Archive for the ‘Events’ category

Arwa Abouon – Honolulu


Honolulu translates as ‘Land of Pearls’ in Arabic, or literally ‘Here are Pearls’. This land that is often described as ‘Heaven on Earth’ establishes a final meeting place where we are promised a reunion with our deceased loved ones. For some, the attainment of Paradise remains a myth, but for others it instills hope and provides motivation to redress wrongs. This show represents both the coming to terms with the landscape of the unknown and embracing its faith counterpart.

Heaven cannot be attained without our time here on Earth.

‘Il est minuit à Tokyo, il est cinq heures au Mali,

Quelle heure est-il au paradis ?’ – Manu Chao

P.B.U.H. Series

“When I utter this name, I am reminded of a profound story. I must come to know and declare his name sincerely, meditatively and honorably, as this man remains the subject of poetry to hope for people finding faith once more. As he is sacred, we wish peace upon him”. The P.B.U.H. (Peace Be Upon Him) series depicts various transliterations used in North Africa, Asia, the Middle East and internationally of our Prophet Muhammad – He is to be emulated with the utmost care in order to attain our own true natures and to connect as a whole to humanity and then ultimately to God.

The Practice of Paradise

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there”. – Rumi

The Practice of Paradise studies the issue of the legalization of different modes of Islamic dress in Western society and considers the Islamic tradition of guarding outward expressions. This work presents approaches of veil vs. face coverings vs. smiling vs. laughing expressions in such practices that encourage attaining individual self-discipline.

This instillation raises a political matter but negates it and focuses on our internal state first in order to be able to further discuss the debates we confront in this world. “Improving one’s internal affairs is likely to create a more positive outlook and result in self-awareness; this then results in individual preparedness to seek harmony from difference and to be better able to dialogue comprehensively”.

“Smiling and laughing, covering and veiling, are validations for various people. As Muslims, we are encouraged to be moderate in order to prosper”.


Pathways Series 

Allah (swt) says: “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” Hadith Qudsi.

“Each of our life Pathways are different, but they are embedded into our experiences as important awakenings that lead us toward a path of self-knowledge. Growing up in the West, I have come to know of faith without force. This open opportunity to embrace faith has allowed me to mature alongside it. I surrendered to the heights of my faith and allowed my pathways to fall into place naturally. And this dual freedom and surrender has let me see my life as functioning within a divine dependence”.

This series of collagraphs (ink-less embossing on somerset paper) one of the various mediums used to depicts different stylized Islamic arches that symbolize an imprint made on our individual lives. The four larger arches are composed of an abstract graphic watercolor motif that represents the unknown that each of us encounter on our unique pathways. 

(video) Believers look up – take courage. The angels are nearer than you think. – Billy Graham

 “Angels are the guardians which facilitate one’s attainment of complete faith. Through our respective experiences, they travel alongside us on this journey of life. It is Angels that will receive us at the gates that people of faith devoutly strive to enter”.

In this video installation I allow the wind to dictate where these Angels may be. In particular, the Angel Mikaael is he who is responsible for directing the rain and winds according to the will of God. These garments symbolize the committed presence of Angels and encourages the viewer to meditate on the notion that the divine manifests around us at all times.

(photo series by my father, circa 1960’s)

Remember that this is only a temporary physical disconnect – one where he no longer has to suffer the ills of this world.  – Eiman Ahmed Zarrug

Born in Tunisia in 1940, Arwa’s father paved his way through life by way of education. From a small town in the south, her father received a scholarship to attend the most prestigious college in the capital city, Lycée Carnot. After completing his degree he received additional opportunities to continue to study abroad in Europe and in Canada. He decided  to set out for the Americas.

“Canadian society proved to be very different for him and the university was overwhelming. However, he perservered and with the support of a student affairs officer he continued to accomplish great feats in his studies and later in his career. From a young boy who fought with his older brother for candlelight in order to study to a man who brought to his children opportunities he was never given, my father strove to deliver brighter futures for us all. Canada is now his final resting place and it is fitting given that this soil has provided us with rights we would not have received in our native homeland”.

