For the First Time Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction Includes Arab & Iranian Art

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Whether it was Obama or Bob The Builder who coined “Yes We Can” is not the point.  What is significant is the “Yes we can”, or rather, “Why not?” uttered by Sotheby’s Directors who decided to include the standalone Contemporary Arab & Iranian Art auction in their main Contemporary Art Auction which runs concurrent to London’s Frieze Art Fair next week.

And, Why Not? - the Arab & Iranian Contemporary sales over the past 2 years have established Sotheby’s as market leaders by consistently providing high quality art which holds its value and appeals across the spectrum.  Facts borne out by the diverse buyers’ base and the statistics of the sales: October 2007 saw the first auction of Arab & Iranian Contemporary Art which was a virtual sell-out achieving £1.5m, double the guide price; and the October 2008 sale netted £3.2m despite the dire economic climate.

Vital Statistics:
Auction 3pm Friday 16th October - Exhibition from 12-5pm Sunday 11th & 9am-430pm Monday 12th to Thursday 15th October.
Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street London W1S 2RT Click for map.
Tel: +44 20 7293 5000
Nearest Tubes: Bond Street and Oxford Circus.

According to Lina Lazaar, who with Dalya Islam put the show together, it can sometimes be difficult to escape the ‘confined and reductionist Arab and Iranian attribute’.  However, a quick review of the content in the auction confirms that, indeed, works such as that of Farhad Moshiri, Mohammad Ehsai, Mona Hatoum and Y.Z. Kami are more than justified marching alongside artists such as Antony Gormley, Marc Quinn or Tracey Emin.

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Canvas at the British Museum - Gender Wars and Chadors II

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Dubai based Canvas Magazine has been bringing the world the latest quality art and intelligent critique from the Middle East since 2004 and, true to its progressive attitude, has grasped the nettle of stereotype and preconception and their impact on collectors, curators and artists, by inaugurating the series of three panel discussions provocatively titled Gender, Wars and Chadors.

This, the second discussion, takes the view point of the curators, who are, Saleh Barakat, co-curator of the first Lebanese Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Rose Issa, the internationally renowned London-based curator and Dr. Venetia Porter, curator in the department of the Middle East at the British Museum.  The panel is moderated by Dr. Anthony Downey Programme Director of the MA course in Contemporary Art at Sothebys Institute of Art.

The first discussion involving collectors was held during Art Basel in Switzerland in June 2009 and the third will involving artists will take place in Basel Miami Beach later this year.  The transcripts of these discussions is intended to be publish in book form during March 2010.

Vital Statistics:
Discussion 7-8pm 12 October.
Tickets are free but you must reserve a place by calling +44 208 969 3959
BP Theatre, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
Click for map.  Nearest Tube: Holborn, Tottenham Court Road

Further info at Canvas online / Britsh Museum / Rose Issa’s website / Maqam Gallery - Saleh Barakat / Rose Issa’s Exhibitions on Kazbah / Canvas TV - being launched in 2010

Barbican’s Series of Ecstatic Music

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On Friday 25th, Sunday 27 and Wednesday 30th September the Barbican presents a voyage into the mystic world of the Sufi tradions of Qwwali and Gnawa music alongside healing music from Sudan and Voodoo funk from Benin.
For more information on the event click here HERE

Friday William Dalrymple hosts Nine Lives: Sacred Music from Modern India a concert based on Dalrymple’s latest book, Nine Lives which follows nine people telling their story through their music and culture, and features Paban Das Baul & the Bauls Of Bengal, Shah Jo Raag Fakirs, Susheela Raman & Chandu Pannicker Theyyam Dance Group.

Sunday’s concert feature the afro/funk irresistible dance music of Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou supported by Gnawa Home Songs playing Tamesloht Blues.

Wednesday’s venue is LSO St Lukes featuring the Sudani Healing music of Rango with support by Ethiopian legend Alemu Aga.

Event Details:
25th & 27th Sept @ Barbican Centre. 730pm each concert.
Click for map. Nearest Tube: Barbican
Tel: 020 7638 8891/020 7638 4141
Nine Lives on 25 Sept Tickets: £12.50-20 For info and tickets click Buy Tickets
Afro Funk and Gnawa 27 Sept Tickets: £10/15/20 For info and tickets click Buy Tickets

30 Sept @ LSO St Luke’s 161 Old Street. 730pm.
Click for map. Nearest Tube: Old Street.
Tel: 020 7588 1116
Rango & Alemu Aga Tickets: £12.50-15 For more info and tickets click Buy Tickets

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Celebrate Darwish - Readings of Mahmoud Darwish at the Qattan Foundation 30th September

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Its just over a year since the renown poet Mahmoud Darwish, The Voice of Palestine, died; so, fittingly, the A.M. Qattan Foundation are holding Celebrate Darwish, a night of his readings by contemporary poets and authors Fawzi Karim, Margaret Obank, Ruth Padel and Hanan al-Shaykh.

The event is in association with the Arab British Centre and Saqi who, in early August, published “A River Dies of Thirst: A Diary” of Darwish’s thoughts and recollections during the 2006 conflict in Ramallah.
To buy A River Dies of Thirst click HERE

Vital Statistics:
Mosaic Rooms at the A. M. Qattan Foundation. 630pm for 7pm Wednesday 30th September.
Tickets FREE but space is limited so email  or ring +44 207 370 9990
A. M. Qattan Foundation, 226 Cromwell Road, London SW5 0SWClick for map.
For more info click HERE
Nearest Tube: Earl’s Court

To listen to Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry click HERE
For Darwish’s poetry in Arabic and English click HERE
Click for the A.M. Qattan Foundation.
Click for Saqi Books.
For the Arab British Centre click HERE

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