Catalogue - Gulf Art Guide



Catalogue - Gulf Art Guide
Hamra Abbas (Pakistan), The Woman in Black, 2011
Jananne Al-Ani (Iraq), Shadow Sites II, 2011
Nazgol Ansarinia (Iran), Rhyme & Reason, 2009
Kutluğ Ataman (Turkey), Strange Space, 2009
Kader Attia (Algeria), History of a Myth: The Small Dome of the Rock, 2010
Taysir Batniji (Palestine), To My Brother, 2012
Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Algeria), Walk on the Sky. Pisces, 2009
Shezad Dawood (Pakistan/India/UK), New Dream Machine Project, 2011
Hala Elkoussy (Egypt), Myths & Legends Room: The Mural, 2010
Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (Lebanon)
A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination, 2012
Nadia Kaabi-Linke (Tunisia), Flying Carpets, 2011
Timo Nasseri (Iran), Gon, 2011
Marwan Sahmarani (Lebanon), Feast of the Damned, 2010
Wael Shawky (Egypt), A Glimpse of Clean History, 2012
Risham Syed (Pakistan), The Seven Seas, 2012
Raed Yassin (Lebanon), China, 2012
Curators 2009 – 12
Selection Committee
Announced in 2008, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (ACAP) has completed
four editions to date, with sixteen commissioned artworks now part of
the Abraaj Capital Collection. The aim of the prize is to empower talented
artists from the vibrant MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia)
region with the resources to bring life to ambitious projects, which take
their practice to a new level.
It is the only prize that rewards proposals rather than completed works of
art or previous exhibitions, and gives artists the opportunity to work with
an internationally renowned curator, also selected by committee annually.
This collaboration allows them to tap the latest trends, while the prize gives
them a global platform to showcase their works and their region.
The prize reflects Abraaj Capital’s own investment philosophy, which is to
take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global
champions. Each year the new artworks are unveiled at Art Dubai, the
leading international contemporary art fair in the region.
As the collection grows, so do opportunities for our winning artists. We
have seen a surge in interest from leading institutions and biennials to
borrow works from our collection, and new artworks by our winning artists
are being acquired by important collections such as Centre Pompidou,
Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate, London. We were
particularly delighted to support our winning artists in the exhibition
‘Future of a Promise’ at the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice; ‘Shubbak: A
Window on Contemporary Arab Culture’, London (both 2011) and ‘Chkoun
Ahna’ at the National Museum of Carthage, Tunis (2012). These expositions
generated remarkable critical attention, a testament to the growing global
reach of our prize.
Each year the number of applications we receive from artists rises, with
a total of 838 completed proposals over the first five years. Each one of
these applications is supported by a recognized nominator familiar with
that artists’ practice and the necessary criteria. To date, we have had three
winners from Lebanon and Pakistan, two from Algeria, Egypt and Iran and
one from Iraq, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey.
I welcome you to learn more about the artworks which form our collection,
and join us at Art Dubai to see our next edition.
Frederic Sicre
Partner, Abraaj Capital
Hamra Abbas (b. 1976, Pakistan)
Woman in Black, 2011
Stained glass window, 3 panels, each 264 x 43 cm
Woman in Black depicts the iconic image of a fictional super-heroine. The
illustrations are reminiscent of Mogul miniature painting, but their form echoes
traditional stained glass. The interplay of light and dark serve as metaphors
for good and evil and are deliberately employed by Abbas to accentuate the
mysterious powers of the female figure, placed in the centre of a scene of
conflict, suggestive of the worldly realities of contemporary society.
Hamra Abbas was born in Kuwait and lives and works between
Lahore and Boston. She has a versatile practice that straddles
a wide range of media, although this was her first experiment
with stained glass. She uses culturally loaded imagery and
iconography, often in a playful manner. She is represented by
Green Cardamom, London and PILOT, Istanbul.
Jananne Al-Ani was born in Kirkuk, Iraq.
Working with photography, film and
video, she has a longstanding interest
in the power of testimony and the
documentary tradition, be it through
intimate recollections of absence and
loss or the exploration of more official
accounts of historic events. Al-Ani’s
photographic work is represented by
Rose Issa Projects, London.
