Elegy to My Trapped CityDia Azzawi 24 Sep - 31 Oct 2012 Dia Azzawi's mural-sized painting, Elegy To My Trapped City (2011), was first exhibited by the gallery in November 2011, during Abu Dhabi Art. Comprised of haunting fragmented monochrome forms, the work represents the post-2003 destruction of Iraq. As one of the more politically inclined artists of his generation, Azzawi has since the 1970s created works which address the issue of human suffering as a result of political instability. His politically motivated works are often likened to Picasso's seminal painting Guernica (1937); however, the artist's exploration of themes of war and plight also differ from the Spanish artist in several ways: in the nature of the attack displayed, and the compositional arrangement of figures and forms. The display of Elegy follows the recent unveiling of the artist's work Sabra Shatila Massacre at the Tate Modern in London, a work based on the 1982 massacre of civilians in Beirut's Palestinian refugee camps during the Lebanese civil war. Elegy, which also pays homage to the Iraqi poet Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayati's (1926 – 1999) poem of the same title, was exhibited with five acrylic and China ink preparatory drawings by the artist.
Fun w/ FenMohamed Kanoo 15 May - 5 Jul 2012 Fun w/Fen is Mohamed Kanoo's second solo exhibition at the gallery, displaying his recent work. The exhibition presents the artist's humorous interpretation of topical issues including religion, culture, politics and popular culture. The exhibition features silkscreen and digital prints, installation and mixed media works, such as Abayya Army and the Red Balloon, Catching Fish, and Henna Stop Sign. Many of his recent works also pays homage to a number of artists Kanoo draws inspiration from, such as in works like Allah, which presents four small incisions on a large silver canvas, an immediate interpretation of the pioneering conceptual work of the 1950s Argentinian born artist Lucio Fontana; AraMao, which is based on Andy Warhol's famous portrait of Chairman Mao; and his personal interpretation of Katsushika Hokusai's iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa, where he replaces Mount Fuji with Dubai's Burj Al Arab. Kanoo's first solo exhibition held at Meem Gallery in 2009 displayed his '99' Shemaghart collection.
Art MoroccoMohamed Melehi, Ahmed Cherkaoui, Jilali Gharbaoui 12 Mar - 30 Apr 2012 Art Morocco presents the rare opportunity to view the work of Moroccan modern masters Mohammed Melehi, Ahmed Cherkaoui and Jilali Gharbaoui. Pioneers of modern abstract painting in Morocco, their work demonstrates how, following the country's independence in 1956, artists created an aesthetic dialogue between their cultural heritage and the impact of colonialism on North African artistic culture.
Having studied abroad during the late 1950s (in Europe and the US), the three artists' work formally adheres to modern Western artistic techniques but simultaneously references traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, signs and symbols. In 1959, Melehi and Gharbaoui exhibited their work at the Premiere Biennale des Jeunes in Paris, introducing the international art world to contemporary Moroccan art. The artists, along with Cherkaoui, also participated in the second installment of the Biennale in 1961. This exhibition is the first show to display the work of the three artists in the United Arab Emirates.
Art SudanIbrahim Salahi & Mohammad Omar Khalil 11 Dec 2011 - 29 Feb 2012 Art Sudan exhibits the work of Ibrahim Salahi and Mohammad Omar Khalil, pioneers of modern art in Sudan and the region. Having studied in Sudan and Europe, both artists through their work have forged a technical link between Western art practices and their cultural heritage.
Salahi is renowned for his early experiments with the Arabic letter, exploring its semantic roots and aesthetic qualities in his work. Using art as a way of communicating social and topical issues, Salahi highlights the significance of the artist's role in greater society.
Khalil, who has studied printmaking and fresco painting, creates collage compositions from readymade objects to examine the traditional symbolism of the Arab world, creating a dialogue between his heritage and contemporary techniques.
Both artists' work have been exhibited worldwide and is held in international collections including the British Museum, London; MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.