Cultural Narratives from across the Middle East

 Cultural Narratives, installation view in Alserkal Avenue, February 2018. Courtesy of Selections.

Cultural Narratives, installation view in Alserkal Avenue, February 2018. Courtesy of Selections.

Housed in 20x20cm wooden frames, the artworks in Cultural Narratives have a certain homogeneity to them. But the deliberate dimensional restriction is where the similarities stop. The exhibition comprises commissioned works by leading and emerging artists from across the Middle East and once displayed together, the grouping offers a sweeping look at the region’s contemporary art scene.

The initiative is a bold and important one spearheaded by Selections, a publishing platform with bases in Lebanon and Dubai and is currently housed in a pop-up exhibition in a warehouse in Alserkal Avenue.

“The idea was to showcase on one wall the cultural landscape of our region,” says Rima Nasser, editor-in-chief of Selections. “It is a growing project with a wider vision to unite the region through art; to introduce artists to each other; and to present the collection without boundaries or geographical demarcation.”

 Cultural Narratives, installation view. Featured here are pieces by Leila Kubba, Saddam Jumaily, Sinan Hussein, Mahmoud Obaidi, Fathel Neema, Serwan Baran, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Athier Mousawi, Dia Azzari, Nawal Alsadon, ?Missing info?, Mahmoud Shubbar, Nadim Kufi, Hanaa Malallah, Maysaloun Faraj (top-bottom; left-right)

Cultural Narratives, installation view. Featured here are pieces by Leila Kubba, Saddam Jumaily, Sinan Hussein, Mahmoud Obaidi, Fathel Neema, Serwan Baran, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Athier Mousawi, Dia Azzari, Nawal Alsadon, ?Missing info?, Mahmoud Shubbar, Nadim Kufi, Hanaa Malallah, Maysaloun Faraj (top-bottom; left-right)

Some of the highlights include a sculptural composition placed inside the wooden frame by Dia Azzawi, the Iraqi master as well as a lamenting figure painted by Sadik Kwaish Afirji, characteristic of the artist’s mournful video works and a stunning geometric piece by Maysaloun Faraj.

Palestinian giants Suleiman Mansour and Samia Halaby both have included works and there is also a textured canvas by Syrian Elias Izoli. Some of the more eye-catching pieces include a neon-green foam form by Iranian Sina Choopani as well as an assemblage work from Tunisian Omar Bey.

 Cultural Narratives, installation view. Featured here are pieces by Bahareh Navabi, Sogol Kashani, Sadra Baniasadi, Amin Akbari, Sadaf Hesamiyan, Habib Farajabadi, Mahsa Karimi, Zahra Navaei, Atousa Jannesari, Yashar Salahi, Kaveh Irani, Resmi Al Kafaji, Amir Sograthi, Habib Farajabadi, Khoroush Salehi, Nariman Farrokhi, ??missing info??, Sina Choopani, Ahmed Al Bahrani, Ghasemi Brothers, Mohammed Fattahi, Ahoo Maher, Aidin Xankeshipour, Amin Montazeri. (top-bottom; left-right)

Cultural Narratives, installation view. Featured here are pieces by Bahareh Navabi, Sogol Kashani, Sadra Baniasadi, Amin Akbari, Sadaf Hesamiyan, Habib Farajabadi, Mahsa Karimi, Zahra Navaei, Atousa Jannesari, Yashar Salahi, Kaveh Irani, Resmi Al Kafaji, Amir Sograthi, Habib Farajabadi, Khoroush Salehi, Nariman Farrokhi, ??missing info??, Sina Choopani, Ahmed Al Bahrani, Ghasemi Brothers, Mohammed Fattahi, Ahoo Maher, Aidin Xankeshipour, Amin Montazeri. (top-bottom; left-right)

The fact that this is a non-profit venture aimed solely at showcasing the length and breadth of talent from the region makes it a truly special exhibition. It is supported by a comprehensive website with information about all the artists and images of the artworks as well as a published compilation of the collection so far.

This is a temporary show only up for the duration of Art Week, so I encourage anyone to go and check it out.

  • Cultural Narratives. Warehouse 47, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. February 24 – March 24, 2018