Political art at its darkest: Dubai-based gallery set to exhibit work by figurative painter Nicky Nodjoumi

Political art at its darkest: Dubai-based gallery set to exhibit work by figurative painter Nicky Nodjoumi
Nicky Nodjoumi’s ‘The Oaths of Infidels’ (2017). (The Third Line)
Updated 01 May 2018

Political art at its darkest: Dubai-based gallery set to exhibit work by figurative painter Nicky Nodjoumi

Political art at its darkest: Dubai-based gallery set to exhibit work by figurative painter Nicky Nodjoumi
  • Nodjoumi is particularly interested in exploring power dynamics
  • The figurative painter uses his work to explore the emotions inherent in international politics

DUBAI: Dubai-based gallery The Third Line is set to present a solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Nicky Nodjoumi featuring large and small-scale oils on canvas, ink drawings and a collection of collages.

The figurative painter uses his work to explore the emotions inherent in international politics and is known for his signature motif — men in business suits, often painted against a sparse background.

Nodjoumi’s work is disturbing and shot through with dark wit, evidenced by his atomic clouds, bombed out landscapes and images of giant apes and satanic wrestling matches.  

The artist, who was born in the Iranian city of Kermanshah in 1942, is particularly interested in exploring power dynamics.

“What I’m looking to express in my paintings are the relations of power. I find a situation and a composition that touches on the relations between people, objects, and spaces, on their embeddedness in power. And then I try to approximate it in painting,” he once said, according to a press release.  

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in art from Tehran University, the artist relocated to the US in the late 1960s and received a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from The City College of New York in 1974. Upon returning to Iran, he was faced with shifting sands as the shah faced anti-establishment fervor across the country. Nodjoumi found himself caught up in the radical spirit sweeping Iran and designed political posters to further the cause, only to be promptly exiled in the aftermath of the revolution.

The artist has showcased work in prominent institutions around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Museum in London and the National Museum of Cuba.

Titled “Fractures,” the exhibition is set to run from May 12 – July 31 and was curated by New York-based art historian and critic Media Farzin for Bidoun, a publishing, curatorial and educational platform.


‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

Audrey Hepburn was one of the most fascinating Hollywood heroines. (File/Screengrab)
Updated 02 December 2020

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

‘Audrey: More Than an Icon’ takes viewers behind glitz of a Hollywood heroine

CHENNAI: Audrey Hepburn was one of the most fascinating Hollywood heroines – undoubtedly in the class of bubbly Ingrid Bergman, charismatic Julie Andrews, romantic Grace Kelly, or even the reclusive Vivien Leigh.

Known for her amazing range, she played Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl in “My Fair Lady” (adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”), and Hepburn stole our hearts, while frustrating noted phonetician Prof. Henry Higgins’ (Rex Harrison) efforts to tame the wild girl.

All these and more have been compiled in a gripping documentary, “Audrey: More Than an Icon,” directed by British 26-year-old Helena Coan.

An Oscar winner for “Roman Holiday” and as known for her style statements as she was for her myriad roles, each performed with unforgettable moments, Hepburn was, behind all these popping flashbulbs and glitzy costumes, a woman of spirited grit.

With a string of tragic events behind her – the father she adored abandoned the family when she was a child – she made peace with all this and ultimately walked away from the allure of Hollywood to dedicate her last years to caring for children.

It could not have been easy to embark on a subject such as Hepburn, fiercely private that she was. But producers Nick Taussig and Annabel Wigoder along with Coan somehow managed that – with the clinching point coming after a meeting with her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer.

The interviews in the film (available on DVD and digital download formats) are seamlessly woven into Hepburn’s other talent, ballet. Trained as a dancer, she even won a scholarship to the Rambert School of Ballet in London, but her height played spoilsport.

Coan manages to give us the black along with the white in her subject’s life, and a fair balance has been maintained.

In interviews that Hepburn gave, she talks about plunging into showbiz and the joy she derived from it. But her miscarriages were heart-breaking. Her divorces were terrible, and she had a lifelong wish to have smaller feet, a smaller nose, and to be blonde.

The documentary is peppered with pulsating points and will be a revelation for a generation that may not have been exactly familiar with what Hepburn was all about. Yes, it may be somewhat hagiographical, but that is a small price to pay for the boxful of bounties.