5 Questions with Samira Abbassy

Interview. Redemptive Narratives and Migrating Patterns, Samira Abbassy’s second solo at XVA Gallery in Dubai, is made up of early works on paper dating from Departed Lover in 2002, to recent diptychs on gesso panel and paper. I reached the artist in New York during a ferocious electric storm that made the phone line crackle unpredictably asContinue reading

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A Certain Shade of Blue: In the studio with cornerstone Emirati painter Abdul Qader Al Rais

ARTIST PROFILE: Dubai, UAE. “Drinking from a glass of juice made from mangos heavy on the trees of his own garden, Abdul Qader Al Rais perches on a red leather chair in his home studio, where completed paintings lean against every possible surface, spilling out into the French Rococo-inspired foyer. Behind him is a half-finishedContinue reading

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A Cultivated Obsession: Four of the region’s most groundbreaking female collectors open up to Vogue Arabia, revealing anything but blank walls

Can you buy art based on an algorithm for financial investment? “Sure, just like you can buy a car,” jokes Myrna Ayad, director of Art Dubai. “But that takes so much fun and enlightenment out of the process. Buying art can be financially beneficial, but I would much rather subscribe to buying art being beneficialContinue reading

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A Heart for Culture: HE Huda AlKhamis-Kanoo has dedicated her life to supporting artists

FEATURE. At the end of an overscheduled Wednesday in the midst of Berlin Art Week, Her Excellency Huda Ebrahim Alkhamis-Kanoo arrives breathless to our interview. The din of dealers hobnobbing with artists and collectors over espressos in a packed hotel lobby adds a degree of timeliness to our discussion. “There is something I must tell you,”Continue reading

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A Woman’s Worth: Meet the determined women behind the Abolish 153 lobbying to end honor killings in Kuwait

“We need to change the notion that a woman is a man’s property. We need to disassociate the idea that there is any honor in murder. The shame is on the murderer himself, not on the woman,” says Sheikha Lulu M. Al Sabah. The outspoken Kuwaiti is at the forefront of driving this change. SheContinue reading

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Architectural Digest Portfolio: Bohemian Rhapsody

INTERIORS. Beirut fashion photographer Tarek Moukaddem’s converted shoe factory blends old world flavour with warehouse edge. “Both my work and my home are organized chaos, but there is harmony hidden within,” says, Tarek Moukaddem. In much the same way that the boundary pushing fashion photographer, draws out the sculptural beauty of unconventional faces from behindContinue reading

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And I, Will I Forget? Manal Al Dowayan

GALLERY TEXT: DUBAI, UAE. “Where does a memory go after it has left the lips of the living? Does it disappear into the atmosphere like a thin rain? Is it assigned a serial number then stored by a divine keeper of time in a secret safe deposit box, to be retrieved in the future byContinue reading

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Architect of Dreams: Ziad Raphael Nassar designs fantastical weddings that are the stuff of fairy tales

FEATURE. “I am a good listener, a kind of psychiatrist even,” says the Beirut-based wedding designer Ziad Raphael Nassar who likes to envision a couple’s dynamic even before envisioning the setting for an event. “Most people will speak a certain way about themselves, but in the end they are not like that. I often goContinue reading

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artnet Opens its Inaugural Sale of Contemporary Middle Eastern Art

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE. The New York-based online platform artnet opened its inaugural sale of Contemporary Middle Eastern Art earlier this month. In some ways this first thoughtfully curated sale plays it safe with lots by some surefire darlings of Middle Eastern art— including ‘Transparent Body’ a rare 2013 oil on panel from a particularly successful series byContinue reading

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Beyond The Threads: HRH Princess bint Majid Abdul-Aziz Al Saud’s Art of Heritage Initiative reinvigorates Saudi traditional dress while empowering women to earn income

Feature. The Saudi female thobe HRH Princess Basma bint Majid bin Abdul-Aziz AlSaud is wearing is her own adaptation of a classic original, and she moves in it with the kind of effortless confidence reserved for a woman who feels at home in her own body and life. “The people who say that traditional dress inhibitsContinue reading

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Botanist of Letters: Wissam Shawkat

CATALOGUE TEXT: The ability to read Arabic is irrelevant when it comes to appreciating Wissam Shawkat’s work. While traditional calligraphy embellishes a text or verse, the pieces comprising Inside/Outside, the artist’s first show at XVA Gallery in Dubai, do not contain prescriptive written messages. When encountered out of context, it might not even occur toContinue reading

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Dubai By Way of SoHo: The Middle East Art Scene Makes for an Exhibit of New York Lore

Review. International press loves to dismiss Dubai as a soulless place devoid of local culture and invested instead in yachts, luxury malls, camel racing, and cheap labor. Just a few miles from the touristy glitz, however, a strong and stable art scene lies in the industrial area of Al Quoz, where artists have been testing conventionsContinue reading

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Ghada Amer on Embroidery and Default Beauty

“I want to show that women have been suppressed. Sewing helps me to articulate this problem.” Ghada Amer discusses embroidery, mainstream beauty and creating ceramics with her unfamiliar left hand. Images of suggestively-posed white women looted from men’s porn magazines are the starting point for Ghada Amer’s embroidery paintings on canvas. Needle and thread, traditionally consideredContinue reading

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Henna Girls and Heavyweights

Hassan Hajjaj is probably the only artist to ever blow off Louis Vuitton’s invitation to collaborate. And it’s not because he doesn’t respect the label. In fact, it’s because he likes it a little too much. To understand why, we’ve got to take it back to the late 80s when Hajjaj, an immigrant from Larache,Continue reading

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