Let the bidding begin: Christie’s stages three auctions dedicated to Middle Eastern art

Let the bidding begin: Christie’s stages three auctions dedicated to Middle Eastern art
Ayman Baalbaki. 'Warehouse No. 12.' 2020. Mixed media and acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
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Updated 17 November 2020

Let the bidding begin: Christie’s stages three auctions dedicated to Middle Eastern art

Let the bidding begin: Christie’s stages three auctions dedicated to Middle Eastern art

DUBAI: Three months after the Beirut explosions ravaged Lebanon’s cosmopolitan Mediterranean capital, leaving over 300,000 homeless, more than 200 dead and thousands injured, the damage, which comes on top of the country’s collapsed banking system, corrupt government and spiking COVID-19 cases, continues to depress the country that has long been the Middle East’s bastion for creativity.

Tagreed Darghouth. 'Brighter than a thousand suns - Beirut Apocalypse.' 2015. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

In light of Lebanon’s continued plight, Christie’s Dubai is hosting a special charity auction titled We Are All Beirut, alongside its traditional Middle Eastern Modern and Contemporary Art sale and a specially curated auction entitled Matters of Material by Dina Nasser-Khadivi.  All three sales kicked off on Nov. 11 and run until Nov. 24, offering a variety of 151 lots with estimates ranging from below $6,607 to $330,360.

“I have taken great hope in the support shown towards Beirut’s arts community,” said Caroline Louca-Kirkland, managing director Christie’s Middle East to Arab News. “The response regionally and internationally has been heartening. I am hopeful that we can raise enough funds to genuinely make a difference and help our beloved Beirut and it’s arts community, flourish again.”

Laure Ghorayeb. 'L'Etoile Filante.' 2011. Mixed media on cardboard. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Janine Rubeiz

Included among the works on offer in We Are All Beirut are art, design and jewelry pieces, with all the proceeds benefiting the Arab Fund Arts & Culture (AFAC) to support the rebuilding of Beirut’s creative scene. A selection of works have been sourced by Art Haus Beirut, with their proceeds going towards the Lebanese Red Cross. These include pieces by Ayman Baalbaki, Katya Traboulsi, Serwan Baran, Tagreed Darghouth, Alfred Basbous and Abdul Rahman Katanani, among others.

Christie’s traditional Middle Eastern Modern & Contemporary will offer its usual diverse selection of works from artists across the MENA region and Iran. Top lots feature works by the late Mohamed Melehi, Farid Belkahia, Samia Halaby, Rachid Koraïchi and Farhad Moshiri. The sale also includes an inaugural design section, curated by architect and interior designer Viktor Udzenija, offering limited edition pieces by Nada Debs, Hassan Hajjaj and Ranya Sarakbi.

Oussama Baalbaki. 'Beirut Port.' 2020. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

“Christie’s is very much looking forward to our upcoming season of auctions, which are both innovative and carefully curated to meet the demand from today’s collectors,” said Michael Jeha, Chairman of Christie’s Middle East to Arab News. “We are also very excited by the role that technology and digitalization has played in these auctions, a trend that will continue going forward. We expect the caliber of works to appeal to an international audience and we are very proud to be a part of the Beirut auction, helping to raise funds for the arts community there.”

The third sale, the first of its kind, is a collaboration between Christie’s and international art consultant Dina Nasser-Khadivi. Titled Matters of Material is curated auction focusing on defying stereotypes and supporting diversity in the international contemporary art market, with selected works hailing from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. “This new curated sale is part of a new strategy very specific to the contemporary sale, which links the Middle East to new geographies, namely Africa and Latin America,” explained Nasser-Khadivi to Arab News. “The theme of this first sale is dedicated to an exploration of how media and materials can be used to and recycled to create powerful statements and works of art.”

Serwan Baran. 'Beirut Clean-up.' 2020. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

One of the lead works of Matters of Material is “Baby” by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri. A sculptural work that the artist executed in 2020, it is made of a multitude of keychains arranged to spell the word “Baby.” To date, Mohsiri has only ever produced three works in this material and Baby is the first to be offered at auction.

While Moshiri’s works are often stereotyped as pop, exotic, and rooted in Persian traditions and styles, they also reference global exchanges, namely through the materials that he uses to strike up discourses related to North, South, East and West — the same themes that weave through the additional works on show in this new section, challenging our everyday thoughts in regard to the massive shifts taking place in the world.

Model Imaan Hammam takes a break from social media

Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP
Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP
Updated 23 January 2021

Model Imaan Hammam takes a break from social media

Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP

DUBAI: Model Imaan Hammam is taking a social media break “to reset and reflect,” she revealed this week. 

The Dutch catwalk star, who was born to an Egyptian father and a Moroccan mother, took to her Instagram platform to raise awareness about mental health in light of “Blue Monday,” the third Monday in January, which is dubbed to be the most gloomy day of the year.

Urging her one million followers to prioritize their mental well-being, Hammam posted a photo of herself wearing a yellow t-shirt bearing a number for the mental health crisis hotline. 

She wrote: “(Wednesday) was a really exciting step forward for the US. But as we celebrate, I also want to remember that the day-to-day struggles people are facing — especially with mental health — don’t just disappear with a new administration. This past Monday (#BlueMonday) was the supposed scientifically proven most depressing day of the year.”


A post shared by Imaan Hammam (@imaanhammam)

She went on to encourage her followers to check out music collective Enjoy Being in Transition’s new trilogy of mixes curated by one of fashion’s favorite sound designers, Michel Gaubert, in order to bring peace and harmony and “to be a source of relief and inspiration for a society feeling the fatigue and the effects of depression from this past year.” She even plugged the link to the Blue Room playlist in her Instagram bio.

The 24-year-old also announced that she has started releasing monthly Spotify playlists in an effort to help uplift her fans’ spirits. 

“Speaking of mental health,” she concluded, “I am going to take a little break from social for a bit, just to reset and reflect. Sending you guys love and I’ll be back soon.”

Hammam isn’t the only supermodel to take a break from social media to prioritize their mental health in recent weeks. 


A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

Part-Palestinian catwalker Bella Hadid briefly abandoned the photo-sharing social media platform at the beginning of this month. 

A few weeks after departing, Hadid explained to her 38 million followers why she felt she needed to quit. 

“I took some time away to reflect and learn about myself in a way that would be too much to explain at the moment, but with time I will express,” the model wrote. “The memories and fortune I came back with are pure wisdom, a closer relationship with myself and my spirituality, a sense of self-love that I have always lacked, a few great friends, and these books that saw me through.”