Fann À Porter Dubai: Reality Show
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Collaborating with ZAAT Beirut (a multidisciplinary platform promoting and empowering artists, which specialises in the Arab world’s art), Fann À Porter in Dubai is holding Reality Show, a group exhibition. It features such artists as Ali El Ghul, Fouad Jawhar, Hamed Abdalla, Leila Nseir, Omran Al Kaysi, Jamil Kasha, Abd Kasha, Ahmad Kasha, Arda Aslanian, Bader Mahasneh, Fatma Lootah, Hala Al Faisal, Majd Kurdieh, Mayar Obeido, Mazen Rifai, Melissa Chalhoub, Mohammad Al Hawajri, Mohammad Ramadan, Omran Younes, Rabee Kiwan, Shahd Al Rez, Salah Hreeb, Shereen Audi, Sundus Alibrahim, Taghlib Oweis, Tamim Sibai, Will Iskandar, and Zena Assi. The exhibition will run through 30 June 2023.

Reality Show’s aim is to spark a discussion about the current state of our society and the numerous realities shaping our lives. In the exhibition, the artworks of the modern and contemporary artists from the Middle East are brought together, in which they offer their insights into the world around us and speak about the challenges we face as a society.

About the participating artists

Ali El Ghul (b. 1938, Jerusalem) is an experimental Palestinian–Jordanian painter and a writer, who studied architecture in Florence, Italy, and Newcastle, UK. He teaches art and architecture at the University of Jordan, Amman.

Fouad Jawhar (born in 1944, Sidon, Lebanon; died in 2013) is considered one of the greatest Lebanese painters. He graduated from the Lebanese University of Fine Arts and became professor at Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts and the Lebanese University.

Hamed Abdalla (born in 1917, Cairo, Upper Egypt; died in 1985) was a self-taught Modernist artist initially trained as a calligrapher. In his work, he focused on developing the concept of “the Creative word”, written words expressed in paint, blending abstraction and human forms.

Hamed Abdalla, Al Taslim, Capitulation, 1977. Acrylic on paper and cardboard. 18 1/10 × 25 3/5 in | 46 × 65 cm.

Leila Nseir (b. 1941, Lattakia, Syria) is an Avant-garde artist. Experimenting with various media and techniques, in her art, she explored such themes as life and death, human struggle, and the experiences of the working class. She also challenged the stereotypical prejudices of society, particularly women’s rights.

Omran Al Kaysi (b. 1943) is an artist, historian, and art critic. Currently, he writes for Kifaharabi, a daily Lebanese newspaper; he is also a correspondent to a Saudi Arabian newspaper.

Jamil Kasha (b. 1958, Jisr Al Shughur, Syria) is a sculptor whose main source of inspiration is the world of nature. He uses natural materials (stones, wood, pearls, etc.) to create his symbolic sculptures: busts of figures and elements from his environment (fish, birds, etc.).

Abd Kasha (b. 1997, Syria) is a contemporary artist. In his expressive paintings elements of Abstract art and figurative imagery are combined.

Ahmad Kasha (b. 1997, Syria) is an Abstract artist and sculptor. His raw and visceral depiction of reality full of dynamism evokes a feeling of movement.

Ahmad Kasha, Untitled. Acrylic on canvas. 160 x 130 cm.

Arda Aslanian (b. 1981, Amman, Jordan) is an Armenian-Jordanian architect and an artist residing in Amman. In her work, she mostly examines the behavioural rules of beliefs, attitudes, and influences in social groups or cultures.

Bader Mahasneh (b. 1977, Jerash, Jordan) is a multidisciplinary artist. His art practice involves painting, sculpting, and photography. Often featuring human figures in his artworks, Mahasneh prioritises shape and form over language and information.

Fatma Lootah (born in Dubai, UAE) is an artist and activist based in Verona, Italy. Her art is mostly abstract, although recently, she has developed a figurative style. Lootah draws her inspiration from her Emirati heritage and Emirati life.

