Firstly, Happy 2014! May it be a blessing year for all Al Mahha readers and their loved ones, and as great as 2013 was for this blog!
For January’s Top Destination selections I wanted to feature exhibitions and events that give respect to our motivations, I asked myself the first day of this year: I know what I want for 2014 but what is my motivation? Motivation to move forward, present the best and keep going regardless of day-day obstacles? What is my motivation in the lowest emotional state I might face this year? Or biggest challenge? If I say “it’s art!” you will think Oh! How romantic! But genuine art is my motivation; art that doesn’t only talk about political issues, war, religion… Sometime you need art as a reflector of your deepest personal thoughts and depicts yourself like a mirror. An art that rewards one’s efforts to add value to it especially in a region full of dramatic and drastic, predictable and unpredictable changes!
(Behind Closed Doors) a solo exhibition by Kuwaiti artists Hamad AlSaab & (Fifty Years of Printmaking) a retrospective by Albareh Art Gallery to honor Sudanese painter Mohammed Khalil holds in each exhibition a motivation. The first, gives a boost we all need to start off a new year, (Behind Closed Doors) depicts our state of mind that no one sees or know except us, psychologically digs deep into Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, and tackle them in a form of colorful art. AlSaab’s latest artworks in (Behind Closed Doors) cascades the importance of facing grief and lost of anything we are emotionally attached to, living it, let it all out of our system to be able to get back on right track and embrace new opportunities… It is true there are closed doors, but they direct us to the open ones if we just open our eyes. (Behind Closed Doors) is a motivation of strength and hope that is why it is a Top Destination for January.
(Fifty Years of Printmaking) is a different kind of motivation, as I said it is a retrospective for Sudanese prominent printmaker and artist Mohammed Khalil, for the role he played in print-making throughout the region, and an educator in prestigious universities such as Columbia and the Parsons School of Design at the New School. The artist has developed a grammar of his own, excavating surfaces of consciousness and presenting them as narrative sequences in snapshots that might be arranged differently each time we observe them. The forty years encompassed in this exhibition are by no means a composite whole more than they are the traces and coded signals of a fertile career, nowhere finished and still on the search for new groundbreaking paths. (Fifty Years of Printmaking) is a motivation of self-respect, unique and believing in your wildest dreams… A definite pick for January’s Top Destination that you don’t want to miss.
Ready for the journey?!
Destination One: Kuwait | Dar Al Funoon Gallery
Flight Date: January 13 – 16, 2013
Dar Al Funoon proudly presents Behind Closed Door a solo exhibition by Kuwaiti artist Hamad Al Saab. During the the 4 days show, viewers are invited to enter a journey that relates to many of us in the world of hidden secrets. And if you haven’t already been on this journey, then you will begin to understand that it’s not always what you see; because there is always more behind closed doors.
For further information about the show, click here.
About the Artist
Hamad Al Saab was born in 1972 and raised in Kuwait. Over the course of his education, he acquired a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Information Systems and International Organization Behaviour from Washington DC in 1999.
Hamad is a Pop Artist who enjoys presenting the Arab culture and history through his contemporary vision. His first exhibition was in Kuwait in 2006, collaborating with other artists, presenting the first collection of the Arab celebrities that lead him to the international art journey and relationship with many international art appreciators.
Al Saab is a creative consultant in publishing, creative media industry, events, and interior design consultation reflecting his creative approach and know how to be implemented in his private and commercial projects.
For more information about Hamad AlSaab and to check his previous series, click here.
Destination Two: Bahrain | Albareh Art Gallery
Flight Date: January 19 – February 15, 2014
Albareh Art Gallery proudly presents “Fifty Years of Printmaking”, an exhibition by the prominent Sudanese painter Mohammed Omar Khalil, showcasing for the first time, a retrospective of his print-making work in etching, between the mid 1960s and the late 2000s.
The works, many of which had never been exhibited before, present us with an alternative reading of the painter’s entire career, not only as a traveler between cultures and epochs – as we had seen in his works about Florentine painter Paolo Ucello in the 2000s – but a re-interpreter of the meaning of visual culture in general: He attempts to re-locate sensorial experience elsewhere than with the pure colors that characterize the postmodern, hereby searching in the black, for a warmer place where his book of art and life meets the viewer.
Applying a traditional technique acquired from European print-makers from earlier centuries, Khalil’s etchings on black represent with vividness all his pictorial periods, from the early student days investigating modern art through his numerous travels, the experiments with abstract figures, and ultimately renditions of tributes to modern music and classical painting. Withdrawing from the visual field, the artist is opening the possibility of entering the world with an altogether different morphology, causing apparently unrelated elements to collide into each other and emerge as distinct syntactic compositions. A precise amalgamation between folkloric elements and handicraft, and the timeless quality of art history, give birth to composite worlds with life of their own.
About the Artist
Mohammed Omar Khalil is one of the distinguished artistic practitioners of the Middle East, having pioneered not only print-making but conceptual drawing and different styles in painting interweaving contemporary ideas with classical techniques and the use of ready-mades and crass-objects. Born in Burri, Sudan, in 1936, Mohammed Omar Khalil studied at the School of Fine and Applied Arts in Khartoum, Sudan, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. Since 1967, he has lived and worked in New York. His work has been showcased in important venues all over the world, including the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, both in New York City.