April 21, 2013: Youssef Nabil Sign-In & Exclusivity for AlMahha Art Blog:
Alserkal Avenue trip was forced to end because I had to get Kuwaiti artist Mohammed Al Kouh from airport who arrived at a perfect time for Youssef Nabil book signing in Art Dubai! When we arrived to Art Dubai, I had the chance to have a one/one with Pascal Odille, Artistic Director at Beirut Art Fair who gave me exclusive heads-up on upcoming Beirut Art Fair in September 2013, publishing them soon and you know you’ll hear it first at Al Mahha Art Blog!
It was already getting busy by the 3rd day of Art Dubai, people were gathered at Global Art Forum for intense talks, walking around the two enormous arenas, enjoying the beautiful weather – at the time – by Sculptures at the Beach , shopping at DxB Store or the Bookshop where many lined to grab a copy of Youssef Nabil book; we’ve already done that, we were the first to stand in the line to get books signed by Youssef himself! I must say that I was quiet surprised with the humble, light-spirit Youssef have, he was very friendly which made it very easy to talk to aside from the signing. A great opportunity to have finally met him!
and a surprise visit by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum to Art Dubai … told you it is a fair full of unexpected surprises !
At the end of this day, Ayyam Gallery Founder Khaled Samawi revealed to Al Mahha Art Blog that Abdulnasser Gharem will join Ayyam Gallery… A step I consider smart & important for both Saudi contemporary art scene and one of established Gallery in the Middle East & now worldwide, asked Samawi if I can announce it at once “The first to know & the first to share!” he said and so a tweet was spread 😉
April 22, 2013: Mashing Up Art Dubai & Magical Night at Sikka!
Yesterday I selected my favorite artworks from Galleries Hall B at Art Dubai and today was Hall A turn, so walked around with in-depth look and search for the next works, artists and galleries to keep an eye on. The two-days search concluded with 30 artworks, remember Al Mahha Art Blog Top Galleries in Art Dubai list?! Well here are the reason why:
- The Piece Earth Took Away by Sudarshan Shetty at Galerie Krinzinger
- Annabel Applique by Shezad Dawood at Paradise Row
- The Computer’s Memory by Jamil Molaeb at Galerie Janine Rubeiz
- Cabaret Crusades | The Horror Show File by Wael Shawky at Sfeir – Semler
- Scratched Woman by Akram Zaatari at Sfeir – Semler
- Motigas Transition by Shahzia Sikander at Pilar Corrias
- Smoke Action by Shirley Paes Leme at Bolsa De Arte
- Louise Brooks by Vik Muniz at Bolsa De Arte
- Untitled by Shilp Gupta at Galleria Continua
- ‘Oh Beauty.. Bring Your Beauty Back by Mustapha Akrim at Selma Feriani
- Market Confrontation by Ablade Glover at Nubuke Foundation
- Barcode No. One by Jack Whitten at Alexander Gray
- The Letter That Never Arrived by Bita Ghezelayagh at Rose Issa Project
- Monde Sous Pression by Batoul S’himi at Rose Issa Project
- Guide Us Upon the Straight Path by Nasser Al Salem
- Nadia | Clashing Realities Series by Lamia Maria Abillama at Galerie Tanit
- One Thousand & One & Counting by Abdulla Sayed at Aicon
- “What Comes Around Goes Around | وعلى الباغي تدور الدوار ” by Ammar Al Beik at Ayyam Gallery
- New Guernica by Oussama Diab at Ayyam Gallery
- Stake of Being by Chiharu Shiota at Galerie Daniel Templon
- EMPEROR NAPOLEON I by KEHINDE WILEY at Galerie Daniel Templon
- Where Souls Dwell V. by Laila Shawa at October Gallery
- “When I Count There is Only You But When I Look There is Only a Shadow” by Farideh Lashia at Leila Heller
- Separate Pieces by Gulay Semercioglu at Leila Heller
- Decagram by Hayv Kahraman at The Third Line
- Bob Potts by Edwin Rahardio at Edwin’s Gallery
- Mother Land by Servet Koeygit at Rampa
- Playing Between The Lines by Carlos Amorales at Yvon Lambert
- Valeur Marchande by Henri Sagna at Raw Material Company
Now that I got what I want from Art Dubai, I knew I had to visit SIKKA Art Fair in Bur Dubai it was creating a buzz since last year. I must confess that it was the first time for me to drive outside Dubai.. it was not easy getting to Bur Dubai and there was a point were I almost drove back, but when there’s a well and an encouraging friend there is a way – honestly it was the friend not the well!
When we finally arrived, we knew it was the right decision to come! SIKKA is located in Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood (previously named Bastakiya), renovated old neighborhood by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority into a cultural hub with a local flavor – talking about maintaining part of history rather than demolishing & erasing it ! SIKKA is the first annual initiative of its kind to support and showcase Emirati and Dubai-based artistic talent. Here’s a little information about it:
- SIKKA is an annual showcase specifically designed to feature UAE contemporary art practices and initiatives, through a diversity of artistic talent and stance, providing opportunity to experience home-grown creativity at its liveliest and best, in the heart of Dubai.
- Established in 2011, SIKKA integrates the community’s aspirations and the artists’ ambitions and has the strong involvement of community members. Originally focused on visual arts, SIKKA Art Fair has now widened its scope to cover performing arts, film, and music.
SIKKA draws its name from the alleyways between the historic houses of Dubai, and serves as a metaphor that befits the young and upcoming artists who seek to establish their creative and professional paths through their participation in the fair.
The first house we entered – by coincidence!- was Emirati artist Fatma Lootah’s .. It was the first time I get the chance to see her timeless work in real which varied from paintings to installations based on famous poets such as Rab’aa Al Adaweya… Figures in Lootah’s works depicts captive women, covered with heavy materials surrounded with unseen traditions, laws, and restrictions or perhaps a tiring relation or maybe regardless of how fancy or liberal your surroundings, but is feels like cage. All these things feel like a burden holds us from moving, paralyze us and forms us into one caged creature that can only move within what is allowed. The depth in each work keeps you speechless…
As deep and heart touching her work, Fatma Lootah is! Had the chance to meet her in the workspace at SIKKA where she invited us for tea and biscuit .. I fell in more love with her when she told me she lives in Italy 🙂 Left the house and walk around the narrow streets in SIKKA; the entire place had energetic vibes everywhere whether from commissioned projects, booths of local crafts and food, live music… it was a beautiful scene of art & culture celebration in open air – and yes the weather was amazing!
we couldn’t leave without enjoying live jazz music on comfy bean bags spread all over the yard…
April 23, 2013: Document to Appreciate
If there is anything I carried back with me aside from the wonderful experience, beautiful people and a feeling of ecstasy in art is a wish for UAE to carry on this success and support of art scene from the Gulf to the entire world, and another wish for all neighboring countries in the Middle East who are capable of supporting and uprising art & culture to stop being stingy and give this sector what it truly deserve… Documentation and Appreciation.