Jananne Al-Ani (b. 1966, Iraq)
Shadow Sites II, 2011
Single channel digital video
Shadow Sites II is made up of images of a landscape bearing traces of natural and
man-made activity as well as ancient and contemporary structures. Seen from above,
Al-Ani’s film recreates the aerial vantage point of digital technology and satellite
navigation used by the military, and the accompanying soundtrack brings past events
which have forever scarred the ground to life. The film burrows into the landscape as
one image slowly dissolves into another.
Nazgol Ansarinia (b. 1979, Iran)
Rhyme and Reason, 2009
Carpet, handwoven wool, silk and cotton, 255 x 355 cm
In Rhyme and Reason the traditional motifs of the Persian carpet are replaced
with everyday scenes of contemporary life in urban Iran. Tehran is a multilayered and complex city, made up of many competing fragments co- existing
within one framework. Ansarinia’s unexpected imagery breaks up preconceived
notions or romanticised views of the orient.
Nazgol Ansarinia lives and works in Tehran. She works in a
variety of media, including installation, film, print and drawing.
Through careful observation of the everyday, her practice
reveals overlooked elements of social, physical and emotional
interactions within the framework of society. This was the first
larger scale piece she produced, and has subsequently gone
on to exhibit in international biennials. She is represented by
Green Cardamom, London.
Kutluğ Ataman (b. 1961, Turkey)
Strange Space, 2009
Video Projection from digital video loop
The artist is filmed while crossing a sulphurous desert with bare feet and
blind-folded eyes, inspired by folk tales typical of Mesopotamia in which
the hero, blinded by the love of the heroine, is condemned to wander in
the desert trying to find her, and eventually burst into flames when they
finally meet. Strange Space forms part of the first series of the multielement project Mesopotamian Dramaturgies which was first exhibited in
Linz as part of European Capital of Culture 2009.
Kutluğ Ataman is a filmmaker and contemporary artist. His early
works examine the ways in which people and communities create
and rewrite their identities through self-expression, blurring the
line between reality and fiction. His later works focus on history
and geography as man-made constructs. Ataman is represented by
Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Sperone Westwater, New York.
Kader Attia spent his childhood between
France and Algeria, and as he grew up
felt more intensely in between identities.
His work explores the impact of western
cultural and political capitalism on the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA),
as well as how a residual struggle
with colonisation impacts Arab youth,
particularly in the banlieues (suburbs)
of France where Attia lived. While each
new series employs different materials,
symbols and scale, Attia’s practice
continually returns to a sustained look at
the poetic dimensions and complexities
of contemporary life. He is represented
by Galerie Christian Nagel (Berlin and
Cologne) and Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna).
Kader Attia (b. 1970, Algeria)
History of a Myth: The Small Dome of the Rock, 2010
Multi-Media Installation
The artwork consists of a miniature sculpture comprised of two silver nuts and a brass
bolt. A camera captures its form which is then projected onto a large canvas increasing it
to many times its size, evoking an architectural representation of the Dome of the Rock in
Jerusalem. There is a mysterious, amplified sound of wind against the mosque’s esplanade
which is only illuminated by the striking projection on the canvas in the dark space.
Taysir Batniji (b. 1966, Palestine)
To My Brother, 2012
Hand Carvings from Photographs on Paper,
series of 60, each 42.5 x 32.5 cmn
Taysir Batniji studied art at Al-Najah
University in Nablus on the West Bank
from 1985-92. In 1994 he was awarded
a fellowship to study at the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts, Bourges, France, where
in 1997 he graduated with a DNSEP
(Higher National Diploma in Plastic
Expression). Since then he has divided
his time between France and Palestine,
developing an interdisciplinary practice
including drawing, painting, installation
and performance often closely related
to his heritage. He is represented by
Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut
and Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris.
Representing not just individual
but, in the broader case of
Palestine, wide-spread loss, the piece
quivers on the border of personal and
national tragedy.
In 1985 Taysir Batniji celebrated his brother’s wedding with his family in Gaza. Two years
later the First Intifada (1987-1993) broke out, and Batniji’s brother was killed by an Israeli
sniper on the 9th day of the uprising. Batniji has etched a series of 60 inkless “drawings”
on paper, based on family photos of his brother’s wedding, as a commemoration. This
very personal history ties into a wider political context of strife in the Middle East.
