4 unmissable art events in Dubai in August 2014

August 2014 features a series of must-see art events in Dubai.

One of the key Middle Eastern art hubs, Dubai is home to the region’s most important art fair and some of its most influential galleries and artists. Art Radar selects 4 unmissable events in the emirate in the month of August.

Amir Hossein Zanjani's solo exhibition installation view at Salsali Private Museum. Image courtesy Salsali Private Museum.

Amir Hossein Zanjani’s solo exhibition installation view at Salsali Private Museum. Image courtesy Salsali Private Museum.

In the past decade, Dubai has quickly risen to become an important art hub in the Middle East, home to the most influential art fair in the region, Art Dubai, and the base for Bidoun Magazine alongside New York. Some of the key galleries representing Middle Eastern artists have established a foothold in the emirate, such as Ayyam Gallery, Carbon 12, Etemad Gallery, Green Art Gallery, Khak Gallery, Grey Noise and The Third Line, in addition to nonprofit and experimental spaces like JAMM ART and Tashkeel. The Al Quoz neighbourhood and the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) have become contemporary art districts in the city, with events, exhibitions and activities all year round.

Here are four events not to be missed in August 2014.

Darwin Guevarra, 'Functional worker'. Image courtesy Tashkeel.

Darwin Guevarra, ‘Functional worker’. Image courtesy Tashkeel.

Made in Tashkeel

Made in Tashkeel” is an annual exhibition organised by nonprofit art organisation Tashkeel. Running from 6 June to 30 August this year, the exhibition showcases the work of Tashkeel members, workshop participants and recent exhibiting artists. Artworks in the exhibition range from design pieces to conceptual art, analogue photography, printmaking and digital art. The show includes UAE-based, international, regional and local artists and designers, such as Amartey Golding, Afra bin Dhaher, AlYazia AlSuwaidi, Darwin Guevarra, Hind Mezaina, Khalid Mezaina, Manal Al Dowayan, Latifa Saeed, Lara Assouad Khoury, Myneandyours, Nasir Nasrallah, Ruben Sanchez, Salama Nasib, Sofia Chatzisaranti and Zeinab Al Hashemi.

Tashkeel was established in 2008 in response to the plethora of commercial galleries in Dubai, and functions as a platform for facilitating art and design practice, cross-cultural dialogue, creative exchange and experimentation. Tashkeel is dedicated to the promotion of emerging talents from the UAE, giving more space to the next generation of artists to develop their practice. It also runs an artist residency programme.

Amir Hossein Zanjani, 'Conductor', 2013, oil on canvas, 180 x 200 cm. Image courtesy Salsali Private Museum.

Amir Hossein Zanjani, ‘Conductor’, 2013, oil on canvas, 180 x 200cm. Image courtesy Salsali Private Museum.

Amir Hossein Zanjani

The Salsali Private Museum (SPM) launched a solo exhibition of works by Iranian artist Amir Hossein Zanjani on 17 March 2014. On show until 28 August 2014, the exhibition features Zanjani’s iconic expressionist style paintings, which “revolve around the philosophical and social idea of the submission to power.” Among the works on show are canvases depicting mass parades mobilised by the military, soldiers marching to the commands of an officer and semi-nude soldier figures gathered together – all representing situations of conflict and of submission to power.

Included in the exhibition is a large-scale installation comprising 700 small pieces portraying the faces of soldiers from around the world. On a metaphorical level, Zanjani’s work references the idea of submission as part of daily life and the innate yet paradoxical desire of the human subconscious to follow, submit and conquer.

SPM Founder Ramin Salsali comments in the press release:

These unique works are the result of over 18 months of intellectual and critical discourses with Amir-Hossein over one of the key questions in our life Submission in any form. […] The works serve as powerful statements with which to reflect upon the conflict that confronts us in our everyday lives: that of submission and fight for independence.

 Mohannad Orabi, 'Untitled', 2013, mixed media on canvas, 180 x 160 cm. Image courtesy Salsali Private Museum.

Mohannad Orabi, ‘Untitled’, 2013, mixed media on canvas, 180 x 160cm. Image courtesy Salsali Private Museum.

Syria’s Apex Generation

Syria’s Apex Generation”, on show at Ayyam Gallery Dubai (and Beirut) from 9 June to 28 August 2014, features recent work by Syrian artists Nihad Al-Turk, Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik, Othman Moussa, Mohannad Orabi and Kais Salman. The exhibition is curated by art historian and Ayyam Gallery Artistic Director Maymanah Farhat. The five artists on show are identified as part of a new school of Syrian painting which is developing in Syria, despite the disintegration of Syria’s original centre, Damascus.

The exhibition explores the varied artistic responses to the Syrian conflict and highlights the new phase of Syria’s contemporary art by focusing on painters who have started their careers in the 2000s. Taking inspiration from the aesthetics of 1950s Syrian artists, these painters address the realities of conflict through allegory, satire and realism in works that are informed by expressionism, symbolism and abstraction. Like their predecessors, these artists are advocates of the social role and relevance of art.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication (PDF download) authored by Maymanah Farhat, who says about the artists:

Today, although scattered between Damascus, Beirut, and Dubai, they are collectively extending the boundaries of representation and perceived functions of art that have shaped Syrian visual culture for over sixty years.

Nihad Al Turk, 'Tree', 2013, mixed media on canvas, 120 x 140 cm. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Nihad Al Turk, ‘Tree’, 2013, mixed media on canvas, 120 x 140cm. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Downtown Ramadan

From 29 June to 28 August 2014, The Gallery at Emaar Pavilion and Downtown Ramadan Tent are hosting “Downtown Ramadan”, an exhibition of 27 paintings by eight artists selected by London-based gallery Ahlan Art. Including evocative landscapes, poetic and vibrant calligraphy and abstract works, the exhibition is a celebration of Islamic arts and culture and embodies the essence of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The show features artists of British, Middle Eastern and Asian heritage, including George H. Lewis, Peter Gould, Richard MacLeod, Siddiqa Juma, Salva Rasool, Maaida Noor, Aadil Abedi and Samir Malik. The works range from George H. Lewis’s landscapes to Samir Malik’s reinvented calligraphy and Siddiqa Juma’s dreamlike naïve compositions.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia


Related Topics: Syrian artists, Emirati (UAE) artists, Iranian artists, Middle Eastern artists, British artists, gallery shows, museum shows, events in the Emirates (UAE), event alerts

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary art events in the Middle East