Art Dubai Residents: Nostalgia through Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah’s eyes 

Gideon Appah works on a new piece in 2020. A.R.M. Holding is the home of Residents and the program is supported by Tashkeel. (Photo courtesy: Lena Kassicieh)
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Updated 24 March 2020

Art Dubai Residents: Nostalgia through Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah’s eyes 

DUBAI: Despite the Art Dubai’s Residents exhibition forced to halt due to safety precautions during the international coronavirus pandemic, six artists from around the world were already hard at work on their new creations before the strict measures came into force in the UAE. 

Gideon Appah, a Ghanaian mixed media artist, paints and collages archival prints, posters and photographs to produce narratives that blur the line of cultural understandings of social relationships.

Gideon Appah works on a new piece in 2020. A.R.M. Holding is the home of Residents and the program is supported by Tashkeel. (Photo courtesy: Lena Kassicieh)

“Since 2018, I’ve been working with more archival photography, old newspaper articles, stills from Ghanaian movies,” explained Appah. “I’m interested in dramatic portraiture, comparing the 70s and 80s to the present.” Activating what he calls a “radical experience,” his body of work, and the paintings created during the residency, play with what the viewer can, or cannot, see through the layered techniques to reveal a “ghetto, low-pop” cultural view of Ghanaian society. “Some are fictional, I’m not too strict, but I want to play along with setting the sensual culture from way back,” said Appah, noting that the material also includes known and anonymous letters and diaries. “When you talk about Africa, people don’t talk about romance, but Africa has a lot to show when it comes to love! Not in the way other cultures show it, but through an old-school style, we do it.”

Gideon Appah works on a new piece in 2020. A.R.M. Holding is the home of Residents and the program is supported by Tashkeel. (Photo courtesy: Lena Kassicieh)

Remaining true to his style, passion for mixed media techniques and basing his real life themes on real life photographs, Appah observed that no artist leaves a residency unchanged. “My paintings speak a lot to scale because in the 21st century, it plays a major part in contemporary art and though not a lot has changed for me, the size of my canvas is challenging me to work in a certain way,” he said, observing that the experience, supported by Tashkeel, Dubai’s multi-disciplinary studio, workspace and gallery, has seen him experiment more with color. But one thing that hasn’t changed is his love, and inadvertent homage, to the innate sensuality of his culture, which he reproduces with abstracted simplicity. “I’m into portraiture — showing, without too much detail, what’s happening in the face, the body, with people’s desires, love, being provocative — but not glamourizing things,” he said. 

*Gideon Appah is represented by Gallery 1957 in Accra, Ghana.

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

Updated 9 min 59 sec ago

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

DUBAI: Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim revealed on Instagram that she underwent a six-hour surgery after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people and injuring thousands. 

“Half my face and my body were covered in blood,” said Njeim, who lives close to the port area where the explosion happened, captioning a video – shot by someone else – of her damaged apartment.

“I thank God first, who saved my life. The explosion was close, and the scenes you see do not do it justice. If you visit the house and see the blood everywhere, you would be surprised as to how we are still alive,” the star, who has two children, wrote captioning the clip that shows shattered glass, cracked walls and broken furniture strewn all over her living room.

According to her post, the star went down 22 floors, barefoot and covered in blood and sought help from a man who was in his car. 

“He dropped me to the nearest hospital, but they refused to admit me because they were packed with wounded people,” she said. “He dropped me to another hospital where they immediately took me in and I underwent a six-hour operation.” 

The 36-year-old actress said her children were not home and are “fine and safe.”

Multiple Lebanese celebrities have also taken to social media to share videos of their destroyed homes. 

Singer Haifa Wehbe shared, on her Instagram Stories, clips of the destruction that ravaged her home. “We are all okay thank God. My house is next to the explosion,” she wrote to her followers before asking them to keep her house helper, who got injured in her head and eyes, in their prayers.

Clips circulated on social media of Lebanese fashion designer Dalida Ayach, who is also the wife of singer Ramy Ayach, in the hospital being treated for her injuries. 

Singer Elissa, who recently released a new album, took to Twitter to share pictures of the aftermath of the explosion. “It affected the metals and the properties this time, but who will bring back the dead? Who will bring back Beirut?” the star wrote.

Singer Ragheb Alama’s house also got destroyed, but luckily, he and his family were on a trip outside the city.

The ateliers of renowned Lebanese designers have also been ruined, including Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Ralph Masri’s flagship stores.

Taking to his Stories, Kayrouz shared videos of the damage caused by the explosion to his atelier. “Our courageous team trying to save… what could be saved!” the designer captioned one clip of one of the atelier workers pulling out clothing from the debris.