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Dalloul Art Foundation



March 4 - October 4 2017
Curated by Mandy Merzaban

Barjeel Art Foundation celebrates Art Week this March with Part 2 of ‘Beloved Bodies’ plus the unveiling of new artist commission by Sadik Alfraiji.

On 4 March, ‘Beloved Bodies’ – an exhibition showcasing a variety of depictions of the human form – will open at the Barjeel Art Foundation Gallery, Maraya Art Centre. Spanning the 20th Century to the present day, the exhibition is comprised of two phases: Part 1 and Part 2 (4 March 2017 – 4 October 2017).
‘Beloved Bodies’ is presented and curated by Barjeel Art Foundation curator Mandy Merzaban, with works drawn exclusively from the Barjeel Art Foundation Collection, one of the most extensive collections of Modern and Contemporary Arab art from the region with over 1200 works dating from the late-1800s to the present day.

The exhibition’s title is loosely inspired by French theorist Roland Barthes’ writings on the dynamics of love and desire. Barthes uses the term ‘beloved body’ to refer to the object of a lover’s desire, whether that is a person,an object or a place.

This second phase of the exhibition will present a larger selection of contemporary works that include artists Hayv Kahraman, Tagreed Darghouth, and Nadia Ayari that depict the body in many contexts - traversing themes of language, landscape, trauma and remembrance.
The exhibition will include, among others, the work Flayed Lamb by Hayv Kahraman, a Los Angeles-based Iraqi artist who was born in Baghdad, before emigrating to Sweden with her family and finally settling in the USA. Kahraman’s work addresses gendered identity through a range of media including painting, drawing and sculpture. By addressing issues such as gender inequality and sexual violence, Kahraman touches on struggles inherent to the female experience. Inspired by Persian miniatures and Japanese painting, Kahraman’s voluptuous female characters partake in activities that border on the grotesque. Her work challenges cultural norms of women as fetishised objects, as well as perpetuated expectations that women should aspire to become objects of desire.

Support for commissioned work by Sadik Kwaish Alfraiji at the Maraya Art Centre
Alongside the opening of ‘Beloved Bodies II’, the Barjeel Art Foundation has commissioned a new artist work by Sadik Kwaish Alfraiji at the Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, titled Once Upon a Time: Hadiqat al Umma. The Iraqi artist presents a panoramic multi-media installation reviving his childhood experience of Baghdad’s Hadiqat Al Umma. Although it has lost much of its beauty over the years, the park remains a vivid memory in Sadik’s mind and he uses his own visual and emotional recollections to recreate its rhythm. His beautiful drawings, which reimagine people seen there, are brought to life in black and white animations across 9 projectors. The artist’s recreation of the collective experience of this park in the 1970s belongs to his larger exploration of the loss, fragmentation and lapses in time that underline exile.
The works have been commissioned by Barjeel Art Foundation, and the exhibition is generously supported by Ayyam Gallery.
A panel discussion will be held on the 4 March with Sadik Kwaish Alfraiji and Mandy Merzaban (curator at Barjeel Art Foundation) at 7:00pm.
Additional programming at Maraya Art Centre: Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver, Circular Landscapes Maraya Art Centre presents Circular Landscapes, a surround-sound, musical and conceptual performance series by artists in residence Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver. For these works, the artists focus attention on distinct locations in Sharjah: The Mleiha Desert archaeological site and the Sharjah International Airport (the first airport in the UAE). These sites are tied together through their diverse relationships to notions of flow and transition throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Each performance sculpts sound and vision into a multi-channel, audio-visual work, scoring field recordings and interview excerpts collected at each site, alongside electro-acoustic compositions performed live by the artists.


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