Events

Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / June 19, 2019

WEHE Collective Design Exhibition Launches At Jeddah-based Athr Gallery Until July

A reflection on heritage, the WEHE Collective Design exhibition in Jeddah’s Athr Gallery highlights the duality of the past and present

 
Curated by Montreal-born architect Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte in collaboration with Fonderia Artistica Battaglia and Carwan Gallery, the  WEHE Collective Design  exhibition launched in  Athr Gallery , Jeddah on 18 May 2019, has brought together various renowned architects, designers and artists specialising in Middle Eastern design, including Omar Chakil, Karen Chekerdijian, Ghaith&Jad, Rasha Nawam, Mary-Lynn Massoud, Carlo Massoud and Anastasia Nysten. Aptly named, the word Wehe stems from the ancient  Egyptian  word meaning ‘dwelling place’.
Inspired by sociological and anthropological observations of the urban oasis of Siwa in Egypt, the exhibition explores the relationship between primordiality and the geographical context of the Middle Eastern  desert . “I am always fascinated by how local Berber populations managed to adapt tradition with modern lifestyle,” says curator Bellavance-Lecompte. The inspiration behind the exhibition was, as Bellavance-Lecompte says,  “to redefine an identity in relation with the region and somehow with materials and techniques that are indigenous. At the same time, I wanted to push the boundaries of their use so we’re able to revisit our perception of these objects.”

Rawaa Talass_ Arab News / May 22, 2019

Zahrah Al-Ghamdi finds the beauty in sadness

This month saw perhaps the most significant accomplishment of Al-Ghamdi’s career to date. The artist was chosen to inaugurate Saudi Arabia’s pavilion at the 2019 edition of the Venice Biennale —the art world’s largest public event and oldest contemporary art show — through an immersive solo exhibition entitled “After Illusion.”
Al-Ghamdi was jointly selected to represent the Kingdom by the recently developed Saudi Ministry of Culture and the Misk Art Institute, a homegrown arts foundation that aims to strengthen artistic activity within the Kingdom.  “To be honest, when I used to read about the Venice Biennale and its unique concept, I felt so far away from that world — it was like a dream,” Al Ghamdi tells Arab News. “In recent years, I’ve worked really hard and always hoped to achieve more through each work I would present. So when I received the call from the Misk Art Institute to participate at the biennale, it was like a dream I never thought I’d dream. I was elated but simultaneously felt a great deal of responsibility, as I am not representing (just) myself, but my country and all its artists.”  
Through her debut participation at the biennale, which is open to the public until November 24, Al-Ghamdi joins a canon of female artists putting on solo exhibitions and taking the lead in representing their countries to the world, including Larissa Sansour for Denmark, Laure Prouvost for France, Cathy Wilkes for Great Britain, Nujoom Al-Ghanem for the UAE and Naiza Khan for Pakistan.

Mark Westall / March 19, 2019

SHUBBAK: A window on contemporary Arab culture

Visual arts For 2019 Shubbak has commissioned a number of mobile installations for different locations across London. Aicha El Beloui is a Casablanca-based illustrator, graphic designer, and creative director who regularly works with communities to discover a neighbourhood and to filter her observations into maps and illustrations. The history and psychogeography of Moroccan immigration in London will be the focus of her work for Shubbak; drawing from the material gathered in North Kensington and the British Library’s archives, El Beloui will create one of her distinctive maps, which will be available in paper formats, digitally and as an installation, travelling to different sites across the city. In partnership with the Bagri Foundation.
Bricklab, the designers of the first Saudi pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale create a new pop-up sculpture especially for Shubbak. 22 brightly coloured units equalling in number the 22 states of the Arab League are arranged in different constellations to offer new viewpoints of geographies, nations and the power to imagine other realities. No unit can stand on its own, but has to be grafted onto others. Geographical Child’s Play conjures up poignant and surprising alignments and dependencies. Established in Jeddah in 2015 Bricklab quickly established itself as one of the most dynamic current design practices in Saudi Arabia.
 
Shubbak  is the UK’s premier festival of contemporary Arab culture, presenting outstanding Arab artists to audiences in London and across England. Shubbak’s programme includes UK premieres and new commissions from over 150 artists based in the Arab region, in Europe and in the UK, with both cutting-edge and celebrated names, through a mix of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature and debates. Led by Eckhard Thiemann, artistic director, and Daniel Gorman, executive director, Shubbak 2019 is the 5th edition of this biennial festival. Shubbak 2019 principal partners are Arts Council England, A. M. Qattan Foundation, Bagri Foundation and British Council. Shubbak is a registered charity number 1150374.