t Dubai Modern Symposium is a series of talks and presentations focused on the life, work and cultural impact of 20th century masters from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Renowned curators, scholars and patrons will lead the sessions that delve into the styles, influences and practices of artists whose work contributes to the history of art produced in the 20th century.
Monday 19 March 2018
17:00 WELCOME NOTE BY MYRNA AYAD, DIRECTOR, ART DUBAI
17:15 - 18:00
MODERNITY IN THE GULF
This session will trace art practices in the Gulf from the 1970s through to the 1990s, looking at the lives, political and economic shifts and legacies of modernists from the Gulf.
Thuraya Al Baqsami, artist and writer, Kuwait, Eiman Elgibreen, Assistant Professor of Art History, College of Art and Design, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Noora Al Mualla, Curator of Modern Arab Art, Art Centres Manager, Sharjah Art Foundation, Mona Khazindar, Director of Palette for Cultural Projects and Art Publications. Moderated by Till Fellrath, Independent Curator and Academic, Co-founder of Art Reoriented.
18:15 - 19:00
TALK & LAUNCH OF MOMA'S MODERN ART IN THE ARAB WORLD: PRIMARY DOCUMENTS, IN ASSOCIATION WITH MISK ART INSTITUTE
The eighth volume in The Museum of Modern Art’s Primary Documents series investigates
modernism in the Arab world and is edited by art historians Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rogers, and Dr. Nada Shabout. The selection of texts – many of which appear here for the first time in English – includes manifestos, essays, transcripts of roundtable discussions, diary entries, exhibition guest–book comments, letters, and more.
Dr. Sam Bardaouil, Independent Curator and Academic, Co-founder of Art Reoriented and Dr. Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Director of the Contemporary Arab and
Muslim Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas, USA, and member of Art Dubai
Modern Advisory Committee.
These talks are supported by Misk Art Institute.
Wednesday 21 March 2018
AFRICA: MODERNITY, MODERNISM AND CONTEMPORARY ART
African art: are its aesthetics ‘primitive’? Islamic? Calligraphic? Ethnic? Tribal?
Are its makers African from the continent or from its Diasporas or both? What is
the contemporary context of African art?
Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, artist, art historian and Curator of African art at Cleveland Museum of Art, Ayo Adeyinka, Founder, TAFETA, London. Moderated by Catherine David, Deputy Director of the Musee National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee.
REMEMBERING THE MAGIC: ABDEL HADI AL GAZZAR
Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar is known as one of Egypt – and the Arab world’s – most important and influential artists. He joined the Higher School of Fine Arts in 1945 and met fellow artists Hamed Nada, Kamal Youssef and Samir Rafi, among others. They came to form a group that sought to identify Egyptian traditions and infuse art with folklore and popular culture in a mission to wash away Western influences. It was during this time that Al Gazzar’s work both featured mystical symbolism and mythology and was shown at several editions of the Venice Biennale. He spent three years studying in Rome during which time he explored Europe’s cultural sites, becoming inspired to move away from Cairene landscapes to more surreal pictures.
Clare Davies, Assistant Curator, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Tayseer El Gazzar, daughter of Abdel Hadi Al Gazzar and Director of the Al Gazzar Foundation, Sam Bardaouil, Independent Curator and Academic, Co-founder of Art Reoriented.
18:00 – 19:00
ROOTED IN IRAQ: THE BAGHDAD MODERN ART GROUP
Amidst a political climate that witnessed the nationalisation of Egypt’s Suez Canal, and the establishment of the Baath Party in Syria, came a Western-trained artist who felt compelled to safeguard contemporary Iraqi art: Jawad Saleem. Having studied in Europe, he returned to his native Iraq in 1940 and joined the Institute of Fine Art in Baghdad. Eleven years later, Saleem and his protégé, Shakir Hassan Al Said founded the Baghdad Modern Art Group, an artistic platform that sought to modernise and reference the country’s heritage – including Assyrian, Babylonian and Abbasid influences – with a nod to Yihya Al Qasiti, the miniature painter. With Saleem’s untimely passing, Al Said, held the reins of the Group, that included intellectuals, writers and poets.
Hanaa Malallah, artist and associate professor at the Royal University for Women, Bahrain, Amin Alsaden, Teaching Fellow and PhD Candidate, Harvard University, Salwa Mikdadi, Associate Professor, Practice of Art History, NYU Abu Dhabi. Moderated by Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas, USA, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee
This talk is supported by Misk Art Institute.
UP CLOSE AND CONCEPTUAL: RASHEED ARAEEN
In his 60-year career, Rasheed Araeen recognises that he has developed “a body of ideas useful to humanity”. A painter, writer, curator and a pioneer of Minimalist sculpture in Britain, the Pakistani-born artist began his professional life as a civil engineer in Karachi. In 1987, he established and published Third Text to address institutional racism that many non-Western artists faced. The UK has been his home since 1964 and was where Araeen encountered the work of Anthony Caro, becoming inspired by the English artist’s utilisation of industrial materials. Motivated by the idea of art acting as an agent for social awareness, Araeen looked to Islamic civilisation and developed a body of work in ode to Islam’s thinkers and philosophers.
Rasheed Araeen, artist, Pakistan, and Nick Aikens, Curator, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Thursday, 22 March 2018
16:00 - 16:30
WHO WAS BAHMAN MOHASSES?
A painter, sculptor, translator, poet, writer and theatre director, Bahman Mohasses is largely recognised as an icon of Iranian modernism. After studies at the Academy of Arts in Rome, he returned to Tehran and became a central figure during the peak of the Iranian capital’s flourishing cultural arena. Fascinated by the human body, animals and nature, his works were also inspired by mythology, Surrealism and Cubism.
Vali Mahlouji, independent curator, founder of the non-profit platform Archaeology of the Final Decade and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee
HOMAGE TO ABDALLAH BENANTEUR
A founding member of the Ecole de Tunis, Jallel Ben Abdallah was indeed a prolific artist, producing about 80,000 works in his 70-year career. Among the aspects for which he is best known is developing a distinct style based on a picture of ‘traditional Tunis’ that quickly became visually synonymous with the new Tunisian republic. He explored various styles, becoming among the first Tunisian painters who dealt with geometry and symbolism before settling on what came to be recognised as the image for the modernist, post-colonial movement in Tunisia.
Ridha Moumni, Curator and Cultural Adviser, Rambourg Foundation, Tunis
WHO WAS ALI JABRI?
An aristocrat hailing from an old Aleppo family, Ali Jabri was born in Jerusalem, raised in Egypt and educated between Stanford University in California, where he studied
architecture, and Bristol University, graduating with a degree in English literature. He returned to Egypt, infatuated with its history, Islamic architecture, people and streets, and finally settled in Amman in the 1980s, where his work took on more political and social themes, laced with satire and sarcasm.
Suha Lallas, Founder, Wadi Finan Gallery, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder, Barjeel Art Foundation, Rula Atalla Ghandour, art patron, co-founder of the Ali Jabri Human Heritage Foundation. Moderated by Vali Mahlouji, independent curator and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee
THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF THE MIGHTY SOUZA
Francis Newton Souza co-founded the Progressive Artists Group that sought to promote Avant-garde art in India. Souza’s work was highly charged, often violent and sensual, and in his six-decade career, it would be fair to say that his seminal paintings are of Christ as well as the nudes. No doubt, he is among India’s most celebrated artists.
Savita Apte, art historian specialising in modern and contemporary South Asian art. Moderated by Mahnaz Fancy, Senior Programme Officer, Sharjah Architecture Triennial.
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