Hala Al Faisal (b. 1958, Damascus, Syria) is a famous painter, singer, and actress who lived and worked not only in Syria, but also Russia, Italy, Germany, USA, France, and Lebanon. The main subject in her art is a human figure, especially a female one. Growing up in a family where women’s rights were often discussed, she became an avid defender of them.

Majd Kurdieh (b. 1985, Aleppo, Syria) is an artist residing in Amsheet, Lebanon. His art practice includes painting, drawing, and literature, and he uses cartoon-like figures (the Fasaeen, which means “tiny ones” in Arabic) to talk about the world’s current state.

Mayar Obeido (b. 1995, Damascus, Syria) is a visual artist whose work revolves around the apple object. He aims to create a relationship between the characters he depicts and the apple in an attempt to present ideas about repetitions, observation, and change.

Mayar Obeido, Apple Series 1, 2021. Mixed Media on paper. 8 3/10 × 10 1/5 in | 21 × 26 cm.

Mazen Rifai (b. 1957, Baalbek, Lebanon) is an artist and architect who resides in Beirut. He is famous for his small-scale paintings marked by saturated colours, in which he depicts Baalback. Rifai’s hometown is the main source of inspiration for him.

Mazen El Rifaii, 2006, ما المجد الا السيف. Collage and watercolor on paper. 17 7/10 × 14 3/5 in | 45 × 37 cm.

Melissa Chalhoub (b. 1990, Lebanon) is a graphic artist and sound designer. She received her BA in Audiovisual Studies from Saint Joseph University, USA. Chalhoub has designed sound for many experimental short films and has also been working as a visual artist for concerts.

Mohammad Al Hawajri (b. 1976, Gaza) is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Gaza. Using painting, photography, video, and installation art, he reflects his and his fellow citizens’ experiences of living in Gaza under unstable political, economic, and social conditions.

Mohammad Ramadan (b. 1994, Damascus, Syria) is an artist residing in Dubai, UAE. In his oil paintings characterised by subtle gradations in black, white, and grey, he explores duality and the human experience, particularly within the context of the Syrian war.

Omran Younes (b. 1971, Al-Hasakah, Syria) is an artist living in Damascus. Through his art, he shows the world the horrendous reality of the war in Syria. The artist uses different mediums to create his dark paintings which depict exaggerated figures, fear, and panic.

Omran Younes, Untitled, 2021. Mixed media on canvas. 43 x 229 cm.

Rabee Kiwan (b. 1984, Damascus, Syria) is an artist based in Portland, Maine, USA. The main element of his abstract figurative work is the human figure in its different emotional states. He works on canvas using acrylic and oil paints and also utilises mixed media.

Rabee Kiwan, Pete’s Barn. Oil on Linen Panel. 8 x 10 in.

Shereen Audi (b. 1970, Amman, Jordan) is a visual artist whose art practice includes painting, working with mixed media, video art, and photography. The key themes she explores in her work are women and female identity.

Sundus Alibrahim is a contemporary artist originally from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but living and working in Dubai, UAE; her art incorporates various styles and techniques. In her colourful paintings portraying women, Alibrahim mixes the real and surreal. For her, art is a way to rethink reality, express personal associations, and find new meanings.

Tamim Sibai (b. 1991, Damascus, Syria) is a painter residing in Berlin, Germany. His art style may be described as expressionistic. The colourful portraits Sibai paints reflect a mixture of the painted person’s image and the artist’s own feelings towards that person.

Zena Assi (b. 1974, Lebanon) is a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary artist who lives and works between Beirut and London. She uses var­ious mediums to document and explore issues related to Middle Eastern coun­tries with their internal strife and civilian unrest.

Zena Assi, Study of a Cloud Over Beirut #1, 2022-2023. Oil, Oil Sticks, Collage and Ink on Framed Canvas. 41 3/10 × 55 1/10 in | 105 × 140 cm.

To learn more about Reality Show, please visit the exhibition’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Perpetual Identities by Katya A. Traboulsi