Archive for April, 2011

Huda Lutfi : Zan’it Al Sittat


The Third Line presents a solo exhibition of works by Huda Lutfi at Sultan Gallery, Kuwait. Zan’it Al-Sittat is an exploration into concepts and representations of femininity that proliferate through various channels in Egyptian culture at large.

Both historian and artist, Lutfi is a bricoleur. She collects disparate iconic images and manipulates them to re-invent her vision of Egyptian culture, its histories and events. In doing so, Lutfi simultaneously comments on the political relevance of her social context, lifting old feminine icons from history and giving them new life by re-contextualising historic time lines, creating hybridised, timeless female figures.

The exhibition borrows its title from an existing market place in Alexandria, Zan’it Al-Sittat, where women are found in large numbers, and which literally means the space where women are squeezed together. This title is used conceptually to allude critically to the situation of women in Egyptian as well as other cultures at large, and how their social movement is prescribed in the public space. One feminine icon predominates in this market space, the Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum, who is reconstructed not only as an Egyptian icon but as a universal feminine icon as well.

Known for constructing the feminine archetype through juxtaposing the ancient goddesses of Mesopotamia, Egypt and India with the more “modern” goddesses such as the Mona Lisa, Umm Kulthum, Tahiyya Karyokka, the artist’s mother or aunts, Lutfi captures the women’s emotions, their sexuality and experiences in order to simultaneously celebrate femininity and expose the cultural restrictions imposed upon it. Her work attempts to “frame” women in order to create new arrangements of contemporary iconography and cultural representations.

Lutfi’s work is about revisiting the archives of the past and the present, and about manipulating objects and images to reinvent their cultural identity. As well as collage and painting, Lutfi also uses the ‘found and ready made objects’ in her installation work, usually sourced from rummaging through old artefacts and discarded items in Cairo’s markets, factories and antique shops. Her previous work has often included old statues, plastic dolls, broken chair legs and crystals from broken chandeliers to reconstruct her urban cultural context. Lutfi’s work has a strong archival feel to it, as old and modern icons sit side by side, layer upon layer, constructing a historical dialogue between them.

About Huda Lutfi
Huda Lutfi works like an urban archaeologist, constantly digging up found objects and images as loaded fragments of history. She then re-packages them using bricolage and collage as interceptive strategies. Recognizable objects, images and icons are hijacked, re-contextualized and made to tell a different story, playing on collective memory and shared iconography, Lutfi uniquely blurs cultural timelines and boundaries in her work. Multi-layered and playful, Lutfi is known to work with a wide range of media, collage, installations, assemblages, and more recently with photomontage.
Trained as a cultural historian and, with her second career as an artist, Lutfi emerged as one of Egypt’s most notable contemporary image-makers. She received her Doctorate in Islamic Culture and History from McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1983), and has been teaching at the American University in Cairo. Drawing upon the historical, cultural and local experiences and traditions of Egyptian society, she began exhibiting her artwork in the mid-1990s. She has exhibited locally and internationally, with acquisitions in Paris, London, The Hague, Virginia, Indianapolis, Amman, Bahrain, Dubai and Cairo.  Lutfi currently lives and works in Cairo.

Hamad AlSaab & Ali Sultan : Reminiscing Kuwait II: A Tale of a Country.


The second installment of the Reminiscing Kuwait series launched in December 2007 will be held at Sultan Gallery on April 18th, 2011.

The collection features mixed media paintings with the subject Kuwait and Arabic culture in the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as video installations. Hamad & Ali’s aim is to bring back memories of the past and conserve them for the future generations. The art work presented by Hamad & Ali invites the viewer to experience history and Arabic traditions from a playful and yet very detailed point of view. Using the history as a path to the future the artists’ work involved many contemporary and traditional painting techniques combined with digital imagery and photography.

The Kuwaiti artist Hamad Al Saab and the German Iraqi artist Ali Sultan started their collaboration in 2006 focusing on digital artwork on canvas using iris print and silkscreen. From there, the work evolved and included calligraphy, acrylics, silk paint, apoxy, Swarovski crystals, stencils and different transfer techniques. Hamad & Ali’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and in collective art shows in Doha (Qatar) and the UAE and is been collected by many art appreciators in the Middle East as well as in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and South America.

Further this year Hamad & Ali’s eighth solo exhibition will be held at Lahd Gallery in London on May 26th, 2011.

Monira Al Qadiri : The Tragedy of Self


Exhibition concept:

When defining the temperament of recent times, the concept of the ‘Self’ is an important one. The Self is taught to be glorified and worshipped; creating a system that can render one indifferent to others. During this process, one can become more and more isolated from the world, coming to experience certain emptiness: an emptiness that arises from the futile attempt of attaining an idealized version of self.

In this series of works, this tragic cycle of narcissism is expressed through the use of photographic self-portraits; many of them being saint-like and androgynous, with melancholic expressions, fragmented into many parts. By actively participating in the conceptual structure of her work, the artist wishes to convey that she too is not outside the cycle, reinforcing the sense of vulnerability by posing herself as the tragic subject.

About the artist:

Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti artist born in Senegal in 1983. For the past ten years she has been living in Japan where she studied fine arts and completed her PhD at Tokyo University of Arts. This exhibition will be her first solo show in Kuwait since she left for Japan, and is a culmination of her work from the past two years.