Spotlight: Middle East - from Abu Dhabi ArtPrint This Post December 16, 2009 11:55 am Canvas Daily
From regional and international galleries as well as non-profit organisations and beyond, the inaugural Abu Dhabi Art fair sees a significant contingent of Middle Eastern art.
Six galleries from the UAE, a handful from Lebanon, Syria and Oman, and several international galleries representing Arab and Iranian art, reflects a good balance between Middle Eastern art and international masterpieces being brought to the UAE capital. Not to mention the presence of non-profit Arab institutions and foundations.
Represented by an eclectic mix of galleries is the UAE, showcased through, among others, Abu Dhabi’s Salwa Zeidan Gallery whose roster of names includes Adonis, Lalla Essaydi, Reza Farkhondeh, Ghada Amer, Shafic Abboud, Hassan Sharif and Youssef Nabil – also represented at the fair by Dubai-based The Third Line who are bringing Huda Lutfi and Susan Hefuna, alongside Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian and Farhad Moshiri as well as Shezad Dawood, among others. Other participants include Hunar Gallery (see father-and-son Abdul Qader Al-Rais and Musaab Al-Rais) and B21 Gallery (see the Haerizadeh brothers, Rokni and Ramin) and Art Sawa (see Camille Zakharia and Ahmed Askalany).
Dubai’s Cuadro Fine Art Gallery is notable for its mixture of international and regional talent, with artists such as Bahraini A Rahim Sharif and Saudi Arabian Manal Al-Dowayan supported by Marc Sijan’s life-sized polyester resin and oil paint sculptures and others. “At Cuadro, the artists are selected on the quality of their work without regional delineation. Our aim is to initiate a visual dialogue in international Contemporary art through our presence in the Middle East,” says the gallery’s Bashar Al-Shroogi.
Regional representation can be found in Oman’s Bait Muzna and Syria’s Ayyam and Atassi galleries, showing Moustafa Fathi and Nadim Karam at the former and Ziad Dalloul at the latter. Galerie Janine Rubeiz and Agial Art Gallery hold the flag for participating Lebanese galleries. “I wanted to have a more Contemporary feel to my selection and added one of my young artists, Abdel Rahman Katanani, alongside works by the grand master Samir Sayegh,” says Agial’s Saleh Barakat.
Some Western galleries are bringing regional art; one of whom, Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, boasts names like Moshiri and the fast-rising Haerizadeh brothers, alongside international greats such as Anselm Kiefer and Tony Cragg. “Working with the Haerizadehs and Moshiri has opened up new horizons for the gallery’s activity,” says Thaddeus Ropac of the Iranian contingent at his booth. Similarly, Berlin-based Caprice Horn features Egyptians Amal Kenawy and the newest large-scale works of Khaled Hafez as well as London-based Iranian photographer Mitra Tabrizian. “Hafez uses the iconography of everyday media propagated imagery to tell his story about the Middle East,” explains Horn, “Kenawy relies on symbols to represent the unspoken.”
At Paradise Row, the machine works by Moroccan Mounir Fatmi play on political and religious concepts. “We feel that our artist selection is a good introduction to the Middle East for us as a London gallery with artists who have some form of regional presence,” explains gallery director, Frederic Lers. Talking about Fatmi’s The Machinery (2009), he says, “It’s a very strong piece and the whole concept behind the blades draws on the idea of building and creation, but with a long history woven into it, as seen in the verses of the Qur’an written on them. It is a mix of the past and future, something we see in Abu Dhabi, with the museums and Saadiyat Island, and we felt this piece really summarises that idea of the future that Abu Dhabi is on the verge of achieving.”
With other galleries such as Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller, Xerxes Art, Kamel Mennour, Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Patrice Trigano and Galerie Jerome de Noirmont exhibiting works by some of the Middle East’s hottest emerging and established artists, a host of regional talent is on view.