Zoulikha Bouabdellah (b. 1977, Algeria)
Walk on the Sky. Pisces, 2009
Mixed Media Installation, 6 x 6 x 3m
The installation Walk on the Sky. Pisces re-creates the celestial canopy for the
month of March. Viewers are invited to remove their shoes and walk directly on
the reflective, polished stainless steel floor, so that under their feet they see a
reflection of the system of LED lights on the ceiling which through an intricate
series of seventy-eight polygonal stars form the constellation Pisces. The viewers’
impression is that they are ‘walking on the sky’. The artist was inspired by the
Persian astronomer, Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (903 – 986) and his Book of Fixed
Stars. A second reference to Arab and Islamic sources is the deceptive stainless
steel floor, which recalls the story of the Queen of Sheba or Bilqis stepping on the
glass floor in the presence of King Solomon, believing it to be water.
Working in a broad range of media from video, installation and performance to
painting, drawing, and photography, Zoulikha Bouabdellah explores issues of national,
transnational, postcolonial and Arab cultural identity as well as more universal themes
of gender and religion. Bouabdellah was born in Moscow while
her parents were graduate students in documentary film and art
history. She soon moved back to her native Algiers where she
was frequently in the company of artists, spending time at the
Musée National des Beaux-Arts d’Alger, where her mother was
curator for ten years and director until 1994 when they were
forced to flee to Paris. Bouabdellah is now based in Casablanca,
Morocco and shows with Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai
and Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid.
Shezad Dawood was born in London and received
an MPhil in Fine Art Photography from the Royal
College of Art (2000 – 03) before gaining his
PhD from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008.
Dawood has a research based practice that
employs many different art forms. The evolution
of his work has become increasingly more
interdisciplinary and collaborative, as part of a
discursive interest in mapping territories through
narrative intersections between history, literature
and cultural appropriation. He is represented
by The Third Line, Dubai; Paradise Row, London;
Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai; Galleria Riccardo
Crespi, Milan; and Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam.
Piecing Brightness’, is his first retrospective,
travelling between Modern Art Oxford, Newlyn Art
Gallery & the Exchange (both UK) and KINOKINO
Centre for Art & Film, Norway (2012-13)
Shezad Dawood (b. 1974, India/Pakistan/UK)
New Dream Machine Project, 2011
Light Sculpture (brushed steel, florescent lights,
electronic motor) and 16mm film
A prototype Dream Machine was created in the early 1960s by the painter Brion Gysin
(1916-1986) upon his return to the UK from Morocco. Fabricated in Fez and the UK, in
homage to Gysin, Dawood’s kinetic light sculpture is designed to emit kaleidoscopic
light pulses similar in effect to alpha waves produced by the brain to induce states
of unconsciousness. An additional part of Dawood’s project is a concert featuring the
acclaimed Bedouin Master Musicians of Jajouka, who were the house band at Gysin’s
‘1001 Nights’ restaurant, which he opened in Tangiers in 1954 with the Moroccan painter
Mohamed Hamri. The concert also pays tribute to Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones’s
cult album Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka (1971) made after Jones was
introduced to the musicians whilst in Tangiers with Gysin and Hamri. Contemporary British
guitarist Duke Garwood plays the role of Jones, alongside the current ensemble of The
Master Musicians of Jajouka, led by Bachir Attar. Built using local craftsmen, in association
with the experimental art space L’appartement 22, the work makes manifest a network of
cultural, seemingly chance encounters spanning time and geography.
Hala Elkoussy (b. 1974, Egypt)
Myths and Legends Room: The Mural, 2011
48 framed colour photographs,10 x 4 m
The large-scale Myths and Legends Room: The Mural is an unexpected take on the mural
as a commemorative work of propaganda art, referencing wall paintings and dioramas
that celebrate the history of modern Egypt. Conceived and completed one year before
the events in Tahrir Square and the ensuing Egyptian Revolution, the piece is startlingly
anticipatory. In general, Elkoussy deals with modernisation as a loss of tradition, as well
as a challenge; to inscribe a sense of the past as contained in habits, traditions and
urban legends with the current visual language of film and photography.
Hala Elkoussy studied at the American University of Cairo (AUC) before
completing an MA in Image and Communication at Goldsmiths College,
University of London. In 2004, she co-founded the Contemporary Image
Collective, an artist-run initiative dedicated to the visual image based
in Cairo. Elkoussy’s work delves into the intimate and overlooked sides
of communal living to highlight underlying dynamics at play within the
complex urban structure that is Cairo.
