New livery for Dubai Metro carriages featuring artworks by accomplished artists – Courtesy October Gallery London.


Dubai, UAE; April 28, 2015: The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), in collaboration with RTA, is redefining the UAE’s artistic landscape by working with local and international artists to wrap the Dubai Metro carriages with works of art.

The spectacular artworks of prominent artists, Abdulqader Al Rais, Rachid Koraichi and Safwan Dahoul have now debuted as Dubai Metro carriage wraps, following the unveiling of the first Dubai Metro carriage wrapped with a spellbinding photograph by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.


New generation of young Saudi artists  RASHEED ABOU-ALSAMH from Arab News

Published — Sunday 7 February 2016

Featured image 1: Gharem Studio presents ‘Ricochet’ (image from The Arab British Centre)

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Image 2 & 3: Ajlan Gharem, Paradise Has Many Gates, 2015. Courtesy of Gharem Studio

A group of young Saudi contemporary artists is causing a sensation in the country and throughout the Middle East with their modern works, questioning some of the aspects of our society.

Gathered in art collective called “Edge of Arabia,” these 20 men and 18 women are producing some of the most modern and sophisticated works of art I have ever seen. Unlike the more traditional Saudi artists who only paint landscapes or abstract images, these young innovators use digital photography, painting and large installations to express themselves and engage the viewer.
Ajlan Gharem, a young Saudi who was born in Khamis Mushayt and now teaches mathematics at a public high school in Riyadh, recently made a small mosque completely from wire, with a minaret, which lights up in green lights at night. Faithful can come and pray, and there is an imam to lead the five prayers of the day.


PHOTO ESSAYS Photojournalist Steve McCurry’s Romanticised Visions of India by Carey Dunne in Hyperallergic


American Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his 1984 photograph of an Afghan refugee with piercing green eyes (Sharbat Gula), is one of the most celebrated photojournalists of our time. His career started in 1978, after the work of Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson inspired him to take his first visit to India. This trip, on which McCurry used up 250 rolls of Kodachrome, would be the first of his more than 80 visits to the country.


‘Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video’ opens at The Craft & Folk Art Museum

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Craft & Folk Art Museum and Farhang Foundation present Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video. This juried exhibition features photography and video works from artists around the world who have documented contemporary, intimate life relating to Iran and the Iranian diaspora. The exhibition will be on view at CAFAM from January 25 through May 3, 2015. The juried exhibition was organized as a means to identify and expose emerging artists from around the world whose works reflected on aspects of Iranian culture or heritage. The breadth and impact of the open call resulted in 615 submissions from across Europe and North America, Iran, Australia, and Japan. A final selection of 36 works by 33 artists was chosen by a panel of jurors immersed in the field of photography: Steven Albahari, publisher of 21st Editions; visual artist Ala Ebtekar; and Lucie Foundation Executive Director Cat Jimenez. Six video works were also selected, displaying skillful techniques in the short documentary format, as well as animation. “Partnering with the magnanimous Farhang Foundation has been a wonderful opportunity to reach out to an international pool of artists,” says CAFAM Executive Director Suzanne Isken. “Each of the works offers a vision of Iran from an artist’s perspective. This intimate portrait stands in contrast to the journalistic point of view most often served to non-Iranian audiences.” “Farhang Foundation is dedicated to creating platforms to showcase works of emerging international artists which explore themes of Iranian heritage and culture,” says Farhang Foundation Fine Arts Council Chair Roshi Rahnama. “Focus Iran has been a perfect collaboration with the visionary Craft & Folk Art Museum, co-creating a substantive and inclusive photography and video competition resulting in a strong and diverse body of work selected by the esteemed jury panel. We are thrilled to share this celebratory exhibition of international works with the Los Angeles community and beyond.” The selected artists: Sohrab Akhavan (USA), Mohammad Amin Nadi (Canada), Amir Behroozi (Iran), Ahmad Belbasi (Iran), Arash Bolouri (Iran), Yasmin Chegini (USA), Jovan Erfan (USA), Ramin Etemadi Bozorg (Iran), Majid Farahani (Iran), Marjan Farsad (Canada), Milad Haddadiyan (Iran), Mehdi Hawaii Sardehaii (USA), Judi Iranyi (USA), Shahrokh Jafari (USA), Morvarid K (France), Saeide Karimi (USA) and Siavash Yansori (USA), Atefeh Khas (Iran), Gelareh Kiazand (Turkey) and Kambiz Safari (Iran), Wawrzyniec Kolbusz (Poland), Samira Kouhi (Iran), Shaghayegh Mazloom (Iran), Ali Mohammadi (Iran), Siamak Nasiri Ziba (USA), Grace Oh (USA), Omid Omidvari (Iran), Sepideh Salehi (USA), Jalal Shamsazaran (Iran), Sheida Soleimani (USA), Fazilat Soukhakian (USA), Ramin Talaie (USA), Marjan Vayghan (USA)

