ARABICITY: SUCH A NEAR EAST
CURATED BY ROSE ISSA
BLUECOAT arts centre
3 july–5 september 2010
Featuring: Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Chant Avedissian, Ayman Baalbaki, Fathi Hassan, and Raeda Saadeh
This exhibition introduces six contemporary artists from the Arab world who explore their cultural heritage from a unique perspective and express what they find in unexpected and emotive ways.
“Arabicity” is about representations of the self, projecting and protecting one’s own image and personal iconography. By presenting the artists together, the exhibition also addresses contemporary Arab concerns, conceptual and aesthetic. The manner in which the artists negotiate and mediate between various cultural codes and practices is one full of warmth, humour and poetry.
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme
Palestinian video and sound artist Basel Abbas and artist and film-maker Ruanne Abou-Rahme work together on projects that express the baffling contradictions and disruptions of the Palestinian experience, past and present, and the relationship between the actual, imagined and remembered.
This Egyptian-Armenian artist has a huge international following for his enchanting, witty, nostalgic and exquisitely painted stencils of popular icons from the Arab World, be they princes, pop stars, politicians or the man on the street.
Baalbaki observes the impact of the country’s long civil war and its bewildering change. Yet within his apocalyptic world of destroyed cityscapes, snipers and checkpoints, flowers are scattered amongst the ruins – a sign that beauty can take root in the most hostile circumstances.
By playing with the symbols, textures and calligraphy of his Nubian ancestry, this Sudanese-Egyptian multi-media artist explores nature, nurture and the relationship between the written and spoken word. His installation of 99 small paintings of sand on canvas reflect his current sources of inspiration and his personal list of places and artists who are relevant to him.
This Palestinian photographer is the Cindy Sherman of the Middle East, questioning gender and identity by posing in scenes from famous paintings or staging her own witty tableaux. Her video work, “Vacuum” is a contemporary take on the myth of Sisyphus, set in the desert near her hometown.
This exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. To browse through the catalogue click here.
For more information on the show click here