The mural portrays a society in turmoil: a shrill photo-­
montage that cheerfully mixes myth and fact, homage
and critique, affection and distaste. We get a sharp sense of
the bustle and the bombast that colours present-­day Cairo.
The Egyptian capital is in the throes of revolution; yet this
piece predates the events of the Arab spring by a year.
Peter Aspden
Financial Times
For over a decade Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige have been collecting spam
and scam emails instead of automatically relegating them to the trash as most of us
do. These unsolicited emails pry on our empathy for monetary donations or promise
us easy-made fortunes. Originating often in countries where corruption is rife, these
emails are stories and documents rooted within specific historical and geo-political
moments. Said by non-professional actors, the stories become captivating because
they are told by what seems to be a “real” person.
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Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are artists and filmmakers. For
the last 15 years they have focused on the images, representations
and history of their home country, Lebanon. They have created
numerous photographic installations, are authors of numerous
publications and university lecturers in Lebanon and France. They are
represented by CRG Gallery, New York, In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris
and The Third Line, Dubai and live between Beirut and Paris.
Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (b. 1969, Lebanon)
A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination, 2012
Video Installation
Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b. 1978, Tunisia)
Flying Carpets, 2011
Chrome-plated aluminum, thread, 13 m wide, 4.4 m high
...the best art is enriched by its back
story but not dependent on it. Take
the work of Nadia Kaabi-Linke. Suspended
from the high-beamed ceiling of the medieval
warehouse that hosts Future of a Promise, the
Tunisian’s “Flying Carpets” (2011) comprises
two layers of skeletal, steel squares connected
by black cords. Possessing dazzling neoConstructivist purity, it holds the gaze long
before you know that its geometry originates
in the blankets – measured by KaabiLinke during a pre-Biennale sojourn
– laid out on Venetian bridges by illegal
African immigrants to display their
faux-luxury handbags.
Rachel Spence
Financial Times
Nadia Kaabi-Linke was born in Tunis to a Russian mother and Tunisian
father. She studied at the University of Fine Arts in Tunis (1999)
before receiving a PhD from the Sorbonne University in Paris (2008).
Her installations, objects and pictorial works are embedded in urban
contexts, intertwined with memory and geographically and politically
constructed identities. Kaabi-Linke is represented by Lawrie Shabibi,
Dubai and Green Cardomon, London.
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The image of the flying carpet has entered popular imagination as one of most
universally recognised symbols of the ‘orient’. Kaabi-Linke observed that hawkers
of mainly African, Arab or South Asian descent use carpets to bundle together their
counterfeit goods in order to flee detection from the authorities on the streets of
Venice, Italy. The artist’s installation gives this socio-political predicament expression.
In her work, geometric metal forms, derived from stencil outlines of the hawker’s
carpets, are suspended by cascades of hanging thread. Taking the form of a bridge, Il
Ponte del Sepolcro found in Venice, the work hovers in space like a floating cage.
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Timo Nasseri (b. 1972, Iran)
Gon, 2011
Stainless steel, 567 x 230 x 300 cm
Gon takes its name from the Greek and German words for a unit of
measurement used to calculate angles within a circle. Formed of a rhombus
created by two isosceles triangles, the stainless steel sculpture recalls
muqarnas, ornamentation made from small pointed niches stacked in
tiers widely used in medieval architecture in north-eastern Iran and North
Africa. From afar the work calls to mind Russian Constructivism through
a combination of its material properties (faktura) and its spatial presence
(tektonika). Up close however, the rhythmic network of the 88 heat-sealed
pipes are inspired by the geometric drawings of the Swiss mathematician
Jakob Steiner. Like much of the artist’s work, the sculpture gives expression
to the quantitative logic of systems that exist across cultures and history,
and the inherent, yet uncanny, beauty that results from their intersection.
Timo Nasseri has a German mother and an Iranian father.
He began his artistic career as a photographer, and in 2004
he made the transition to creating sculpture. Combining
Islamic and western cultural heritages, his work is inspired
as much by specific memories and religious references as
by universal archetypes described by mathematics and
language, and the inner truths of form and rhythm. He is
represented by Galerie Schleicher+Lange, Paris and SfeirSemler, Hamburg and Beirut.
