Exhibitions : Our Annual Participation AT Beirut Art Fair

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Jordan’s  Wadi Finan Art Gallery is pleased to announce their participation in the 7th edition of BEIRUT ART FAIR, opening  From 15 to 18 September 2016 at Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center (BIEL).

Wadi Finan Art Gallery presents six artists who use traditional artistic components from the Arab world to express the tensions of multifaceted contemporary Arab identity, challenging assumed distinctions between forms and styles.

The tools of this collection are simultaneously native and new: through their particular creative journeys in Arab and global contexts, each artist has acquired a unique palette of influences and ideas. Hamza Bunoua’s work adapts Arabic letter forms and the patterns and colours of his native Berber mountains, while Karima Bin Otman uses colorful fish and faces to depict the vibrancy and universality of human life. Focusing on depictions of women, Marwa Najjar’s delicate use of gold and silver leaf, religious iconography and arabesque explores the simultaneous fragility and strength of the female form in times of war and hardship. The pottery of Katia al Tal moulds the raw materials of the earth into the forms and strokes of calligraphy to produce pottery that is both beautiful and practical and Samia Zaru who brings everything together with her art pieces to give the viewer a rich experience.

The work of Omar Najjar can be described as viewed through a fogged window, seen but not entirely understood, and impressionistic brush strokes complicate his cinematic scenes, obscuring pedestrian meanings and introducing new ones. By incorporating traditional forms of the Middle East and international influences, each artist in this collection complicates the presentation of contemporary Arab life, depicting a world in which old and new, fragility and strength, the tangible and unknown, are realized as deeply-rooted paradoxes.

The concerns of Ahmad Nawash’s paintings, on the other hand, do not have to be sought by the artist: what’s invisible but always, oppressively present is given material form in his work.

From 15 to 18 September 2016, organizers will receive at BIEL around forty international modern and contemporary art and design galleries. Exhibiting artists and representing a the trends of current art and expressed themselves through painting, drawing, sculpture, video, design or performance… Confirmed and developing artists will have the opportunity to  mingle and invite the viewer to share their visions of the world, their dreams or their positions. BEIRUT ART FAIR confirms the position of Beirut as the cultural and intellectual capital of the Arab world, at the junction between the East and the West. It is part of the international fairs dedicated to art and serves as a window for the ME.NA.SA. Creation which is open to the world.

 

The fair’s new REVEALING by SGBL section will brig to light the best young talents from the ME.NA.SA. region. To encourage their discovery by collectors and fairgoers, REVEALING by SBGL will give each selected gallery the chance to present an especially promising artist, offering the possibility to build privileged contacts with the various publics present at the fair.REVEALING by SGBL will welcome 27 galleries from 13 countries, including Algeria and Palestine, each represented at the fair for the first time.

 

As for the revealing section for this year we collaborated with curator Lynda Aboukhater.

Artist Statement

by Fatima Mortada

“The hallmark in my work is the human body, mainly the female’s body. ” From my point of view, the body is not just a concrete fact. But it is a whole system that is imbued with endless elements. History is the main factor that shapes these elements.

It is, as though, our bodies are overgrown with events, gestures, fantasies, functions and strategies. Accordingly, the body is a political fact more than a biological one. Furthermore, it is, borrowing Hanna Arendt, a public sphere that reflects the loud speech and, persistently, the silent one. So, the body underlies my comprehension of the world.

Through my art, I try to bring out the conflicts that fire my world. Consequently, the body cannot be but a repercussion of all these conflicts in this diabolic game.

But dealing with the human body as a sublime value cannot be understood with respect to me without taking into account the deep mythological association of man’s existence with animals. From a mythological point of view, the animals grounded the human being’s another dimensions which assured his relation to the sacred. Depending upon this view to the animal, I addressed it as a major element in my works, mainly goats, bisons and cows. But choosing these animals backs to the feminine power they represent historically. For example, and briefly saying, the ancient Egyptians looked at the world as an ill founded one if there was not a complete association of Isis and the cow. The same can be said about the goat in the Babylonian world and its derivatives in the Old Testament, reaching to the idea of scapegoat as it is represented in the Islamic culture. Technically, the thread forms the main element in my work. In this technique, I am Inspired by the Greek mythology (Arachne and Penelope), Ancient Egyptian (Isis), and Native American Navajo Grandmother Spider, the feminine archetypes of creation and magic, where the vulnerable world of the male God was always fixed by the female’s threads. But the transition from line to thread in my works is not a random act. Actually, it is a transition that chimes in with my desire to transmit my art from the abstract line in drawing into something else that can be observed concretely. That is, to transmit myself from thinking to action.

 

 

Curatorial Statement

by Lynda Aboukhater and Wadi Finan Art Gallery

Mortada allies art and erotic imagery, pitting embroidery against painting and

proposes a rereading

of works emblematic of a certain evolution in Art, Mortada

defies the discourse that determines what can suitably, even properly be called “art”.

In her own way, she casts a critical eye on material, support and representation, Challenging hierarchies of any kind, whether of medium or gender. This exhibition will feature a selection of Fatima Mortada’s most important works to date from 2011 to

2014.

Mortada’s trademark material is a brightly colored embroidery thread together with stitchwork, watercolor, ink and acrylic. Her use of embroidery as paint intentionally confronts the tradition of painting in its academic equivalent in art history. Mortada’s

work is widely associated with femininity and domesticity (darning, sewing, needlepoint), this act of stitching is redefined by Mortada’s compositions. She often leaves excess threads and knots dangling; this additional layer of “markmaking” abstracts and obscures underlying figurative imagery. Her technique feels organic

and has a fluid sensibility to the meticulousness of the embroidery process. Mortada’s embroidered lines echos the drips of gestural brushwork and insists on an intimate reading of her work.

Mortada’s work expands the boundaries of painting to accommodate her exploration of stitched canvas, her methodology demands a more feminine dialect, and questions the classifications of sexuality, beauty, gender and conflict. She reappropriates

images of softporn, erotica, death, life and rebirth

often repeating or overlapping her subjects, the explicit imagery veiled and revealed by webs of thread. Her source material titillates elements of longing and desire to a new audience, Mortada rejects

the implied male gaze. She is an artist not be pigeonholed as making a political statement against the Muslim culture of her up bringing, Mortada argues that the issues in her work are universal. Her critic of cultural conventions extends to all women, including those in western societies, where sexuality has long been defined as puritanical attitude.

 

Lynda Aboukhater and Wadi Finan Art Gallery