Opening next Monday at Artspace is an exhibition featuring works by various artists from the Middle East including Kamel Yahiaoui, Hani Zurob, George Bahgory, Ayad Alkhadi, and photographer Harriet Logan. The exhibit takes place in conjunction with Art Night, the an evening of art-related events in DIFC’s Gate Village.
The show highlights a group of artists who consistently reveal the intricacies of cultural frontiers between the East and the West. They grapple with issues of displacement as well as political and ideological ideas within their subject matter.
Algerian-born Kamel Yahiaoui (b. 1966) currently lives and works in Paris. He expresses himself through various mediums such as everyday found objects, painting and sculpture and consistently portrays subject matter revolving around colonization, extremism and injustice in his work.
“What I try to do when I paint is to rewrite my life; I try to place myself as a witness of the situations and the events I experience…when painting displacement becomes a matter of exploring the state of Waiting, Absense, Halt and Deferral, I wonder if I can still talk about the particularity of the bodies I paint by relating them to some local conditions or to any specific dates,” says Gaza-born artist Hani Zurob (b. 1976). Zurob’s work depicts real-life situations and events he has faced which lead him to blur the boundaries between the political and the personal within his art.
Egyptian artist George Bahgory (b. 1935) works mainly as a cartoonist. He’s fascinated by the power of caricature to depict reality and became the first Egyptian cartoonist to be recognized for his commentary.
Iraqi artist Ayad Alkhadi was born in Baghdad but grew up in the United Kingdom. Arabic calligraphy forms the crux of his work whereby he uses the “caligrams” of the Arabic script to comment on the contemporary interactions between Eastern and Western culture.
The only western artist in the exhibit, British photographer Harriet Logan (b. 1967) has worked as a photojournalist throughout the globe. She won great acclaim for her assignment “Women in Afghanistan” shot for the Sunday Times Magazine in 1997. In 2002 she published “Unveiled”, a book in which she revisits Afghanistan to meet with the women she worked in 1997.
Through sensitive and powerful subject matter, these artists’ work seek to understand the increasing culture of change and development which characterizes the Middle East today.
A cocktail reception will be held at Artspace from 7:00 pm