Aisha Alabbar Gallery presents Unframed, a solo exhibition by Nujoom Alghanem. Gathering for the first time her paintings and a new series of photographic film stills, the show highlights key moments of Nujoom’s long career as an artist, poet, and filmmaker. The show will end on 26 May, 2023.
One of the exhibited works is Between Two Shores, a large acrylic and charcoal painting. It depicts eight white figures hovering over the orange water; the cityscape of Deira (red as if being in flames) serves as a background. Alghanem’s artworks are actually visual essays, and this painting is one such example. First manifested as something which pierced the artist’s heart, it made her feel compelled to write poetry and then turn it into a graphic manifestation. All Alghanem’s art pieces (paintings, poems, and films) share one core aspect: the sense of healing they give to her.
Among the displayed works are also paintings made in the 1990s. Small in size, painted with earthy colours, and intriguing in terms of composition, many of them were created when Alghanem was studying in the USA. Taking a number of different electives, she got deeply fascinated with African masks, history, mysticism, mythology, and “the anthropological aspect of things”: it is clearly visible in her work.
In the exhibition, visitors have a chance to look at Alghanem’s photographs for the first time: they are stills from her films with handwritten verses of her own poetry. Bringing together the written word and a still from the moving image, she raises a question: does one read the text and understand the image, or do they see the image and understand the text?
About the artist
Nujoom Alghanem (b. 1962, Dubai, the UAE) is a renowned Emirati poet, artist, scriptwriter, and film director who resides where she was born. In 1996, Alghanem graduated from Ohio University (USA) with a Bachelor degree in Video Production. In 1999, she received her MA in Media Production at School of Film, Griffith University (Australia).
Alghanem has published 8 poetry books and produced around twenty films (short fiction, art films, and both short and length documentaries). She has founded Nahar Productions, a film production company in Dubai; she also works as a film instructor and film, media, and cultural consultant.
Alghanem’s art has been displayed in multiple solo and group shows, such as Malamih – Faces, Phantoms, Expressions, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE (2021); Passage, UAE National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2019); Mind the Gap, Tashkeel, Dubai, UAE (2017); Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play, UAE National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2017); MinD/Body, Gallery of Light at DUCTAC, Dubai, UAE (2013); and others.
Seven of her films (Sharp Tools; Honey, Rain and Dust; Sounds of the Sea; The Young Fighter; Hamama; Almureed) have won numerous regional and international awards including Best Feature Documentary in the Gulf, Emirates Film Competition from Abu Dhabi International Film Festival ( 2008); Special Jury Prize, Dubai International Film Festival (2010); First Prize, Gulf Film Festival, Dubai (2011); Best Director, GCC Film Festival, Doha, Qatar (2012); First Prize, GCC Film Festival, Kuwait (2013); and many others.
To learn more about the Unframed exhibition, please visit its official web page.
You may also be interested in visiting Notations on Time.