DUBAI: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has announced the return of Dubai Art Season for the 2023 edition during February and March, Emirates News Agency reported on Thursday.
The event, held under the theme of “Take a Walk on the Art Side,” will coincide with many other entertainment activities in the emirate, including the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Sikka Art and Design Festival, Art Dubai, Dubai Opera performances, and DIFC Art Nights.
Over 250 global personalities are expected to attend.
The season’s program includes the 16th edition of Art Dubai, which will be held at Madinat Jumeirah from March 1-5.
Reem bint Ibrahim Al-Hashemy, minister for international cooperation, and Hala Badri, director-general of Dubai Culture, will also host a joint session to discuss the UAE’s experience in shaping the future.
To celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Japan, Dubai Culture is hosting an exhibition that showcases Dubai in 1962, with images taken by Yoshio Kawashima, a Japanese photojournalist, during his visit to the Middle East.
The Taste of Dubai Festival will return on Friday to celebrate the culinary arts in Dubai and the region.
Meanwhile, an exhibition at Al-Safa Art and Design Library until March 17 will explore Dubai’s heritage, history and everyday life.
The event calendar also includes immersive entertainment parks featuring themed interactive experiences across 12 zones.
During Dubai Art Season, Alserkal Avenue and Alserkal Arts Foundation will host a variety of creative cultural activities, such as art walks, to provide alternative ways to engage with art.
Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, CEO of the Arts and Literature Sector at Dubai Culture, said that Dubai Art Season has become a platform that brings together multiple creative events in the emirate.
The season provides opportunities for writers, artists and intellectuals to express their creativity in a variety of fields, which is consistent with Dubai Culture’s commitment to creating a sustainable and supportive artistic ecosystem for entrepreneurs, he said.
This is in line with the vision of UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum to position Dubai as a global cultural and talent hub.
Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman’s explores how an understanding of microbiology can help deal with trauma
Updated 22 March 2023
DUBAI: The latest exhibition from Los Angeles-based Iraqi Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman, on show at Dubai’s The Third Line gallery, is called “Gut Feelings: Part II.” The title is both instructive — the majority of works depict a female figure, or figures, with a knot of guts spilling from some part of their bodies — and allusive, as the show is informed by Kahraman’s exhaustive research into the gut microbiome and its effect on our mental and physical health, as well as by her own experiences of trauma. The imagery somehow manages to be unsettling, funny and comforting all at once.
The most immediate influence from Kahraman’s own life on this body of work was her mother’s diagnosis with lung cancer, which she received in 2018.
“That’s when I started digging into the biosciences and immunology,” Kahraman tells Arab News. “My mom was a naturopath, she tried a lot of alternative (medicine). If my mom were alive, she would have so much input into this. And it is a way of getting closer to her; it’s all connected to this work.
“I started with immunology and I was struck by how militaristic the language was. You’re ‘fighting cancer.’ You’re constantly at war with your body, you know? Why can’t we have something that’s looking at it as more of a journey, rather than something you’re fighting against? I really reacted to the semantics,” she continues.
“From immunology I shifted into microbiology, and that’s where this (show) was born. I really got into a rabbit hole,” Kahraman explains. “There are ecosystems of microbiota all over our bodies; inside, outside, around. There’s something called aura microbiota, so right now, as we’re sitting next to each other, my microbiota is mixing with your microbiota, which is just beautiful if you think of it, because then all of these notions of ‘us and them’ or where I end and you begin — these dichotomies — shatter. I found out — and this was mindblowing — our bodies have a 1:1 ratio of human cells and microbial cells. So where do ‘you’ start and where do ‘you’ end? You’re equally other: microbe, germ, dirty. As somebody who’s been an immigrant, a refugee, ‘othered’ in so many ways, I’m constantly thinking about difference. So with the microbes, it was, like, ‘Ooh, these are my friends.’”
Kahraman was born in 1981 and grew up in Baghdad. Her mother worked for the United Nations and her father was a university professor. “My parents were very liberal. We had a little playroom in our home that we could paint all over; walls, ceiling, doors. That was very empowering. That room was filled with all kinds of stories — our concerns, things that we wanted to celebrate,” she says.
Her parents also hosted regular soirees attended by Iraqi creatives. “I’d sit in the room next door and do these quick gestural paintings, and every now and then one of these creatives would come in and look at my painting and give me a mini critique. And that was amazing; to get that from multiple voices,” she says. “That was pivotal to my life.”