More Information:–Contemporary-Photography-and-Video–opens-at-The-Craft—Folk-Art-Museum#.VMOOM2TkfUd[/url]
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Sharjah Biennial 12, 2015

Eungie Joo

Eungie Joo

SAF Art Spaces

SAF Art Spaces

Title:  The past, the present, the possible

Sharjah Biennial 12: The past, the present, the possible (SB12) will open on March 5, 2015 and will be on view through June 5, 2015. SB12 began to take shape in a private conversation between artist Danh Vo and curator Eungie Joo in early 2014. Together they discussed the relevance of contemporary art and the potential of artistic positions to imagine something beyond current states of social and political confinement—and the need for artists to play active roles in imagining the possible.

While archeological research confirms the presence of humans in this region over 125,000 years ago, Sharjah—as a city, an emirate and a member of a relatively young federation—is still in the process of imagining itself through education, culture, religion, heritage and science. SB12 will invite more than fifty artists and cultural practitioners from approximately twenty-five countries to participate in this process by introducing their ideas of the possible through their art and work.

SB12 will be on view from March 5 – June 5, 2015, with opening events taking place March 5 – 8. A vital component of Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual programming, March Meeting 2015 will take place in mid-May, exact dates forthcoming. SB12 will also feature a monthly talks series in Sharjah beginning in September 2014.

Sharjah Biennial is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, which brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region.

Since 1993, Sharjah Biennial has commissioned, produced and presented large-scale public installations, performances and films, offering artists from the region and beyond an internationally recognised platform for exhibition and experimentation.

(From press information, 19 June 2014)


Sharjah Art Foundation

PO Box 19989
United Arab Emirates
Website / Email

Media contacts:

Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates
Maitha Al Jassim
Tel: +971-6-544-4113, ext. 25

 FITZ & CO, New York
Katrina Weber Ashour
Tel: +1 212-627-1455 ext. 1653

In Paris, a Spotlight on Morocco’s Contemporary Art by Joseph Nechvatal on January 21, 2015

PARIS — Three curators, Jean-Hubert Martin (who last year orchestrated the sprawlingThéâtre du Monde show), Moulim El Aroussi, and Mohamed Métalsi, have assembled a vast, 2,500-square-meter (~27,000 sq. ft.) show of contemporary aesthetics from Morocco calledContemporary Morocco at the Institut du Monde Arabe. Without a doubt they have fashioned a fruitful overview of the work of 300 contemporary artists, designers, filmmakers, and musicians. Much of the work invites examination in light of the powers of globalization and the wave of revolutions and protests that have come to be known as theArab Spring. Thus, the show highlights a combination of factors that stress the great diversity of artistic movements there. It implicitly stresses how religious and intellectual openness is part of the Moroccan tradition.

Atbane Younès “9oualab” (2013)

While the provincial aspect of some of the work at times reminded me of nightmare BFA studio visits, the entire exhibition succeeds in depicting a society in movement, thirsty for edgy invention, and unfettered freedom. Highlights of this huge pictorial corpus include the dynamic glowing light and sculptural installation of conical shaped sugar loafs by the visual artist and chorographer Atbane Younès called “9oualab” (2013). In a dark room, white light blinks and sweeps over a beautifully stacked pyramid of sugar loafs. These loaves have a conical form that has not changed for generations, but they retain something that has a paradoxical charge in Moroccan society. They are offered at every important event, like weddings and funerals yet represent rare spiritual value. Thus the work establishes a multiple and unified link of abstract uncertainty between mystical and trivial representation.

