Sotheby’s Dubai: The YES Collection
   Reading 5 min

Until 31 July 2023, Sotheby’s Dubai is holding a selling exhibition which features eleven contemporary rare works from the YES Collection of Charles Al Sidaoui, a Lebanese-born businessman and art collector residing in Dubai. The art pieces on display include the artworks of such prominent international artists as Thierry Noir, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Nicolas Party, and Karel Appel. On view are also the paintings of Isshaq Ismail, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Lutanda Zemba Luzamba, Nabil Nahas, Eddie Martinez, Diana al-Hadid, and Inji Aflatoun.

About the artists

Thierry Noir (b. 1958, Lyon, France) is a French artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. He is the first artist who painted the Berlin Wall in the 1980s. Some of his vibrant paintings, that mostly depict cartoon-like profiles, can still be seen on the Wall’s surviving segments in art collections and on the East Side Gallery. Noir’s art practice also encompasses painting, printmaking, and public art. Today, the artist continues to create murals in different countries, including the UK, the USA, and Australia.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b.1977, London, UK) is a British painter and writer. Her large-scale oil paintings executed in muted colours portray people of African descent; the subjects are sourced from found images, literature, memories, or just her imagination. The artist strives to keep the imaginary individuals she depicts from being associated with a particular decade or time. They are often wearing simple, minimalist clothing and portrayed against a dark backdrop.

Nicolas Party (b. 1980, Lausanne, Switzerland) is a figurative painter based in New York, USA, whose artistic practice involves painting, drawing, sculpting, printmaking, installation, and murals. His vibrantly coloured paintings often depict rounded, wide-eyed figures and geometric landscapes and still lifes. As an artist, Party is more interested in nature’s translation and transformation through colour, materials and composition, rather than in its accurate depiction. He is also interested in the power of paint to change one’s perception of the built environment and how one experiences art within a gallery context.

Nicolas Party, Landscape, 2018. Pastel on canvas. 150 x 180 cm. | 59 x 70 3⁄4 in.

Karel Appel (1921– 2006) was a renowned Dutch artist, sculptor, poet who rejected sophisticated aesthetic tastes in his work. In 1948, he became one of those who founded the avant-garde movement CoBrA. To create his expressive abstract paintings, Appel used vivid colours and violent brushwork. Among the sources of his inspiration were folk art and the art made by children and the mentally ill. Besides, his art was influenced by the work of Swiss-German artist Paul Klee and Spanish Catalan artist Joan Miró.

Karel Appel, Untitled (Abstract), n.d. Lithograph in colors. 21 × 29 in. | 53.3 × 73.7 cm.

Isshaq Ismail (b. 1989 in Accra, Ghana) is a Ghanaian artist residing in Accra who paints faces and figures with grotesque features, using the impasto technique. In his bold vivid artworks, he explores the social, cultural, and political aspects of the modern world impact identity. In his art, Ismail questions canonical notions of beauty and delves into such themes as desire, resilience, power, and hope.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim (b. 1962, Khorfakkan, UAE) is one of the pioneering conceptual Emirati artists who lives in Khorfakkan. His work is deeply inspired by its environment, which is clearly visible in his artworks and the materials he uses. The objects he crafts look like primitive tools, bones, or tree parts, while his drawings have inscriptions, lines and abstract forms which reminds one of ancient cave paintings.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, My Garden’s Details No.3, 2021. Acrylic on canvas. 122 x 91 cm.

Lutanda Zemba Luzamba (b. 1973, the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is a Congolese painter. In his oil paintings of black people, he reflects the experiences of African migrants. Luzamba draws from his own experience, as he moved from the DRC to Cape Town, South Africa. In his work, the artist also comments on various social and political issues related to Africa.

Nabil Nahas (b. 1949, Beirut, Lebanon) is a Lebanese artist living in New York and working in a wide range of mediums. His work is inspired by traditional Western abstract painting and geometric motifs and decorative patterns of Islamic art. Nature can be called his biggest inspiration. His art practice incorporates the use of organic materials, such as seashells and starfish: Nahas casts them in acrylic paint and mounts on a canvas. His more recent artworks depict cedars, olive trees, and palms native to Lebanon.

Nabil Nahas, Untitled, 1981. Acrylic on canvas. 61 x 61 cm.

Eddie Martinez (b. 1977, Groton, USA), a New York-based artist, works between representation and abstraction. Employing oil, enamel, spray paint and often adding found objects, he creates energetic large-scale paintings on canvas incorporating the expressionistic lines and aggressive colours of street art. The artist gets his inspiration from Abstract Expressionism, Action painting, and the CoBrA group’s work. He is also influenced by graffiti artist Barry McGee and Philip Guston, a Canadian American painter and printmaker.

Eddie Martinez, That Plain Jane, 2016. Sharpie, marker and oil pastel on paper. Framed: 23 x 28 cm.

Diana Al-Hadid (b. 1981, Aleppo, Syria) is an American artist residing in Brooklyn, New York, USA. To create her sculptures, installations, and drawings, she utilises different media (plaster, plywood, cardboard, fibreglass, polymer, steel, etc). Her work involves exploring the historical frameworks and perspectives which continue to shape discourse on culture and materials today. Al-Hadid is inspired by both ancient and modern civilizations. Among the sources she uses to create her allegorical works are art historical religious imagery, ancient manuscripts, female archetypes, and folkloric storytelling.

Diana Al-Hadid, Untitled, 2014. Etching and aquatint in colors, on Revere Suede paper, with full margins. 23 7/10 × 30 7/10 in. | 60.3 × 78.1 cm.

Inji Aflatoun (1924–1989) was an Egyptian painter and activist in the women’s movement, who is considered a pioneer of modern Egyptian art. In her paintings, Aflatoun often depicted the lives of women, peasants, and workers, as well as the struggles for independence and social justice. This way, she aimed to raise awareness about the social issues she witnessed in Egypt: women’s rights, poverty, and labour rights. Aflatoun was heavily influenced by Surrealism and Cubism, although her art style changed over the years, featuring elements of both modernism and traditional Egyptian art.

Inji Efflatoun, Swiss Countryside II, ca. 1950. Oil on Carton. 7 9/10 × 11 4/5 in. | 20 × 30 cm.

To get more information about the exhibition, please visit its official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Beirut and the Golden Sixties: A Manifesto of Fragility.