AHMED AL FARESI
Ahmed Al Faresi is a self- taught Emirati artist who works through the medium of mixed media. He has been quietly creating and embodying a wealth of ideas in his home in Al Ain for the past few years, and has emerged only recently, displaying a formidable body of work.
Ahmed Al Faresi is currently an assistant professor at the Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) in United Arab Emirates University, a discipline which is not lost in his work.
Academic by nature, Ahmed’s works refer to a wide number of disciplines including science, technology, history, mythology and philosophy. The physiography of his work hints at his Emirati background but the over arching theme within his oeuvre is that of universality within the greater ancient cultural foundations of the earth; our sphere of being.
To see Ahmed’s work is to gain knowledge from, and to engage with. His work has the presence of a relic from the past, largely due to the emphasis of importance he places on antiquity, a cornerstone and launching point for contemporaneity’s social and cultural understanding and even assertion.
Alia Dawood was born in Baghdad, Iraq and grew up in London.
She studied BA Arts, Design and the Environment (Architecture) at Central Saint Martins University in London. Dawood subsequently went onto the Princes’ Drawing School Postgraduate programme for an MA in Drawing in 2010. One of her pieces is now part of the British Royal Collection. Dawood also exhibited alongside University of the Arts graduates in Hoxton, London in 2011.
Alia Dawood feels that art and architecture are interconnected and is interested in generating an open and honest dialogue between the two. She has used her art training at the Prince’s as a means to understanding the spaces we inhabit through drawing and sees artistic and creative endeavors as a building block to enriching her architectural thinking.
My early work, through large, stylised figurative portraits, focused on thoughts and contemplations of the individual. I would say my signature style is figurative subject, usually the head or head and torso, done in charcoal on paper or canvas. I use charcoal in a clean way without smudging or rubbing, instead my work is predominantly made up of angular crosshatching.
As my work evolves I am now focusing more on exploring my own philosophies and ideas through the use of large drawings and mixed media photomontage. I usually use symbolic animals and sometimes images to convey an idea or story. Some of the animals used I have given a specific symbolism to myself, and others I use for their ancient symbolism.
Positivity is a common thread throughout my work. No matter what the first impression of my work might be, there is always a positive meaning behind the image. I am particularly interested in showing that positive events or scenarios need not always be depicted as clichéd happy images, and that the message of positivity may not always be immediate to the viewer.
“The mixed-media charcoal and photographic works explore how being of mixed heritage can liberate a person from social pigeonholing and cultural stereotypes. We find his charcoal faces arresting” Time Out Dubai 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 16
“Every piece is integrated with his own life philosophy and the two and a half metre tall charcoal portraits and large paintings trigger various emotions” Inside Out 2010, Issue 76
“He uses traditional techniques to pay respect to artists before him while still retaining a contemporary, original and somewhat ‘Golding signature’ Vibe” Inside Out, 2010, Issue 76
“The collection echoes great humanitarian understanding, illustrates in-depth observation, implies powerful reflection” Inside Out, 2009, Issue 65
“A bold and daring exploration of cultural identity and social conditioning”, Emirates home 2011, Vol. 8
“One of the industry’s top new artists”, Time Out Dubai 2010 Vol. 10, Issue 17
“Amartey Golding, at 22, has developed a style that belies his age. He straddles different genres and mediums with an ease that renders versatility to his works” The Arts Weekend Review may 2010
For some years now Verster has been fascinated by ancient cultures including the practice of body marking which includes tattooing, scarification and painting. Verster ‘excavates’ the richness of this heritage and the works draw their power from cultures where body marking speaks to identity and tribal signification. As such the figures are citizens of a collective global tribe.
Previous bodies of work explored the ornate decorative elements of spiritual deities and iconography. This exhibition extends and develops this interest showcasing highly decorated figures with a cornucopia of seemly endless images and symbols. The works are highly crafted with a dazzling array of unlikely and unusual juxtapositions – they have a joyful, child-like exuberance. Verster’s work often expresses an interest in the collective unconscious, dreams, symbols and their meanings. As such these works are a reconstituted collection of a lifetime of collected objects and by definition memory and reflection. They are dreamlike, rather like walking through the memory of this 75 year old artist’s gargantuan imagination.
Reminiscent of a constellation of universal archetypes, spiritual, sometimes fetish-like, the works make reference to the sacred and the secular. A timeless relationship that speaks to the sacredness of life itself.
Bahraini born and raised, Areej Rajab recalls watching with wonder as her aunt, the traditional Islamic water-colourist Sameeha Rajab, worked away at the canvas. At three, with her aunt as both inspiration and tutor, Rajab began to learn about colour, materials, techniques and application. She began a love affair with colour that, as an adult, shows no signs of waning.