Marwan Sahmarani (b. 1970, Lebanon)
Feast of the Damned, 2010
Paintings, drawings, ceramics, projection, 9 x 5.5 x 3.5 m
Feast of the Damned is an installation, taking as references
scenes from the Book of Revelation. Sahmarani was inspired
by a multitude of sources throughout western art and literary
history such as Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy (130821), Peter Paul Rubens’ Hell: Fall of the Condemned Ones,
Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), Pablo Picasso’s Guenica (1937)
and Jake and Dinos Chapman’s contemporary take on Goya’s
The Disasters of War (1999, original 1810-20). The heart of
his research and engagement was with the Renaissance and
Baroque periods, and at a first glance the themes and style
of Feast of the Damned may seem somewhat removed from
today’s Arab context. However Sahmarani’s practice is clearly
preoccupied by the political, social and cultural realities
of the Arab region and in particular his native Lebanon.
He explores a discourse of evil, violence and control
which remains relevant today. The result is a poignant and
intimately humane artwork of universal resonance.
Marwan Sahmarani was born in Lebanon and lives and works in
Beirut. With an archetypal biography specific to his generation, he left
Lebanon in 1989 and moved to Paris to study at l’École Supérieur d’Art
Graphique. His practice often makes historical reference to art history
and socio-political issues that are still very present in the Middle East
but inspired by themes that are timeless. He is represented by Kaysha
Hildebrand, Zurich and Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai.
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Wael Shawky (b. 1971, Egypt)
A Glimpse of Clean History, 2012
Sculpture, ceramics, wood & velvet
The crusades are a prime historical example of a time in
transition, of ideological and global expansion. A Glimpse
of Clean History takes as its starting point a painting by
the preeminent French painter Jean Fouquet (1420-1481),
Urban II 1035-1099 preaching the crusade at Clermont
in the presence of King Philippe I 1053-1108 of France in
1095, which is thought to have led to the launch of the First
Crusade one year later, in 1096. In A Glimpse of Clean History
Shawky recreates the scene with a medieval marionette
theatre and ceramic dolls. The grand velvet drapes open
mechanically revealing the interior diorama – for one minute
– then close again. We are literally allowed only a glimpse of
history, which we know, due to its many manifestations over
time, can never be clean.
Wael Shawky studied fine art at the University of Alexandria before
receiving his M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. He
lives and works in Alexandria. In 2010 he launched MASS Alexandria,
the first Independent Studio Programme for young artists in the
city. Shawky has received international acclaim for his work as an
artist and filmmaker, his work largely explores transitional events in
society, politics, culture and religion in the history of the Arab world.
Wael Shawky is represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut.
Risham Syed (b. 1969, Pakistan)
The Seven Seas, 2012
7 Quilts:
Sri Lanka, 192 x 120 cm
Turkey, 198 x 121 cm
Bangladesh, 228 x 150 cm
Sind (Pakistan), 200 x 146 cm
Mumbai (Maharashtra), 98 x 190 cm
Preston, 98 x 123 cm
UAE, 105 x 170 cm
In The Seven Seas Risham Syed connects contemporary geopolitics with the 19th and early 20th Century cotton trade of
the British Empire. With fabric sourced from travels to Turkey,
Bangladesh, UAE, Sri Lanka, UK, India and within her native
Pakistan, Syed weaves the history of the location-specific craft
of textile production with tales of political resistance. All her
quilts depict 19th and 20th Century maps of various port cities
that were strategically located on colonial European trade
routes. The base material of all the quilts is cotton from Lahore,
covered in popular - mostly European – prints. The quilts
remind the audience that within a globalised world the past is
always threaded within the present.
the artist’s quilts are like collages of physical
materials, thoughts, ideas and memories٫
The Times of India
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Risham Syed’s practice critically focuses on the remains of cultural/
historical inheritance and its perceived authenticity in present-day
Pakistan, where she continues to live and work. She received a BFA in
Painting from the National College of Art, Lahore (1993) and an MA
from the Royal College of Art, London (1996). She is represented by
Talwar Gallery, New York.
Raed Yassin was born in Beirut and graduated from the theatre
department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003. An artist
and musician, his work often originates from an examination of his
personal narratives and their position within a collective history,
through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. Yassin’s
artwork is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki.
