on Monday 14 September 2015 at 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
when the creative community will gather for the unveiling of contemporary art exhibitions and events to mark the opening of the 2015-16 arts season. The Avenue’s Galleries will start the evening with a VIP preview from 5pm.
Ayyam Gallery will showcase a selection of Noor Bahjat’s new work as part of the Young Artist In Residency Graduation Exhibition. Her first solo show, Bahjat’s works were produced under the mentorship of established artists Tammam Azzam and Mohannad Orabi in a purpose-built studio at Ayyam’s Dubai flagship. Graduation at the top of her class from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus, the artist works from detailed sketches and self-portraits in a painterly, expressionist style and with primarily figurative subject matter.
Lawrie Shabibi will open Immortals, with returning artist Adel Abidin’s second solo show at the gallery. Known for his arresting video installations, Abidin has embarked on a radical shift in his artistic and studio practice by returning to painting for the first time since 2003. The exhibition will bring together four large-scale oil paintings and a hand- painted, site-specific installation, entitled Breaking News. Immortals takes a playful look at the manufactured nature of Arab media and raises important questions about the role that it has played in shifting geographic boundaries and allegiances. Working in a new medium, Abidin transfers the trademark graphic imagery and ironic humour that are so recognisable in his video work to his painting as well.
Salsali Private Museum has an ongoing solo exhibition of Hazem Harb, The Invisible Landscape and Concrete Futures. Curated by Lara Khaldi, the exhibition includes a new large body of work, which Harb has been engaged with over the past year. It will feature a new series of collages, in which archival photographs of Palestine pre-1948 are juxtaposed with the heaviness of concrete blocks, wave breakers, lines, and black squares and rectangles. Harb combines a formal language with his research into Palestinian history and architecture, he attempts an aesthetic language based on the politics of form.
Down the street, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde will welcome Haleh Redjaian’s first solo show in the Middle East. Redjaian creates patterns and grids using nimble, geometric elements such as lines, triangles, and circles. Redjaian’s dispositif takes shape in a delicate and labour-intensive process, influenced by everyday objects and architectural details from her immediate environment. She uses pale, watery colours, working within the confines of hand-drawn pencil grids, or stitches long, smooth lines of thread on top of hand-knotted carpets made in Kerman, Iran.
Green Art Gallery’s opening exhibition is entitled After the Deluge, a solo show of Syrian master Elias Zayat, a key founder of the country’s contemporary art movement. Zayat’s parallel life as an art restorer and historian is evident in his rich vocabulary drawn from Byzantine, early Christian, Sufist, and popular iconography. In After The Deluge, Zayat returns to the ancient city of Palmyra, remembered for being one of the few places in the region that managed to exist alongside the Romans without becoming Romanised. In this show, Zayat draws from the Mesopotamian, Babylonian, and later Biblical account of the flood, which he understands as a metaphor for rebuilding a decaying world after its total devastation, re-siting the event in the historical city of Palmyra. The titular triptych is presented as a plea for peace, heralded in the epic by a dove bearing an olive branch.
Gulf Photo Plus will welcome an exhibition of photographs titled HER by French-Italian photographer Matilde Gattoni. Throughout her career, which has spanned 15 years, 35 countries and 4 continents, photographer Matilde Gattoni has had the unique opportunity to encounter thousands of women from all corners of the world, from explorers in Dubai to war refugees in Kenya, Eritrea and Lebanon, from cluster bomb victims in Laos to tsunami survivors in Indonesia, from victims of domestic violence to land grabbing evictees. This exhibition is a tribute to their bravery and capacity to deal with insurmountable challenges, be they war, natural calamity, or the prejudices that exist within their own society. HER is an ode to all of these women and a celebration of their resilience and fortitude.
Showcase Gallery will present Portraits of the Middle-Way, a solo show of Olivia Pendergast, painted while in two countries in Africa; Malawi and Kenya. Most of the works are portraits of people from Kawangware Slum or from a rural village in Malawi.