The family fled Iraq to Sweden when Kahraman was 10, after the first Gulf War. They arrived as undocumented refugees and were eventually granted asylum. “I went through a process of assimilation when I arrived; I wanted so desperately to belong and become Swedish,” she says. “And when that happens to you, you’re robbed of who you thought that you really were; whatever that is. I did everything I could to become Swedish; dyed my hair, had a perfect accent, so I didn’t sound like an immigrant. And that’s a very violent thing to undergo, because you really are erasing something. This is something I revisit in my work all the time; I’m so concerned with not being erased. ‘I’m here. I exist. Listen to me. Hear me. See me.’”
That, she says, is why the female figure in “Gut Feelings: Part II” has been recurrent throughout her work. It was first created in Italy, where she moved to intern as a librarian at an art school. There have been many “transmutations” of the figure, however. In 2007, for example, at the height of Iraq’s sectarian violence, when thousands of people were dying there each day, Kahraman had just moved to Phoenix, Arizona. “I was consumed by guilt, being in this country that was currently at war with my own. So the work was very violent — you had women setting themselves on fire, women hanging themselves...” She was also in an abusive relationship at the time, although she says it took her many years to realize it, “but it came out in the work.”
Having lived through so much trauma, it’s unsurprising that Kahraman describes herself as having a tendency to be “very dark” and to regularly become obsessed with certain topics (such as microbia).
“If I could, I would just live in my obsessions,” she says. “My work is about working through things — trauma and those obsessions. Why am I obsessing about the microbiome, and health, and torshi (fermented beetroot, which features heavily in the show, and is rich in ‘good’ bacteria)? My mom used to make torshi when we were kids and we used to paint with it. I didn’t consciously link it at first. The academic research came before, and then I’m like, ‘Oh my god. Yes. That’s why I’m here…’”
She stresses, however, that as much as her art doubles as therapy, it also brings her joy. And there is lightness in the exhibition too — the comic book-style gut-spillage has a certain humorous appeal.
“I am trying to channel that levity. I think I’ve got a nice balance between the really grotesque and… I wouldn’t say beauty, because that’s subjective. I’d say, connection, maybe,” she says. “I wanted the audience to walk in and feel like they’re inside the body and that it’s comforting and that there’s compassion and healing and that it’s a safe space.”
The artist won for “Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings” (2019–ongoing), which was put on show during the Art Here 2022 exhibition in October.
“I am grateful to be recognized amongst a group of peers for whom I have deep respect and admiration. The Richard Mille Art Prize represents a significant investment in the growth and development of an artist’s practice, instilling both the capacity and drive to forge ahead in their pursuit. I would like to thank Louvre Abu Dhabi and Richard Mille for their generous support, and acknowledge the esteemed jury for their trust,” Jabbar said in a released statement.
To date, the artist has had her work exhibited at Shubbak Festival (UK), SAVVY Contemporary (Germany), Rabat Biennale (Morocco), Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans (France), Abu Dhabi Art, Jameel Arts Centre, NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, and Warehouse 421 (UAE).
The museum also revealed the theme for the upcoming third edition of the Richard Mille Art Prize as “Transparency.” Curated by Maya El Khalil, the open call for the upcoming edition will begin on March 30.
“Spent some quality time in this tomb today with the boy king himself! Tutankhamen’s body was only unwrapped last year,” Lowe wrote to his 1.9 million followers, sharing a picture of himself inside the tomb.
Saudi art exhibition goes back to future inspiring modern culture
Al-Khudhairi told Arab News: “Tradition is such a loaded word, and it has so much meaning to so many people in a lot of really strong ways
Updated 22 March 2023
RIYADH: Misk Art Institute’s spring display, titled “Brand New Ancients,” presents 17 artists’ existing works derived from oral and material traditions, showing how history can revive itself in innovative ways.
Curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi and Cecilia Ruggeri, the exhibition was born out of Kae Tempest’s poem of the same title, both telling a story of the past’s impact on future potential.
Al-Khudhairi told Arab News: “Tradition is such a loaded word, and it has so much meaning to so many people in a lot of really strong ways.
“In our contemporary culture today, not just artists, but a lot of people, look at stories, ideas, techniques, traditions that come from the past as ways to tackle our current culture, and even to envision the future.”
Paralleling the theme, the exhibition has been staged using only existing works.
“You can take the work that’s been made two, five, eight years ago, and put it in another context and breathe a different life into it and allow it to have another life through its relationship to the theme and the other works around it,” Al-Khudhairi said.
Kuwait-born visual artist Hamra Abbas has used lapis lazuli stones from Afghanistan to create a mosaic of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, and titled it “Mountain 1.”
The structure is described as a relic of Pakistani history, embodying perfection, paradise, and truth. The artist used the classical 17th-century Florian marquetry technique of pietra dura, which later became prominent in her local region and used in the Indo-Islamic Mughal architecture style.
