Nostalgia, Annual CFAD Faculty Exhibition
   Reading 3 min

Ayyam Gallery in Dubai is hosting and curating this year’s University of Sharjah annual CFAD (The College of Fine Arts and Design) faculty, staff, and alumni exhibition titled Nostalgia. It will be on view until June 17, 2023.

The show features 12 artists, both emerging and established ones: Ahed Al Kathiri, Brian Gonzales, Hala El Abora, Kawthar Alshurafa, Lina Elmalik, Muatasim Alkubaisy, Mohamed Yousef Alhammadi, Nada Abdallah, Nourbanu Hijazi, Thaier Helal, Tor Seidel, and Unaiza Ismail. In their displayed art pieces, the participants reflect their personal preoccupation with remembrance which is both actual and perceived. Their interpretations of nostalgia reveal the complexity of their reflections on their pasts, whether in images, events, or fleeting feelings.

Nostalgia (installation view). Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, 2023.

About the participating artists

Ahed Al Kathiri is an emerging artist who resides in Dubai. Having Yemini roots, she draws her inspiration from her memories of home: she stitches pillows using her grandmother’s clothes. For the artist, it is a way to nourish the connection she has with Yemen and its heritage.

Brian Gonzales (born in Santa Monica, CA, USA) is an American artist who has been living and working in the UAE since 2016. To create his artworks, he uses printmaking with polyester plate lithography and alternative ink technology.

Brian Gonzales, MAGA (Perpetual Foreigner), 2019.

Hala El Abora (born in 1999) is a Palestinian-Jordanian artist based in Dubai. Being interested in the concept of permanence, in her work, she focuses on preserving and archiving. Her art practice includes embroidery and using such materials as resin, plastic, and metal.

Hala El Abora, A Topographical Collection of Encounters IV, 2023. Documents in Nylon, 3D printed. Variable sizes.

Lina Elmalik (born in 1995) is a Sudanese artist whose work centres on Sudanese women. In her installations, drawings, and digital and traditional paintings, she explores Afro-Arab identity and heritage; isolation; deviance; and femininity. Sudanese toub, a traditional women’s dress, is one of the key elements in her art: it envelops her memories of Sudan.

Muatasim Al Kubaisi (born in 1968, Baghdad, Iraq) is a sculptor and art teacher famous for his bronze sculptures. In his works, he highlights the serious and drastic changes taking place in post 2003 Iraq.

Muatasim Al Kubaisi, Exhaustion, 2016. Bronze. 45 x 95 x 35cm. Edition: 1-3.

Dr. Mohamed Yousif Alhammadi (born in 1953, Sharjah) resides in Sharjah; he is one of the first sculptors in the Emirates. His wooden sculptures are inspired by his engagement with and contemplation of nature.

Nada Abdallah is an Egyptian artist, designer, and educator interested in Arabic calligraphy and typography. Her work is based on exploring Alif, the Arabic alphabet’s first letter. She chose this letter to show the calligraphy’s beauty and demonstrate its history, styles, and forms.

Nourbanu Hijazi is an artist, designer, illustrator, and educator whose art practice involves using both traditional and digital media. Her surreal art pieces often depicting mythical creatures, such as angels, explores the human condition, particularly internal conflicts and mortality.

Thaier Helal (born in 1967, Syria) is an abstract artist and professor residing in Sharjah. Trying to recreate the physical and sensory aspects of the surrounding world, he incorporates such unconventional materials as glue, sand, and coal in his painting technique. In his recent artworks, Helal uses found objects (plastic beads and small toys) to reflect on the adverse effects of globalisation and consumerist culture.

Thaier Helal, The Road to Deir Mar Musa Al-Habashi III, 2014. Mixed media on canvas. 70 x 100 cm.

Tor Seidel (born in 1964) is a German artist, curator, author, filmmaker, photographer, and lecturer who resides in Sharjah. What interests him is “the semiotic nature of appearances […]: what is that which appears to us as a surface”. In his Library project, the artist employs perceptual illusions to challenge the audience’s notion of literature, library, and knowledge.

Unaiza Ismail (born in 1991, Lahore, Pakistan) is a visual artist who lives and works in Sharjah. Her artistic practice includes drawing, illustration, printmaking, and sculpture. In her work, she focuses on challenging social norms and values; the established status-quo regarding women and the expectations of society about women’s behaviour.

Unaiza Ismail, one of the artworks from the Vulnerable reality series, 2015. Book and video. 4 x 6 in

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

You might also be interested in visiting Reality Show at Fann À Porter Dubai.