A New Level of Arab Art in Melting Pot

On July 4th Ayyam Gallery Beirut hosted ‘Melting Pot’ a group exhibition featuring 14 artworks by five of the most promising emerging and mid-career abstract and figurative painters from Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. this exhibition will provide an overview of the new wave of contemporary Arab painting presently produced throughout the Middle East and the Diaspora.

At the opening of Melting Pot

First artwork to the left and 3rd by Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik. Both figerative artworks by Hilda Hiary

A New Definition of Abstract

 Syrian artist Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik and Lebanese artist Walid El Masri are two abstract painters whose compositions revolve around a single, ordinary object, yet their varied investigations into each constantly challenge our perceptions. Looking at  Abdul Karim Al-Beik, who is fascinated by the layers of patina and untold storiesk of Damascus’ Old City, there is an exploded idea from a center point. For his painting “Pain” Al Beik steches two sides of an obvious wound, trying hard to hold together but there is sorrow & pain sympolized in the 3 crucified objects on top.

Details from Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik’s artwork. Medium: Mix Media on Canvas
Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik “Pain” Medium: Mixed Media on Canvas. 2012

Lebanese abstract artist Walid El Masri simply investigate a chair. Yet this simple object transforms into a device that delves the artist and his audience in a deeper investigation into the fundamental components of painting. Abdul Karim Al Beik and Walid Al Masri succeeded themselves in “Melting Pot” and set new standards & defination for Abstract art.

Walid El Masri ‘Chairs’ Medium: Mixed Media on Canvas.
Back paintings by Walid El Masri and Front “Pieta” by Oussama Diab

Beyond Figurative

Figurative artists either make it or break it because is quiet a challenge to produce a contemporary figurative artwork. Artists Elias Izoli, Oussama Diab and Hilda Hiary meet that challenge, each one uniquley presented artworks different in concept, techniques & details but share one thing; you can’t stop at each without going beyond the figure.

Jordanian artist Hilda Hiary’s diverse oeuvre spans multiple media. Hiary’s paintings are reminiscent of patchwork as textures, textile patterning, color blocking and dripping paint all collide to create richly varied, luxuriant works. She comes back again with two large paintings, one is a woman with a strong orange hair scarf or vail holding a cigarette titled “The Mother” and the other is man with a gun stuck in his face titled ‘Embedded’. Once again Hiary captures the viewer with her solid colors and figures that eyes talks even when it’s not looking at you.

Hilda Hiary ‘The Mother’ Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Self-taught Syrian artist Elias Izoli and Palestinian artist Oussama Diab produce Pop-inspired works in very different manners. Izoli’s consummate draftsmanship and marked command of color results in strikingly modern compositions that defy conventional portraiture. Izoli had 4 paintings; two of young boys and two others of large head figures, bleeding and their bodies are covered with calendar dates.

Elias Izoli paintings
Elias Izoli Paintings. Medium for both: Acrylic on Canvas

Participating with 3 artworks, Diab’s graffiti-inspired expressionistic canvases employ symbolist interpretations of current events. His first artwork portrays three women, each with their eyes and heads covered, yet is the simple difference of circumstance that defines whether these women are engaged in a free act or constrained by it. Second one is a banana nailed down titled “Human Being” and the last one is the amazing “Pieta” and I must say it looks more beautiful and captivating in real!

Oussama Diab ‘Contrast’ Medium: Mix Media
Oussama Diab “Human Being” Medium: Mix Media on Canvas

“Melting Pot” is a well curated collective show that seriously presented a new level of art in the Arab world! Exhibition is on going until July 31 in Ayyam Gallery Beirut.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. ghadaevora says:

    Wonderful post. I wish I could have been there.

  2. ghadaevora says:

    Reblogged this on G H A D A E V O R A and commented:
    Wonderful article about the exhibition ‘Melting Pot’ in Beirut, Lebanon. I am devastated I couldn’t be there – next year!

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