Symbiotic: Hyperreal by Talal and Ziad Al Najjar
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NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Arts Center presents Symbiotic: Hyperreal, an exhibition featuring the artworks of Emirati artists and brothers Talal and Ziad Al Najjar. Curated by Tala Nassar, Associate Manager of Curatorial Projects at The NYUAD Arts Center, the show is being held at The Project Space and will be open to the public until 14 June 2023.

In their displayed art pieces, the Al Najjar brothers masterfully create a realm of simulation, unreality, and hyperreality. “Symbiotic” in the exhibition’s title refers to the dualities manifesting in the show. It is not only about the bond shared by two brothers, but also about the coexistence of two cultures (Emirati and American) in their family and life in the Emirates with its contrast between tradition and modernity. In their work, the artists aim to find a balance between their traditional Emirati heritage, which they often portray by depicting animals from their family farm, and living in modern Dubai. Each of the artists emulate this experience of dualities by using ancient motifs from different cultures and rethinking them in a contemporary context.

Talal Al Najjar, PETRO-GHAREEBO: DUG, 2022. Plaster, polymer emulsion, polystyrene, gauze, acrylic, and inkjet prints. The Ahmanson Foundation Graduate Art Gallery / ArtCenter College of Design. Pasadena, CA, USA.

The manifestation of dual realities lies at the very core of both Talal and Ziad’s art practice. Both of them also draw their inspiration from their surroundings, particularly Dubai, where they grew up. However, the artists still maintain distinct individual practices.

Talal Al Najjar (b. 1999), who resides between Dubai and Los Angeles, USA, employs painting, drawing, sculpture, video, sound, CGI animation, and other types of mediums to explore a full range of subjects in unconventional ways. The themes Talal delves in as an artist include cultural heritage, society, history, youth, identity, and materiality. According to Talal’s own words, he “recontextualizes transhistorical material culture and imagery with an absurdist lens.” For example, in his NauseaScape video series, he constructs an alternate world by using virtual reality tours of Sharjah’s archaeological sites.

PETRO-GHAREEBO: N A U S E A, 2023. Talal Al Najjar’s Graduate Thesis exhibition. The Ahmanson Foundation Graduate Art “Cave” Gallery / ArtCenter College of Design Pasadena, CA, USA.

Ziad Al Najjar (b. 2001) lives and works between Dubai and Chicago, USA. In his art, he explores the complex relationship between humanity and the surrounding environment. He considers the connectedness between the natural, constructed and spiritual realms. Deeply inspired by the world of nature, his soft-coloured paintings depict floral, animalistic, and general abstract yet still organic shapes. The artist also draws from the Islamic miniature and incorporates its motifs in his works.

Ziad Al Najjar, Scavengers, 2022. Acrylic, oil pastel & mixed media on canvas. 59 2/5 × 40 1/5 in. | 151 × 102 cm.

To get more information about Symbiotic: Hyperreal, please visit the exhibition’s official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting the Almaz exhibition by Rima Chahine at Andakulova Gallery.