actively involved in the formation of museum directors speaking at the Global political or personal level – as she says they in journalism, politics and marketing. The workshop will the National Gallery of Art which was finally Art Forum – for example Stuart Comer are interested in issues, they are interested in culminate with a body of work which will be displayed, inaugurated in August 2007 after twenty- who is the Film Curator at Tate Modern in concerns. Pakistan celebrated sixty years as along with other art works, at the Pakistan Pavilion.’ five years of planning. I asked Salima if she London, Katie Gass from New York and an independent nation in 2007. felt having such a grand, new purpose Catherine David from Paris. The artists work in a variety of media; the built space was an inspiration to artists to seminal Rashid Rana who has sold works Salima Hashmi, curator of produce new work. She agreed that it was with Christies, and creates digital paintings understanding and move things along, Desperately Seeking Paradise: special going to happen ‘one thing artists notice is which are immensely provocative. Imran Naeem Pasha won the commission for the project at Art Dubai, 18-22nd March that they are going to alter the scale of their Qureshi will exhibiit work. Naiza Khan National Gallery in 1989. He is a painter 2007, Madinat Jumeirah water terraces work for example be able to think in terms will bring an element of installation and himself and a wonderful collector. It was a of installations which take into a certain intervention with the environment in her perfect working relationship, he did far more kind of consideration of a configuration of work. Many artists are female and this will than an architect needed to do, he helped space. Curators insisted on pushing new be a factor close to the heart of the show, to innovate, alter spaces and suggest things media such as video which is accepted. All particularly Huma Mulji and Farida Batool. that could be done. Many things came of this has taken a giant leap forward and about because of the active partnership so one realizes the importance of architects Sophie Ernst – of western origins, she is from of the artist, architect and curator.’ and I have grown to understand why they Holland – has adopted Lahore as her home These relationships are crucial within are seen as being slightly megalomaniacal. and has been an inspirational force within the creation of any exhibition. Yes they can alter people’s vision and Beaconhouse National University where she behaviour, they can affect ways of lectures alongside Salima. Salima herself To conclude, Salima stresses an abiding states that Sophies work is very much to sense of humour, which has largely do with Pakistan and that she consciously held Pakistan together, the way people wants to be a bridge and vehicle for combat very stressful social and political dialogue, bringing a fresh window to situations. ‘If there is humour there is Pakistan and how they see themselves and a great possibility of change’. The how they are viewed by the west. Her piece term ‘paradise’ pertains to something ‘Jannat’ was exhibited at the DIFC as part Salima Hashmi has been a seminal figure in unattainable and unreachable in the of the DIFC Gulf Art Fair, and Sophie returns the arts scene Pakistan for several decades. scale of human existence – so the title of to Dubai in March 2008 with new work A practicing artist, teacher, curator the show is almost snide in the way it takes commenting on the transient nature of and critic – for Art Dubai she is bringing on this idea of paradise that is always out contemporary life. As the curator so astutely together a group of artists who are very of reach and how even despite a variety comments ‘Whether we like it or not, the much engaged with the current social of different forms of struggle it is something word is still a major component, you can’t and political situation in Pakistan, and also that is simply not there to be found or do without it’. happen to be her teaching colleagues and reached in this world. Particularly pertinent former students. thoughts for residents of Dubai; billed as She has become an important voice and the ultimate ‘paradise’ destination. record of the art scene, realizing how little The title of the project; ‘Desperately Seeking serious art writing there was emerging from Paradise’ is inspired by the writings of Within the current political instability and the region as artists were too busy making Ziauddin Sardar. Salima has given the artists confusion in Pakistan, this exhibition takes work. She comes from a family of social freedom of finding their own interpretation on added resonance and makes a further activists; people who were involved in the of the theme, but she did have in mind statement that is so important to air to the critical evolution of the nation, of which the that each one in some way or another are Dubai audience. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 50 January - March | 2008 51