16 |
Raed Yassin (b. 1979, Lebanon)
China, 2012
7 Porcelain Vases
Lebanon has long struggled to come to terms with the
aftermath of its civil war (1975-1990). An absence of
historical narrative reigns in Lebanon in order to keep
a brittle peace. Raed Yassin has chosen an unorthodox
and innovative way of attempting to represent – ‘frieze’
as it were - important historical events of Lebanese
contemporary history. In China he shows seven Chinese
porcelain vases, produced at Jingdezhen – China’s capital
of porcelain. Depicting key battles of the Lebanese civil
war, amongst others the War of the Hotels (1975-1976),
the Battle for Tal al-Zaatar (1976), the Israeli invasion of
Beirut (1982) and the so-called War of Liberation (1989).
These vases are part-beautiful object, part-historical
document, and part-mass-produced product. They echo
the ancient tradition of recording victories at battle on
vases and ceramics for the sake of posterity, as well as a
domestic decorative readymade that can easily be found
in any Lebanese home.
Guest Curators 2009 - 12
Mahita El Bacha Urieta (b. 1976, Lebanon/Spain/UK)
Mahita El Bacha Urieta is a curator, producer and arts policy specialist
based between London and Abu Dhabi. She has been active in
the Middle East, working with the Sharjah Biennial (2004-07)
and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH). She
collaborated with Marwan Sahmarani on his ambitious Feast of the
Damned in 2010, and went on to select Sahmarani as one of the
artists for the Thessaloniki Biennale (2011) which she co-curated.
Jelle Bouwhuis (b. 1965, The Netherlands)
Jelle Bouwhuis proposed Hala Elkoussy’s project Myths and Legends
Room: the Mural for the ACAP in 2010. Bouwhuis is an art historian,
critic, writer and curator and since 2006 has worked for Stedelijk
Museum in Amsterdam where he is responsible for the programme
of exhibitions, publications and residences. He also manages the
activities of the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, a project space in the city
Leyla Fakhr (b. 1979, Iran)
Leyla Fakhr is an independent curator and an assistant curator
at Tate Britain. She previously worked at the Tehran Museum of
Contemporary Art and in 2006 curated ‘Untitled (do not give your
opinion)’ an exhibition of works by Nazgol Ansarinia, which forged
their friendship and collaboration which led Fakhr & Ansarinia to
apply for ACAP in 2009. She studied in Tehran and London, where
she received her MA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, University
of London in 2006.
Laurie Ann Farrell (b. 1970, US)
Laurie Ann Farrell is Curator and Executive Director of Exhibitions
for the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which operates
galleries in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, Lacoste in France and in
Hong Kong. From 1999 to 2007 Farrell was Curator of Contemporary
Art at the Museum for African Art in New York. Her research for the
past six years has focused on artistic dialogue and contemporary art
practices in the MENA region, in particular the impact of colonialism,
immigration and cultural tradition on contemporary art. She invited
Kader Attia on a residency at SCAD in 2009 and curated the
exhibition ‘Signs of Reappropriation’ which led to her applying for
ACAP with his work the following year.
Nat Muller (b. 1974, The Netherlands)
Nat Muller is an independent curator and critic based in Rotterdam.
Her main interests include the intersections of aesthetics, media and
politics, media art and contemporary art in and from the Middle East.
She has held staff positions at V2_Institute for Unstable Media in
Rotterdam and De Balie, Centre for Arts & Politics in Amsterdam, and
taught in academies and universities across Europe and the Middle
East. Muller conceived the curated exhibition ‘Spectral Imprints’
for the fourth edition of ACAP, working with Taysir Batniji, Joana
Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Wael Shawky. Risham Syed and Raed
Yassin. She collaborated with Huda Smitshuijzen Abifares on the
exhibition and book design.
With poetic majesty and keen insight, the exhibition
describes art's sieve-like relationship of the past to the
present. It shows how artists continue to struggle to make
sense of the world, a struggle made all the more difficult by
the fragility of personal and collective memory. Perhaps the
real value of Spectral Imprints lies in reminding us of those
moments when contemporary art does acknowledges art of
James Scarborough, Huffington Post
the past.
Sharmini Pereira (b. 1970, Sri Lanka)
Sharmini Pereira is the director and founder of Raking Leaves, a notfor-profit independent publisher of artists’ book projects and special
editions, now regularly funded by the Arts Council England. Since
1999 she has worked internationally as an independent curator and
writer. In 2006 she co-curated the first Singapore Biennale. She lives
and works in London and Columbo and was Guest Curator for ACAP
2011. She produced the specially commissioned book ‘Footnote to a
Project’designed by OK-RM, which is a collection of images, citations
and references that support and inform the creation of the five artworks.
