Nadia Ayari’s Bathroom Selfies At Art Dubai

Right before the Art Dubai press conference I spontaneously scarfed down breakfast with visiting artist Nadia Ayari, who I’d interviewed via email earlier in the year. It was hilarious how I ran into her—I asked a stranger for directions and it turned out to be this refreshingly outspoken, irreverent artist I’d interviewed via email last year about her show at The Third Line.

We were both on tight deadlines and sat side by side at Dome Café in Madinat Jumeirah, typing away with chipped nails, downing coffee like truck gasoline, and sneaking in blunt commentary about the food, art, Brooklyn, and art fairs.

Nadia Ayari, Tongue (Courtesy of the artist and the Third Line). Previous work.

Nadia Ayari, Tongue (Courtesy of the artist and the Third Line). Previous work.

Nadia was selected as one of 5 artists for the Artist in Residence program at Al Fahidi (I’ll be posting about that soon), and had spent three months working out of a historic villa, complete with wind tower. Two of her frescoes appear as part of Art Dubai Projects and I’ll write about the artistic process behind them a little more next week when I cover the AIR program in an interview with Curator Ipek Ulusoy Akgul.

Here’s the funny part about Nadia’s project at Art Dubai: her work is displayed in the bathrooms! They are hung in such a way that they can really only be properly appreciated by looking in the mirror at yourself, quite possibly a jab at our self-interested culture. Quite appropriately they are titled Selfie Booth, WC. Naughtily, it’s even encouraged to cross into the highly taboo zone of the opposite gender’s bathroom to appreciate the full project.

My first and last selfie in the Art Dubai bathroom. Nadia Ayari's "Selfie Booth WC" is behind me. I wasn't bold enough to sneak into the men's room to see the other fresco.

My first and last selfie in the Art Dubai bathroom. Nadia Ayari’s “Selfie Booth WC” is behind me. I wasn’t bold enough to sneak into the men’s room to see the other fresco.

I am violently opposed to snapping selfies. I adore a number of other bloggers who are regular addicts and do not judge, but I’m just not that into photos of myself. I think other people are a lot more interesting. Nadia, girl you forced me to take my first and last selfie!