  • 28. International Curators in Dubai Sharmini Pereira Bose Krishnamachari more exciting. We are absolutely delighted links with literature, heritage on a number of everything can be relative. His work 1 x 1 Artspace & 1 x 1 at the British Museum that Word into Art will different levels and the politics of today and is about our contemporary time. The Contemporary be on at the same time as Art Dubai. I realised that everything had the potential exhibition combines well known names to tell an interesting story. such as Bharath Sikka and Riyas Komu as Many of you who were in Dubai during Will there be work by UAE artists well as introducing new talents. March 2007 will remember the spectacular in the show? Was it always the intention to bring the exhibition of Chittrovanu Mazumdar put We have a number of new artists in the exhibition to the Middle East? ‘Everything is global, you can get on by the gallery 1 x 1 Artspace in a 4,000 show from the Gulf. There is of course Abd I know Dubai Holding have been involved everything in front of you’ sq. foot warehouse space in Al Quoz. al-Qader al-Raes with a work we have from early on. Dubai Holding worked in Malini Gulrajani is delighted to announce just acquired from the Waw series; Khalid partnership with us supporting not only the that 1 x 1 are inaugurating a new, al-Saai who lives in Sharjah. From Qatar we exhibition but an intense programme of permanent warehouse space in March have Ali Hassan and Yussuf Ahmed. From activity we created around the exhibition with the exhibition AfFAIR,. Bahrain we have Abbas Youssif, Jamal Abd we called Middle East Now. It was always al-Rahim and Ebrahim Busaad. I was only on the cards that the exhibition would Bose Krishnamachari is an artist and a VENETIA PORTER, BRITISH MUSEUM able to make a limited number of changes be shown in Dubai but we could only curator taking charge of this two-part Curator of Word Into Art, a British Museum but these works (with the exception of the really take this forward once the London (the second part will be shown in the Touring Exhibition, DIFC Atrium, 6 February – Yussuf Ahmad) are recent acquisitions. exhibition had finished. gallery space on Al Wasl Road) mammoth 30 April 2008 There is a wealth of talent in the Gulf region exploration of the best of contemporary The exhibition ‘Word Into Art’ held at and I am looking forward to getting to know What do you want the local community to Indian art practice with fifteen artists the British Museum in London was a more artists and acquiring their work for the gain from the exhibition? exhibiting. He visited Dubai earlier this Already mentioned as part of Art Books seminal moment in the recognition of the growing collection of the British Museum. I would like to think that we are contributing month and is confident in his artists, saying – the Art Bookshop launching at Art achievements of Middle Eastern artists to what is an increasingly vibrant art scene this is going to be the best of shows. Dubai, Sharmini Pereira is the director and in the field of contemporary art. It was in Dubai and the Emirates more broadly founder of Raking Leaves, who will hold sponsored by Dubai Holdings so there and that the exhibition will complement He calls the current situation in India an event in conjunction with Art Dubai was always the possibility of the exhibition what is already going on. I hope that sad – there is no contemporary museum, and the Global Art Forum. In 2006 she traveling to Dubai – which it is doing and people will come and see it and express trained critics or curators. He therefore co-curated the first Singapore Biennale opens on February 6th in the atrium at what they think and that we will attract decided to take his knowledge learnt in in 2006. Between 2004-2005 she was the the DIFC. The first Thinking Cloud debate a diverse audience from across the the UK, Bose himself studied in London at first ACAPA (Australia Centre for Asia will be held in conjunction with the communities in Dubai specially including Goldsmiths, and arrange exhibitions both Pacific Art) scholar in residence at the opening of this exhibition, with Venetia children and students. within India (he is based in Mumbai but is Queensland Art Gallery. She has worked Porter on the panel. Laura Trelford asked originally from Kerala) and internationally. internationally for over ten years, as an her a couple of questions: Do you envisage public opinion of the As well as these exhibitions in Dubai this independent curator, writer, editor and show to be different in London, Dubai spring he is also working on shows in Milan, curatorial