Cristiana Perrella (b. 1965, Italy)
Cristiana Perrella was curator of the Contemporary Arts Program at the
British School at Rome for ten years until 2008. She first came across
Kutluğ Ataman’s work ?Semiha Unplugged in 1997 and has followed
his career ever since, regularly including him in shows and inviting
him for a residency program at the British School in Rome, leading her
to apply for ACAP2009 with his work Strange Space, 2009. She went
on in 2010 to curate Kutluğ Ataman ‘Mespotamian Dramaturgies’ at
the new National Museum of 21st Century Arts (MAXXI).
Carol Solomon (b. 1953, U.S.)
Art historian and curator Carol Solomon is currently Visiting
Associate Professor of Art History at Haverford College, Pennsylvania.
From 2002-2008 she was Curator of European Art at the Mead Art
Museum, Amherst College, Massachusetts, worked at the Museum of
Fine Arts in Boston and has taught at several prestigious universities
in the U.S. and Canada. In 2008 Dr. Solomon curated an exhibition
The Third Space: Cultural Identity Today, which included works by
Zoulikha Bouabdellah who she had met in Paris in 2007. She went
on to propose the project Walk on the Sky. Pisces for ACAP 2009.
Curator: Laura Egerton
Selection Committee
Chair: Savita Apte
Antonia Carver
Director, Art Dubai, Dubai (2009- ongoing)
Dana Farouki
Patron, Dubai (2012- ongoing)
Ali Khadra
Publisher & Editor in Chief, Mixed Media Publishing, Dubai (2009- ongoing)
Glenn Lowry
Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012- ongoing)
John Martin
former Director, Art Dubai & Gallery owner. London (2009-11)
Salwa Mikdadi
Executive Director, The Emirates Foundation, Abu Dhabi (2012- ongoing)
Jessica Morgan
Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate, London (2012- ongoing)
Elaine Ng
Editor, Art Asia Pacific, Hong Kong (2009- ongoing)
Julia Peyton-Jones
Director Serpentine Gallery, & Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes,
London (2012-ongoing)
Daniela da Prato
Art consultant, Paris (2009-11)
Maya Rasamny
Patron, London (2009-11)
Frederic Sicre
Partner, Abraaj Capital (2009-ongoing)
Exhibition Venues of ACAP artworks
Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai (2009-12)
Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (2009, 2010, ongoing)
Maraya Arts Centre, Al Qasba, Sharjah, UAE (2009 works in 2010)
Celebration of Entrepreneurship, Madinat Jumeirah (Nazgol Ansarinia, 2010)
Museum of Arts & Design, New York, (2009 & 2010)
‘Sacred Spaces’, Galleria Civica di Moderna, Moderna, Italy (Kader Attia, 2010)
‘The Future of a Promise’, Official collateral exhibition of the 54th Venice Biennale,
Venice (Jananne Al-Ani & Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 2011)
City Hall, London (Hala Elkoussy, 2011)
MAXXI, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (Kutluğ Ataman, 2010)
ARTHR, Istanbul (Kutluğ Ataman, 2011)
‘Intense Proximity’, La Triennale, Palais De Tokyo, Paris (Joana Hadjithomas &
Khalil Joreige, 2012)
‘Piercing Brightness’, Modern Art Oxford, Newlyn Art Gallery & the Exchange and
KINOKINO Centre for Art & Film, Norway. (Shezad Dawood, 2012-13)
‘Chkoun Ahna’, National Museum of Carthage, Tunis (Kader Attia & Hala Elkoussy,
‘Topographies de la Guerre’, Le Bal, Paris (Jananne Al-Ani, 2011)
Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (Jananne Al-Ani, 2012)
Arthr M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C.
(Jananne Al-Ani, 2012-3)
Museum of Contemporary Anthropology, Vancouver (Nazgol Ansarinia, 2013)
‘Cairo. Open City: New Testimonies from an Ongoing Revolution’, Museum of
Photography, Braunschweig, travelling to the Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (Hala
Elkoussy, 2013)
Photographs courtesy:
Richard Allenby-Pratt, Thomas Brown, Duncan Chard, Jeroen Kramer,
Alex Maguire, Max Milligan, Vipul Sangoi, the Artists, Curators, ACAP
Abraaj Capital Limited
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