Here are some selected works from Arab artists being shown in the Dubai art space’s annual exhibition.
‘Come Fly With Me’
The self-taught Emirati artist uses much of his Cubist-style work to explore his country’s heritage. Of this piece, he writes, “We are inheriting a culture of eating in the UAE that is bypassing our traditional recipes and laying on some serious calories. Even in-flight, the menu options are deliciously varied … Indulgence has become more accessible than ever before.” The “Food for Thought” series, Abbas says, is “a satirical representation of modern culture.”
Khamayseh, who was born in Riyadh, and whose father is a calligrapher, contributes this piece, which he describes as “an experiment in letterforms.” He built it up from a collection of “daily sketches, experimental studies and graphic elements” and says that it is an attempt to break the rules of lettering by looking at the letters “as shapes and forms, rather than their functionality.”
‘State of Mind: The Struggle To Create’
The Dubai-based Moroccan artist is described by Tashkeel as “an admirer of both surrealism and minimalism” whose work “taps into the duality between real and surreal in a theatrical but minimalist way.” This mixed-media triptych, she says, represents “the struggle to create, the first phase in the process of shaping an artistic work — often inevitable, always consuming.”
One of the UAE’s premier photographers, Al-Awadhi has worked in the crime-scene field for over 20 years, which has had a significant influence on his photography, which, Tashkeel says, combines “documentation and nature, adopting an integrated approach of science and philosophy.” His “Abandoned Places” series, Al-Awadhi says, reveals locations where “silence has become the master, and repeated this scene every day without boredom.”
Barakat, a UAE-based Palestinian artist, uses painting, photography and tatreez (Palestinian embroidery) in her work “to question collective ideas and stereotypes using a reimagined Palestinian aesthetic. In this work, two identical motifs are joined. The four squares in each motif “resemble the four chambers of the heart,” while their connection “removes the illusion of separateness.”
The young Emirati artist’s “Sheep” is a humorous look at “connotations that the Emirati community has used in identifying certain characteristics of individuals in the dating scene,” he says. Specifically, it’s a portrayal of men who continue to pursue women whom it’s clear have no interest in them. “He continuously follows her around as though called upon by a shepherd,” Al-Shaer says.
Al-Araji was born and raised in Baghdad, and is a trained architect whose artwork varies from realistic portraits to comic-book art. This piece, she says, depicts a “living station” with “cells that form to control the objects that we see around us,” as well as the effect that words play on our behavior, “changing the way we feel on a day-to-day basis.”