consultant across the public Where did the concept of Word Into Art and Riyadh? New York (Icon Gallery in Chelsea) and and private sectors. originate? In London we had a huge audience Innsbruck. He claims that experience When it was first decided to create an – 90,000 visitors over the three months. gives confidence – he has met and Organisations she has worked with include exhibition based on our collection of Much of people’s surprise at the breadth worked alongside many of the familiar YBA the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; the modern and contemporary Middle of the material was largely because only names in London and the international Imperial War Museum, London; eyestorm. eastern art, which we had been collecting a small proportion of the visitors knew art superstars. Bose enjoys working on com; The Royal Academy, London; The in a modest way since the mid 1980s, I about modern Middle Eastern art. The educational projects, but makes sure Japan Foundation, Japan; Albion, London; was looking for a strong theme to tie it all situation will be different in Dubai as much he works on professional shows which the Hayward Gallery, London and the British together. (The collection is not remotely of this material – but maybe not individual enhance the quality of a particular gallery. Council, Sri Lanka. She is a Trustee for Book extensive enough to group artists by where pieces- is more familiar. Its hard to guess Works, London and an academic advisor they come from ie all Egyptian artists, what the audiences will think. People Bose claims that most artists start as for the Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong. Iraqi artists etc. and anyway I am not sure may be interested in the fact that it is the painters then become photographers whether that that approach would work British Museum putting this on and may be or sculptors, and that contemporary as it would be too disparate.) Starting from interested in the approach we take which art is fundamentally a process of the objects, it was clear to me that so many is quite didactic. We work very hard here experimentation with different media. His of the works had script on them in one way to try and not only create beautiful and role as a curator is finding and nurturing or another – not just straight ‘calligraphy’ interesting displays but to make the material talent and relating it to other art forms in but texts of various kinds, graffiti and so on. as understandable as possible through the contemporary life, such as poster design, And once I had started looking at what labels. These will be in English and Arabic. graphics, digital, music, dance. Nothing was being written, the works naturally fell is dying (i.e. painting), but organically into different groups which are the sections What are your thoughts on the way the art transforming into something else. that we have now: Sacred Script, Literature scene is developing here? Every medium can be a great work – and Art and so on.Then it was why did Its very impressive – there is a real buzz and cutting edge doesn’t mean it has to be the artists make certain choices which with the Art Dubai too its getting more and digital, it can be everything combined, interested me and this led to demonstrable Soura Magazine | Special Edition 52 January - March | 2008 53
  • 29. International Curators in Dubai Gu Zhengqing, The Jam Jar, Weng Fen’s Beautiful New World, background of modernity. Therefore, his 15 March – 19 April 2008 by Gu Zhenqing work brings out subtle emotions that used to hide deep in our minds, leading to strong and irresistible emotional fluctuations. We With the rising of China, the issue of also get the feeling of becoming an integral modernity has become the top priority part of the pictures. across the country. It is, I believe, also one of the key issues the Chinese contemporary The life of contemporary art lies in art community has to address. Nevertheless, experimenting.“Building with Eggs” is the despite a huge number of artists who like to latest “experiment” carried out by Weng advocate their Chinese identity, few have Fen’s “modern art lab”. Like a model built made any attempt to express their thoughts with toy bricks by a child, the simple yet on this special phenomenon. Weng Fen is meaningful eggshell installation reflects the one of the few artists who have created unique viewpoint of the artist and his insight many series of work to depict the changes into social and cultural issues. As an artist of urban residents’ mentality as well as the The curator Gu Zengqing has been a who understands the minds of city dwellers, discrepancy between their expectation leading force in creating awareness of Weng Fen exposes the problems in urban and the reality of the society, both Chinese art practice across the world. From