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Five Saudi artists showcase works at Abu Dhabi Art
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 11 - 2012

a href="/myfiles/Images/2012/11/09/li01.jpg" title="Nasser Al-Salem's “God Is Alive, He Shall Not Die" (2012), neon light on mirror"
Nasser Al-Salem's “God Is Alive, He Shall Not Die" (2012), neon light on mirror

JEDDAH/ABU DHABI — Athr Gallery, a contemporary art gallery based in Jeddah, is showcasing works from five artists from Saudi Arabia during the Abu Dhabi Art fair.
Abu Dhabi Art, which began Wednesday (Nov. 7) and ends Saturday (Nov. 10), is an annual exhibition of modern and contemporary art and design. It brings together galleries, workshops and art talks from all over the world.
Multimedia artist Ayman Yossri Daydban is presenting Abyssinia, a collection of stills from Mustafa Aqqad's cult movie “The Message,” which narrates Islam's first encounter with Christianity. The meeting signifies a moment of complete mutual understanding, devoid of argument, resentment and animosity. The artist merely gives a snapshot of a little-known but momentous event in history, but the result is the viewer's inevitable acknowledgment of the contrast between the past and the present.
Ayman's The Bell installation in “Beyond” — a unique addition incorporated into this year's fair — appears as a large spiraling wind chime that hangs from the ceiling. Instead of chime tubes, the artist uses metal constructs of the Palestinian flag. The flag is made of metal sheets that are folded to create the recognizable triangle. The sheets are produced without the precision of welding, but rather the artist used his own strength and body weight to bend the metal with his bare hands, often injuring himself in the process.
Artist Maha Malluh's Tradition & Modernity is a series about society's transformation from tradition to modern times. The artist uses photograms, toying with objects and experimenting with different arrangements that become a playful expression of collective and personal experiences. The objects chosen in these photogramic collages include trinkets relating to Saudi Arabia's cultural heritage and present experience of modernity.
Malluh is greatly influenced by her spiritual connection to the historic region of Najd, with its strong religious and cultural heritage, colorful patterned fabrics, and old Najdi architecture — all elements that greatly influence her art.
Nasser Al-Salem, a calligraphist, creates a masterpiece with God is Alive, He Shall Not Die. Salem's work represents his continuous attempts at understanding the omnipresence and omnipotence of the Creator. His primary focus is not only to show the beauty of the written word, but also the message that it conveys. Salem's practice pushes the boundaries of this age-old Islamic art by reinventing it in non-conventional mixed media forms and by exploring its conceptual potential.
Continuing his theme, Kull (meaning “all” or “everything”) explores the complex, all-encompassing meaning and implication of infinity. The impression of never-ending repetition is not merely a reflection of God's abundance on Earth, but an indication to look both further and deeper, to penetrate the mere appearance and surface of things, to discover the hidden messages that all aesthetic creations hold.
Sami Al-Turki's Home depicts images of lasting unfinished constructions.
His concept is to make the viewer think about possible monetary problems within the city, a recession of sorts — a problem in the form of a disobedient nature, corruption and dishonesties that question morals. The city must be going through (has been for some time) a kind of collapse, in order to build such buildings and leave them either incomplete or semi-abandoned for prolonged periods.
His Washaeg series, which also goes on display, speaks of an empty world with an apocalyptic vision for global culture. His lens captures the void, which was once built on with majestic structures. What is left are fortified walls encircling nothingness.
Saddek Wasil is showcasing his Windows sculpture. Wasil's powerful sculptures often exuberates a rejection of binding stereotypes, an iron will to defeat material subjugation to achieve spiritual freedom. His artwork is not to be understood as a present state; it holds the promise of future success in overcoming chains, locks and closed boundaries. Saddek is influenced by his surroundings and the happenings of the world around him, with particular focus on humans and human emotions.
Art for All
Also during Abu Dhabi Art, the Sheikha Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation (SSHF) hosts a series of Art for All events, including Art for All Community Pavilion at Manarat Al Saadiyat from Nov. 7-10, in collaboration with the Tourism and Culture Authority Abu Dhabi.
Art for All is the premier community arts program held under the guidance and leadership of Sheikha Salama, who has supported Abu Dhabi Art since its inception as the Chair of the Host Committee.
Art for All Community includes the Emerging Emirati Artists Touring Exhibition, which supports up-and-coming Emirati talent and gives artists an opportunity to showcase their diverse works to the public; a display of winning art pieces by UAE-based university students; Art Together, a display of the art mural designed by international artist Karim Jad and the public during Community Week at Khalifa Park; a photography booth; water light graffiti by Antonin Fourneau featuring a surface made of thousands of LED illuminated by the contact of water.
Emirati artists Alia Lootah, Dana Al Mazroui and Hamdan Buti Al Shamisi are also scheduled to discuss their experience in exhibiting their works at a public space, as well as the concept of public and private lives, during “Art Talks – Between Private and Public” on Nov. 9.
Abu Dhabi Art visitors can find Athr Gallery in the Saadiyat Cultural District at booth M08. — SG


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