Najia Mehadji “Mystic Dance n°2” (2011)

There are also strong abstract paintings here, for example sweeping open gestural paintings by Najia Mehadji (that favor a penchant for contemplation and meditation) and jagged dark paintings by Abdelkébir Rabi, whose work suggested to me the rough and rocky environment of the majestic Atlas Mountains of his childhood. Also of interest were the intensely claustrophobic geometric jumbles by André Elbaz. His paintings tend to balance open forms as they dissolve and deconstruct. All three painters suggest a rich and complex openness to modernity in current Morocco, as does Nourredine Daifallah, a Moroccan calligrapher, with his intricate “Hommage à Imam Al Jazouli” (2014).

Nourredine Daifallah,“Hommage à Imam Al Jazouli” (2014)

There is a fragile and lonely sensibility in the figurative work of Imane Djamil,Safaa Mazirh, Mahi Binebine, Nour Eddine Tilsaghani, Ali Chraibi, andMehdi-Georges Lalou that is both seductive and threatening, expressing both pain and tender anticipate. Particularly strong is Mehdi-Georges Lahlou’s provocative sculpture about theKaaba, “Equilibre à la Kaaba” (2013) and the series of self-photographs by Fatima Mazmouzn, in which the pregnant artist poses as Super Oum in bikini, ski mask, cape, and sexy black boots. A woman exploding taboos.

But for me, the star of the show is 23-year-old Nadia Bensallam. Her cluster of terrific drawings powerfully portrays the ecstatic suspension of time through sex while criticizing dogmatic stances in Moroccan society — including the veil. One feels with her an intelligible emphasis on the black line, like a young Raymond Pettibon, within a general crotchety and slightly surreal erotic aesthetic. Her drawings have something about them that suggests the beautiful heights of a romantic sublime.

Nadia Bensallam, “Liaisons dangereuses” (2014)

Her startling short videoed performance about hypocrisy shows her wandering the streets of Marrakech, cheekily wearing a blasphemous and outlandish combination of high heels and black niqab with miniskirt, carrying a big cherry colored handbag. A teenaged boy eyeballs her and then pursues, shouting something, but I could barely hear what was said. Then the many women she meets in her eccentric outfit insult and curse her out.

Ali Chraibi “Sans titre, Série La Joconda” (2005)

Both Fatima Mazmouzn and Nadia Bensallam seemed to be able to capture the pertinent mood: a distinctly dark aesthetic taste that struck me by-and-large as a form of Romantic Goth that bordered on the erotic.

Abdelkébir Rabi, “Sans titre” (2011)

I know Morocco through occasional visits, and I found this overview of the current Moroccan arts scene, like Morocco itself, to be both familiar and continuously mysterious. The formal issues and conventional syntax of the work lent a mixture of recognizable technique to a reflection on, and questioning of, certain Moroccan religious and cultural traditions. That seems highly relevant in wake of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan/movement adopted by supporters of free speech and freedom of expression after the January 7th massacre at the satirical newspaperCharlie Hebdo in Paris.

The best artists in the exhibition demonstrate the blossoming role that softly subversive art plays in the life of open minded Moroccans (and all people). It is an art that reflects the diversity and fusion inherent in the history of Morocco itself. One where conventional syntax does not squash unconventionality. Thus it is fitting that a huge red sign reading “Nous sommes tous Charlie” (We are all Charlie) in Arabic and French has been placed on the facade of the Institute of the Arab World.

"Nous sommes tous Charlie" (We are all Charlie) in Arabic and French on the facade of the Institut du Monde Arabe (image courtesy IMA)

Le Maroc contemporain (Contemporary Morocco) continues at the Institut du Monde Arabe (1, rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, Place Mohammed V, 5eme, Paris) until March 1