In our contemporary culture today, not just artists, but a lot of people, look at stories, ideas, techniques, traditions that come from the past as ways to tackle our current culture, and even to envision the future.
Wassan Al-Khudhairi Curator
Blocks of stone were painstakingly cut into fragments and then individually polished, shaped, and pieced together to form the 320-kilogram artwork as a symbol for cultural exchange and diversity, gluing together notions and materials from around the world.
Abbas told Arab News: “It was a completely experimental piece. I did not know I could create an image using only lapis. You can’t tell what you’re making for months while you’re making it. It’s only after you polish it that you see the result.”
Pakistani artist Wardha Shabbir’s miniature painting, “In Search of Light,” uses the atmosphere of the city of Lahore, nuanced by bright yellow and orange colors, to portray symbols of loss, despair, hope, and survival inspired by her experience as a woman from Pakistan.
It is an emblem of personal traditions as well as ones handed down through generations, commemorated by the drawings of flora native to the region and mapped across archival paper.
Shabbir said: “I’ve been looking at the city and how it evolved and grew, and all those plants became my foremost influence. My mother was a gardener and when we were younger, we took care of plants more than our toys, so I developed a relationship with them.”
Her drawings depict the experiences, people, economic and political turmoil, and struggles for survival within Lahore.
“This is how I’m taking the (miniature painting) tradition forward. This is how I stand in the world,” she added.
Using the principle that a poem is not a poem unless it has seven lines, Saudi artist Maha Malluh’s presentation, “Riyadh Poem,” is the final piece in her “Food for Thought” series.
The artwork is a seven-piece hanging installation made of 156 aluminium pot covers, reflecting traditional motifs within Islamic culture, such as the seven rounds in Hajj around the Kaaba, the seven heavens, and the seven days of the week.
Saudi contemporary artist Ahmed Mater’s “Ashab Al-Lal: Fault Mirage, A Thousand Lost Years” exhibit layers glass slide images of the past and present, allowing them to instantly interact.
Riyadh-born visual and performance artist Sarah Brahim’s video installation “Bodyland” depicts the inheritance and generational passing-down of grief through genetics.
The institute’s show not only exhibits the recycled crafts of ancient traditions, but also incorporates contemporary understandings of heritage, contextualized in modernity. By digging into the past, “Brand New Ancients” aims to carve a path for the future.
The artists’ works will remain on display at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Fine Arts Hall in Riyadh until July 15.
Also among the featured artists are Filipino Pacita Abad, Palestinian Dana Awartani, Mexican Abraham Cruzvillegas, American Derek Fordjour, Kuwaiti Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige from Lebanon, Canada-based Lotus Laurie Kang, Qatari American Sophia Al-Maria, Nasser Al-Salem from Saudi Arabia, and Italian duo Ornaghi and Prestinari.
Complete zodiac symbol uncovered in Egypt’s Temple of Esna
The discovery was made during a project to record, document and restore the temple’s original colors
Updated 20 March 2023
CAIRO: A team of Egyptian and German experts uncovered a complete zodiac symbol on the ceiling of the Hypostyle Hall on the southern side of Luxor’s Temple of Esna.
The discovery was made during a project to record, document and restore the temple’s original colors, carried out by a joint team of experts from the Egyptian Center of Documentation of Antiquities and the University of Tuebingen, Germany.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the symbol was undetected during previous projects in the temple.
He added that the finding would contribute to increasing the flow of Egyptian visitors and foreign tourists to the site.
Hisham El-Leithy, head of the Egyptian expert team, said that the zodiac depicts the twelve signs from Aries to Pisces, in addition to images of the outer planets including Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. It also depicts the so-called seven arrows, in addition to some stars or constellations that were used by the ancient Egyptians for time measurement.
Christian Leitz, head of the mission from the German side, said that a number of signs depicting Egyptian deities and animals, including snakes and crocodiles, were also uncovered. Images of a serpent with a ram head and a bird with a crocodile head, as well as a serpent tail, were also found.
The Temple of Esna is one of the most prominent tourist and archaeological attractions in Esna, south of Luxor Governorate, in southern Egypt. The site is located on the west bank of the Nile River.
Construction on the Temple of Esna began in 186 B.C. It took about 400 years to build and complete its inscriptions, which were finalized in 250 A.D. The temple consists of one hypostyle hall that includes 24 columns with depictions of Ptolemaic kings and emperors.
Last year, Egyptian-German experts uncovered images of 46 eagles arranged in two rows on top of the entrance gate of the Temple of Esna.