Rajab studied Business and General Management at the University of Bahrain, and had three children before she made the decision to pursue her lifelong passion. That passion took her, family in tow, to the London College of Art where her true talent revealed itself fully, perhaps for the first time.
Today, Rajab’s work touches the hearts of collectors and enthusiast from all four corners of the globe. She has exhibited extensively throughout the Middle East including at Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture and the Gulf Hotel, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as well as across the UK. She works as an art teacher, tutoring a wide range of pupils, from absolute beginners through to the professionally trained, from the young to the old.
'Limitless' - a series of impressionist paintings
This exhibition represents Rajab’s newest works and explores the subtle character of color as well as the fleeting nature of light. This collection challenges our preconceptions of color itself and the exhibition offers both an advancement and refinement of her work to date.
Born in Zimbabwe in 1968, Dominic is one of the pioneering sculptors of Zimbabwe. He is well recognized by the strong linear composition of his works. After joining a resident artist program of Harare in 1990, he progressively moved on to larger sculptures, working with both metal and stone.
Through the years, Dominic has helped to transform Shona sculpture into a world class modern art, exhibiting his works at major venues such as the EXPO ‘92 in Sevilla, EXPO 2000 in Hannover, the Yorkshire Sculpture Garden (UK), the Millesgarten Museum (Sweden) and in 2008 the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden (Holland).
The sculptures, made of opal, spring stone and dolomite, are featured in UNICEF’s 2014 calendar, where Dominic is represented as the artist of the year.
Elham Moaidnia was born in Esfahan, Iran. Her work is recognisable from her use of Iranian symbols, expressive figures and scripts appearing as slogans. Her inspiration comes from observing contrasts in society and the penetration of Arabic culture in Iranian life. Using acrylics, ink and oil on canvas she paints her expressive figures in a decorative style. One can observe Rumi poetry in many of her paintings, best described as post-expressionist and influenced by the great master Marc Chagall. The principal essence of Elham’s works are social, portraying life in Iran Today and especially the fate of women caught between tradition and modernity.
Elise is an American artist based in LA. Her work engages a larger vision, challenging people to focus on those whose concerns are not understood by mainstream society. She has had solo and group exhibitions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dubai. In 2008, Elise created a mural for the City of Malibu at the Michael Landon Center paving the way for the two outdoor installations commissioned by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
In her Gamcha Project, Elise highlights construction workers and their instrumental role in building the city of Dubai. The artworks are inspired by the laborers’ colorful head wear, also known as Gamcha.
Gamchas were collected by Elise over a period of 8 months, and woven together into textiles incorporating fabric, photographs of the workers, and found objects from construction sites.
“My hope is that the viewer will be enriched, informed, and moved by these hard working men and recognize them as the "fabric" of the Dubai landscape.”
Hadil Moufti is a Saudi artist born in Jeddah. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in Paris in 1992 and has lived in Africa, India, and England, to finally settle down in the United Arab Emirates last year with her husband and two children. Her studio is based in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood of Dubai and her works are part of private collections around the world.
Having lived in many different countries, Moufti does not feel the belonging to one in particular and therefore recreates through her art a world of her own, between dreams and reality. Moufti defines her creative process as experimental, mixing materials, textures, objects, and applying them to large scale canvases with her hands.
Her work conveys neither political nor social messages. It exists to create intrigue and invite the viewer to a colourful world, where animals journey through fictional landscapes.
Helen Teede is a painter born and brought up in Zimbabwe, where she currently lives. Using the landscape around her as a point of departure, her work is an exploration of the ways in which the earth's surface can act as a teller of stories and symptom of circumstance.
As a white Zimbabwean, Teede is deeply and painfully conscious of the conflicted history of race relations in the country, which still has not arrived at reconciliation and integration. Yet, Africa and Zimbabwe is the only home that she has ever known and Zimbabwe is the land that she loves deeply and without reservation. In her practice as an artist, Teede takes her love for the land, a defining Zimbabwean characteristic across race lines, as the starting point from which to build a vision of a Zimbabwe which can be shared unequivocally. Her working process begins from the ground up, literally – going on extensive hiking and camping expeditions, involving archeological digs, embedding her work in the land and its history before and within its trauma. Her landscape based canvases build narratives of these journeys, which are both poetic and aspirational. Conversely her sculptures incorporating rocks, fossils, and bones ground us in a consciousness of the mortality and brevity of life.