development through a sand table model caused by the nation’s rapid economic 2003 – 2007 he worked as the Chief-Curator and reveals the fragileness and falseness development in a global setting. His works of Zhu Qizhan Art Museum and Shanghai of ignorant people trapped in this modern include “On the Wall” photo series (2001), Duolun Museum of Modern Art, but since development crisis. As modernization is, to “Bird’s Eye” photo series (2002), installation 2001 he additionally curated over seventy some extent, the origin of many economic, “Viewing Stand” (2003) and “Staring at the exhibitions and symposiums worldwide social and cultural problems in China. Sea” photo series. such as the 2006 Liverpool Biennial, UK. He The courage Weng Fen shows when he is also the founder and chief-Editor of the addresses these problems through his works The photos taken by Weng Fen always bi-lingual art magazine Visual Production is an example of the artist’s rational criticism leave the viewers with a complicated and regularly lectures at academic of the society and his active participation sensation that recedes slowly. In his works, institutions. He lives and works in Beijing and into the current social life, which is quite rare issues of traditional and modern life, Shanghai and will be coming to Dubai in China’s art scene now. (Translated by economic globalization and China’s in March to curate an exhibition at the Steven Huang) own path, as well as the unbalanced Jam Jar in Al Quoz – an innovative space development in the urban consumer which is increasingly showcasing prominent society are intertwined in the common international artists in their busy schedule. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 54 January - March | 2008 55
  • 30. Art Projects THE FLYING HOUSE Theatre and Art Center (DUCTAC). Without a doubt the most exciting and After careful studies, and through the vibrant arena in which to experience the years of my association with the artists, I true nature of contemporary art that has was convinced that it is essential to have been being produced in the UAE since a permanent location to meet the needs its formation nearly forty-years ago is in a of contemporary UAE artists. To do this I house in Al Quoz. The house is owned by established The Flying House- the aims Abdul-Raheem Sharif, but he has been of which are to create a permanent evicted in order to make room to display exhibition space and also keep proper the works of his brother,s Hassan and documentation of their artists work, Hussein Sharif and the other members of organize exhibitions internationally and the ‘7 UAE’. maintain and encourage continuous debate involving the artists and Mohammed Kazem, a pupil of Hassan international critics.’ Sharif’s and a talented photographer, painter and curator who worked on The artists recently came together for a the 8th Sharjah Biennial, has assisted wonderful paintings exhibition at Total Abdul-Raheem in creating a unique Arts at the Courtyard in Al Quoz, a venue viewing experience at the Flying House. which has supported and exhibited these When you walk up the entrance steps artists for several years. (which are made of plastic and contain installation work) you really feel as if you UAE artist and student Sanaa Al-Falasi are part of history in the making – this is visited the Flying House and gave the first foundation for indigenous visual this report: arts produced in the UAE. It is the first steps in creating, dare I say it a national ‘The Flying House is like no other house collection, and what is so special about I’ve been to. Once you set foot inside The it is its personal touch, making one Flying House, you feel you are in another reminiscent of the Peggy Guggenheim world where every corner of the house Collection on the shores of the Grand breathes art. The work that is displayed Canal in Venice or Sir John Soane’s there is tremendous. I think it’s a brilliant Museum in the heart of London. idea to have a place that references Emirati artists that can be known both To quote Abdul-Raheem: nationally and internationally. Art is very ‘With the help and support of the rich in our cuture, but many do not know artists, I started in the early 1990s the how to nuture it and let it grow. The Flying documenting and publication of their House provides a wonderful opportunity works, a process that took me more for young Emirati artists that are willing to than two years. In 2002, I coordinated be recognised on a world class level. This is an exhibition of five contemporary just the kind of thing we need in the UAE.’ UAE artists at the Ludwig Forum for International Arts, Aachen, Germany. In 2006, I produced a documentary about five contemporary UAE artists which For further information or to arrange an was successfully screened at a few appointment to visit the Flying House International Film Festivals held in the please contact Abdul-Raheem Sharif UAE and abroad. In 2007, I coordinated at an exhibition of seven contemporary or visit UAE artists held at the Dubai Community Soura Magazine | Special Edition 56 January - March | 2008 57
