Summer in Dubai.
Too hot to lounge by the pool and the shopping malls are busier than ever. A perfect solution for whiling away the weekend days? A visit to an air-conditioned art-space is the right tonic. Nestled in the industrial sprawl of Al Quoz, is the Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, co-founded by former Art Dubai managing director Ms al Shabibi and William Lawrie last year.
Lawrie Shabibi is presenting its summer exhibition HEROES & VILLAINS, a group exhibition that hopefully will strike a chord with those residing in the Middle East. Featured artists draw upon their experiences of living in politically volatile climates, where the lines between a Hero and a Villain are sometimes blurred. Who are today’s heroes? Who are the villains? In 2011, the year of change, the answer to this has never been less clear. The artists explore the these grey areas in vivid colour, demonstrating the heady mix of glamour, drama, melodrama and grit that characterizes our notions of heroism and villainy.
A number of the artists selected for the show have never been exhibited in Dubai before. This includes Afghan video artist and photographer Gazelle Samizay, whose work explores the intersection of her Afghan heritage and American upbringing through her status as a woman; the Iranian artist Asad Faulwell, whose new works of intricately woven collages celebrate the largely unsung female freedom fighters who struggled to end French occupation in Algeria; Aicha Hamu, the Moroccan/French multi-disciplinary artist presenting a polyptych of Elizabeth Taylor and her seven husbands; Katayoun Vaziri whose nationalist Iranian posters of the 80’sa are manipulated by the general public; and graphic scenes of urban decay by the young Egyptian Ali Abdel Mohsen.
Other artists included are Yasam Sasmazer, the young Turkish sculptor whose haunting yet appealing images of children have been causing a sensation; Farsad Labbauf, who paints figures with an almost calligraphic touch, and whose work can be found in the Saatchi Collection and Marwan Sahmarani, one of the three 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize winners.
The Heroes & Villains exhibition at the Lawrie Shabibi Gallery will run from June 12 to July 31.