Faced with the prospect of leaving the place in which she grew up, her current work considers the interdependence of land and ownership, and the innate bond between people and the places they live. She explores the bond between identity and home and the psychological impact endured when this bond is severed, when a place once intimate and familiar becomes an uncanny site of melancholia, nostalgia and fear. Her work is deeply personal, but also speaks to a wider discourse of loss, dislocation and racial identity both in Zimbabwe and in the world today.
James is a freelance photographer presently based in Dubai. He spent two years studying in Australia followed by a year in Morocco working as a location manager under GSI (Global Surf Industries). Having grown up in Dubai, James, a passionate surfer, has been by the sea almost his whole life, sparking the inspiration for much of his work.
James comments that:
"Traveling extensively throughout my life has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and live within the means of wherever I happen to be. Being able to capture every moment of my travels has molded me into a better person because re-living those memories makes me realise every day that the most important things in life are those that are free. Taking a journey along side these cultures and lifestyles have in turn formed a foundation for all of my work".
From those first tubby chestnuts of the Lascaux cavemen through the caparisoned mounts of medieval knights to Leonardo's rearing battering-rams or Stubbs' equine supermodels, the horse has picked its proud way through our civilisations. Of all our fellow creatures, it has been our most important companion. No wonder that artists across the centuries should have tried to capture it, to speak of its power and its drama, its courage and grace.
Jo Taylor joined a longstanding tradition of taking this animal as her main subject. Like some modern day Stubbs she has attended post-mortem examinations, unpicking the complexities of muscle and ligament and bone. She has sat by freezing northern gallops watching the racehorses thundering by at full stretch. She has crouched for hours in the corners of stables. She has carried her sketchbooks from the polo fields of Cowdray Park through the plains of Patagonia to the Subcontinent.
She is an artist working always from experience, she translates what she sees and feels and senses onto (often huge) sheets of paper or canvases, her lines unspooling with a streaming fluency, flung upwards like a neck, thrown outwards like a leap. She has captured the patterns and shapes of movement from the tautness of reined back impatience to the flow of an effortless pace. The viewer can sense the engagement she has with her subject. She can feel the relationship between human and horse.
Mohammad Fassounaki was born in 1944 in Tabriz, Iran where he also attended art school.
The inspirations behind the figures seen in Fassounaki’s works are drawn from his memories of passing scenes of people going about their everyday lives. These familiar features in his paintings are reminiscences of men and women in Azerbaijan.
Fassounaki often thinks about change and evolution – he is particularly interested in people as well as nature and this can often be seen in his works. Trees, plants and flowers are accentuated with warm hues of red, greens and pinks.
He notes human moods and relationships and it’s his use of lines and colour’s that inspire him to create these unique works.
A former cum laude architecture student and recipient of the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship and a Master's graduate from McGill University in Montreal Canada, Morné Fourie is an Artist and an Urban Designer with twenty-two years of experience in East Asia, Middle East and North America. He has led numerous commissions in the fields of master planning and architecture, specializing in new communities, urban renewal and urban regeneration. Morné Fourie is currently the Vice President of Design Management at Dubai Parks & Resorts in the United Arab Emirates, a 10.5 billion dirham publicly listed entity created out of Meraas Development. He taught the urban planning Master’s degree course at Harriot Watt University. Morné attended EDAW- University at Lake Tahoe in California in 2007. In Morné’s free time he is a fine artist, working primarily with ink, watercolour and oils. He travels extensively for his art, and has produced work during visits to more than 60 countries.
Greatly inspired by local sources Morne’s artworks are broad in subject, due to his extensive travels, and distinctive in style.
Olivia attended Columbus College of Art and Design’s five-year BFA program where she majored in Illustration as well as taking every Fine Art course that could be squeezed into her semester’s tuition. After working for five years in the LA film industry as a conceptual designer, the pull to create her own work through the means of painting was too much to resist. She cut up her credit cards and moved to a cabin in the mountains of Utah to paint full-time.
In 2007, Olivia, formally known as “Holly Mae”, moved to Seattle to pursue her creative endeavours in the Northwest. In 2008 she lived in Malawi for 4 months while painting the amazing people, returning twice in 2009 as her love for the country grew. Since 2010 she has been painting in Haiti, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and most recently Kenya.
Olivia has now been painting full-time for fifteen years. In that time her paintings have been shown in museums and shows all over the country as well as winning several national awards. She currently has work exhibited in galleries in Park City, Nairobi, and in Dubai. At present, Olivia lives on Vashon Island, Washington with her 3 year old daughter and her husband.
"The paintings that I create are a direct reflection of the experience I am having. I simply see something that creates movement, stirs something that feels like California Poppy orange or a particular note in a song that brings forth tears of recognition. A giddiness rises in the chest and a “yes” that is curious about a mother holding her child to her chest, or the way light comes through a blackberry bramble.