  • 31. Other local exhibitions OTHER GALLERY GREEN ART GALLERY HIGHLIGHTS In Memory of Mayla Attassi The Dubai arts community lost a seminal figure this winter, Mayla Attassi, the co-director of Green Art Gallery who died at home B21 Gallery in Al Quoz are going from in Dubai on November 21st 2007. Laura met Amna Dabbagh, her strength to strength with a full line up of partner at Green Art Gallery to talk about all that Mayla brought exhibitions throughout the year and they to the Dubai Arts Community. are participating in Art Dubai 2008. ‘The most energetic person Their exhibition in March will be paintings I have ever worked with’ by the emerging Iranian artist, Rokni Haerizadeh. His canvases juxtapose female figures with quirky touches and The name Green Art comes from Mayla’s first activity after arriving a constant strong linear structure. From in Dubai in 1993, greeting cards made out of recycled paper. She public baths to the streets of Tehran, was always interested and informed about art from the Middle Haerizadeh infuses each piece with East, and began by selling art from her home but it soon became recurring folkloric symbols and the necessary to have a proper public gallery and partners. They trappings of Sufi mysticism. Through a were the second gallery in Dubai after Majlis, and as Amna satirical treatment of his subjects (which comments ‘when I look around and see so many galleries I am originate from poems, plays, folktales proud to be the second – it is healthy to have so many galleries’. and modern urban myths), he carefully places intelligently woven metaphors Amna claims that Mayla was her teacher when it came to within his works. His visual vernacular choosing artists and curating exhibitions, and that she introduced references everything from traditional Amna to all of the artists. Right from the start they worked very carpet patterns, chadors and qajars to closely with Attassi Gallery, founded by Mayla’s sister Mona. street art and iconic public spaces. They have had a highly professional relationship with the gallery constantly, and that will not change now that Mayla is gone. Within each colourful, spontaneous and sophisticated composition, Haerizadeh Mayla had moved to Dubai from her native Syria with her explores, expresses and redefines just husband, and the focus of Green Art Gallery was always as what it means to be a modern Iranian Amna labels them ‘the Arab Pioneers’ and they have remained artist. The viewer is encouraged to consistent in the artists they exhibit throughout the twelve years experience the force of a rich cultural they have been in operation. The nationalities represented were heritage with an artist who exists beyond mainly Syrian because of Mona but also Lebanese and Iraqi to the realms of convention. quote Amna ‘my personal opinion is that Iraq produces the best It comes as no surprise to learn that art in the Middle East’. She states that she feels the United Arab Haerizadeh’s originality of expression has Emirates generates talent, there are a lot of artists producing work seduced several prominent art collectors here that they show in the gallery, such as the Emirati Abdul Qadir in the Middle East and Europe. Al Rais and Thaier Helal who works in Ajman originally from Syria. Though the years Amna was lucky enough to get a work from each show, particular favourites of hers are Jeber Alwan and Fateh Moudarres, and these have now become the names to watch out for in the market. Mayla did a lot for the art scene in Dubai, she introduced these artists to the community. ‘We have been very lucky’ The wounds are still raw for Amna but by March, where Green Art Gallery will participate in Art Dubai in a joint stand with Attassi Gallery there will be time to remember Mayla Attassi with artists at the 10th Mayla and all she achieved. Anniversary of Green Art, 2005. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 58 January - March | 2008 59
  • 32. Other local exhibitions The Third Line The early works relate to the landscape in a traditional way, in their romantic observation of landscapes. The more recent paintings depict breakage and dismantling of those landscapes. The paintings use figurative materials that pass through the subjectivity of the artist and The Bastakia quarter still The Majlis Gallery, the oldest gallery in XVA Gallery have re-launched provide building stones for expressive and Dubai, housed in a beautiful old windtower themselves as the first art hotel in Dubai, continues to be a vibrant colour saturated painting. house, continues to play an important with Sameh El Shahat, Zayan Ghandour, part in the growing art scene in the area. Essa, Nada Debs and the resident Halim centre for contemporary Meem Gallery will exhibit works by the They have struck up a relationship with the al Karim all contributing pieces to the seminal Turkish artist, Ismail Acar. art and design, and will Grand Hyatt, and throughout Art Dubai designed suites. XVA has also recently the work of Khalid Al-Saai will on show in merged with Ave Gallery and thus be buzzing throughout the Shezad Dawood their ballrooms. At the Majlis there will be an doubled their exhibiting space. Following Currently having his first solo show in exhibition of new Middle Eastern paintings the excellent exhibition ‘Design Meets Art’ month of March. London at Paradise Row, Shezad Dawood by renown British painters Julian Barrow, during Ramadan which showcased the is based in London but always comments Alexander Creswell and Paul Wadsworth. works of eleven top designers and artists on his Middle Eastern roots in his art, even All four artists plan to be in Dubai during XVA are swiftly becoming the place in the when referencing the American Wild West. Art Dubai so the Majlis will be quite a forum region to learn about design – enhanced He returns to the Third Line in an exhibition for direct discussion and contact with four by the new Management Team who entitled ‘Till the End of the World’. great talents. formerly directed Moutamarat. Elementa is a new gallery from the forces behind Gallerie 88 in Calcutta recently opened in the Dubai Airport Free Zone. The gallery space is spectacular with very high ceilings, and offering artists and curators alike the opportunity of displaying large scale works. Their first exhibition called ‘Foreground. Background’ brings together a group of UK artists curated by the Canadian Swapna Tamane and seeks to challenge our notions of perspective and space. During Art Dubai Elementa will hold a group show of Indian & Pakistani artists. This show will include works by Subodh Gupta, Bani Abidi, Rashid Rana and Bharti Kher, exploring video, sculpture, photography and found-materials. It opens on March 21st 2008. Showcase will hold a second exhibition by the superb painter, Giddy Perry curated by Suzette Heydenreich, formerly of Art Dubai. In “Protected Environment”, Giddi is exhibiting recent paintings. Giddi’s art is rooted within Western painting traditions and is occupied with classical themes: landscapes, interiors, still lives, self portraits and figures. Those classical themes, which form Giddi’s artistic world, are dealt with in an individual way, creating a contemporary pictorial language. Perry received his artistic education in the years 1971-1975, the high days of conceptual and minimalist art in the Academy, yet he persistently remains a painter. Soura Magazine | Special Edition 60 January - March | 2008 61
  • 33. Other local exhibitions Soura Magazine | Special Edition 62 January - March | 2008 63
  • 34. Issue 1 Issue 2 Issue 3 Issue 4 Issue 5 Issue 6 Issue 7 Issue 8 Issue 9 Issue 10 Issue 11 Issue 12 Issue 13 Issue 14 Issue 15 Issue 16 Issue 17 This issue marks Soura's we feature surrealism in its Street Photography is a Culture and people are the This issue marks the end of second anniversary and best forms, brought to us documentation of people focus of our 16th issue. the year 2007. Our featured new look. in collaboration by talented photographer Al in candid situations in With Ramadan round the photographers capture with gulf photo plus 2007, Lapkovsky. Also, renowned streets and other public corner, we celeberate moments of yet another soura brings you renowned photographer, Youssef places. From the streets of diversity, humanity, and runaway year. Photographs international photographers Nabil masters the art of London, to Montreal, we God’s marvelous creation. with fleeting moments, such as Matt Hoyle, David moving stills with his hand- bring you some of the best Our guest photographers- blurry movement, hurrying Nightingale, Jack Picone, colored black and white street photographers in help us in thie quest, with time amidst frozen minutes, Joe Mcnally, Bobbi Lane, photographs. Along the the world. Alan Wilson, Eva photographers that tell capture the essence of Alexis Bliss and Manal works of George Haddad Reppel, Susanna Hauru, us stories about human a year rushing to an end. Al Dowayan and Anas Al Shaikh. Bojan Furst, Alia Al Shamsi, race and share with us the Danilo Piccioni, Maleonn, Deemah and Nadra Badri. spirit of life. Xavier Portela,, Rarindra Prakarsa, KayLynn Deveney help capture little emotions held in many photographs. subscribe online or email your subscription request to Soura Magazine | Unexplored Publishing LLC | P. O. Box 171371 Dubai, UAE or call +971 4 28 33 254