By being present I am aware of hundreds of times a day when this movement occurs and as a way to express the excitement, I am moved to paint."
Self-taught artist Sabhan Adam depicts expressionistic distortions of the human form in this large and diverse selection of mixed media works on canvas.
His subjects seem to live in a place that tears the watcher out of complacency into an uncomfortable plane of existence, where any reference to beauty depends on your level of discomfiture.
His polemic is human and generalized rather than strictly local, making him a truly unique artist in the Arab world.
Sabhan Adam was represented at the 2011 Venice Biennale and his works are part of public and private collections worldwide.
Vancouver based Iranian artist Salar Ahmadian was born in Iran on 1957. He studied in the college of Fine Arts in Tehran, and then got his certificate in calligraphy in Iran’s association of Calligraphers.
He is a world renowned international artist, whose works has been displayed in both museums and galleries. Notably, his work has been auctioned at Christies and is featured by many major art galleries.
His skills include goldsmith, sculptor, and design, which is affluent throughout his works. He combines traditional and modern calligraphy, with a free aesthetic expression; allowing text and colour to weave together. Inspired by pop art, surrealism, and his Persian heritage; a strong sense of vibrancy and energy transcends through every piece. As viewers, we understand that there is a strong sense of logic and control which is highlighted through the freedom flowing from each letter of the piece.
These large-scale works connect to the viewer in their form of ‘east meets west’ abstraction. Pioneering in his own style, his works are of the current trend and are suited for all.
Born in the UK, Tariq Dajani spent his formative years between the Middle East and Europe. Afforded rare insight into disparate cultures and traditions from a young age, the curiosity of youth offered a path to exploration of his native Middle Eastern heritage in adulthood.
Working from Dubai, London and Stockholm, multi-award winning Dajani is an established fine art photographer whose signature style has gained him international recognition. His work is frequently shown on the world stage; his accolades include the John Kobal Photographic Award (National Portrait Gallery, London) and and First Place, Fine Art Category, International Colour Awards (London/New York).
Drinkers of the Wind
The poetic title of this exhibition is taken from a book by Carl Raswan, published in 1942, about the author’s journey to the Middle East to find the famed Arabian horse. Dajani chose the title as it resonates with the swift horse and the soaring bird and also as it metaphorically reflects his own journey of reconnecting with his heritage.
Tariq Dajani’s intimate yet dramatic portraits celebrate their subjects and simultaneously tell a story of personal reflection and exploration into Arabic culture and heritage. Asil, an Arabic word signifying purity, nobility and authenticity, is a series of portraits of the majestic Arabian horse shot in a studio setting, underlining the muscular beauty of the animal and also revealing its character.
Saqr, the general name for falcon in Arabic, pays homage to the importance of these birds of prey in ancient Arabia. In Dajani’s prints we see the noble falcon, wings outstretched and head proudly tilted, encouraging the viewer to consider a different perspective of this enigmatic and powerful creature.
The exhibition will launch on Tuesday 6th February and Dajani will be attending the opening to sign copies of his book “Asil, Portrait Studies of the Purebred Arabian Horse”.
Wissam Shawkat is a conceptually motivated artist with mastery in Arabic calligraphy. Born in 1974 in Basra (Iraq), he was first introduced to Arabic calligraphy at the age of 10 by his primary school teacher Muhammad Ridha Suhail.
Shawkat is largely self-taught in the rigorous medium, attaining mastery through book research, visits to various masters, museum and library collections throughout the region.
He has received numerous prizes for his calligraphy and has participated as both an artist and committee member at multiple editions of the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial and the Dubai International Calligraphy Exhibition. Letters of Love, his 2011 solo exhibition at Reed Space in New York, introduced a global audience to a series of contemporary compositions. With Monumental 11/11, a 2016 exhibition at Tashkeel (an influential creative hub and gallery in Dubai), Shawkat visually announced his break with traditional calligraphy and his commitment to instead use the letters as a foundation for works of dynamic abstraction.
His style, which is referred to as Calligraforms, focuses on the precise forms of the letters, but also the abstract shapes generated by examining the geometric spaces inside and outside of their structures.
Shawkat is based in Dubai, where he is engaged full time as an artist, designer, and Arabic typographer. His work is regularly featured in books on Arabic calligraphy and typography, included in museum exhibitions, and acquired by private collectors.
Intersection by Wissam Shawkat
A series of limited edition fine art prints available in various mediums and sizes. Shawkat is offering a contemporary approach to Calligraphy, making it fresh and more relevant to today’s audiences. Each print is hand signed and numbered by the artist and accompanied by a certificate of authentication.