My father had an interest in documentation and performance with strong realistic storylines. In Tunisia, he collected black and white portraits and postcards of famous movie stars like Shirley Maclaine to Harry Belafonte. He would also regularly attend the cinema. The series of images in this study are self-portraits that my father took during his time at Université de Montréal. He had joined the photography club and documented his school life and he’d set up the camera with lights to reenact scenes at his host family’s home to send back to his own family. These lighthearted reenactments show my father in scenes that depict an enthusiastic young man’s journey exploring a new cultural environment and slowly building his place in the world.

This series honours her father and his inspiring life. Mustafa Muhammad Abouon, 1940-2013.

Ghadah AlKandari – Secretary


Ghadah Alkandari’s solo show Secretary is a visual account of the artist’s last six months leading to October 2014. As with many of her exhibitions, this collection is a series of journal-based drawings grouped into three main installations. A dynamic show, Alkandari hopes to entice visitors with the promise of touching, organizing and re-organizing her work. After all, a secretary’s job is never done.



Ghadah Alkandari is an artist and blogger living and working in Kuwait. She was born in India in 1969. She has had numerous solo exhibitions in Kuwait. She has also participated in several group exhibitions locally and internationally, the most recent of which was the Arab Culture in Diaspora exhibition in Kuwait. Other notable group exhibitions include Femmes Artistes Du Koweit at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris in 2006, Approaches to Figurative Practices at the Third Line Gallery, Dubai in 2007 and 2010 JAMM Contemporary Art Auction in Kuwait. In 2014, she exhibited her work at the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art’s Project Space.




Roberto Lopardo – Mappings



(In collaboration with Cuadro Gallery, Dubai)

The exhibition displays selected works from The Mappings Project by Cuadro Gallery artist, Roberto Lopardo: Mapping Latitude 45 Longitude 123 and Mapping Kuwait.

The Mappings Project engages the artist in a photographic experience in which one photograph is taken every minute continuously during a 24-hour period resulting in a total of 1,440 images. The photographic residue, presented as a monolithic grid, is sequentially ordered in 24 rows (one row per hour), with each row containing 60 columns (one column per minute). Each project, which is captured in a different location, results in a singular work of art.

Mapping Latitude 45 Longitude 123 began at the end of an overgrown dirt road in the middle of Yamhill County, Oregon, USA. The land was situated far from anywhere and left to its own methods things were growing and living as only they could. The first image was taken at 12PM on August 16th 2011. As the project unfolded and the ever-growing visual residue became manifest, infinite layers of repetition were recorded. Over and over again, the lines and light, the colors and textures repeated. Eventually, as the artist’s heart rate and eyesight settled into the new environment, what had originally appeared similar now became evidently different. By the design, the project ended where it started, since the way in was also the only way out.

Mapping Kuwait City began at sunrise at 5:21am on April 16th 2012 in the vicinity of the Kuwait Towers, a landmark that has come to symbolize the birth of modern Kuwait. As the collection of imagery multiplied, the seamless manner in which the city visually embraced its past while still welcoming its future became ever apparent. The images unearth older architectural gems that sit tranquilly aside chic modern day monuments to architecture. At times a street corner is turned and it appears as if the cacophony of visual input will forever undermine all sense of order but somehow Kuwait manages to keep returning to itself. It is a city in which things and places and people feel as if they have always sat comfortably next to one another — each playing their role in an ever-unfolding drama.


Roberto Lopardo was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1975. He carries a Masters of Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design, a teaching certificate from Brown University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Philosophy from Whitman College. Lopardo has been exhibited in many prominent venues including the RISD Museum, the US Consulate in Dubai, the Tenri Institute in New York, Video-Appart in Paris, and Emerson Gallery in Berlin. Lopardo has also curated several prominent emerging artist based exhibitions including No More [In] security, Basically Human, Rituals of Dinner, Sheep are Welcome, and Latent Discoveries. Roberto was recently awarded a New York University (NYU) research fellowship. Lopardo is represented by Cuadro Gallery, Dubai. 


Founded in 2008, Cuadro Gallery, located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), has quickly become one of the UAE’s premier post-modern and contemporary art venues. Cuadro Gallery maintains four key areas of focus: exhibitions, education, residency and consultation. Cuadro’s curated exhibitions provide audiences with an opportunity to experience diverse approaches to and executions of art. These exhibitions are enhanced by the Education Program at Cuadro, comprised of lectures, workshops and panel discussions that present an academic avenue through which to understand and participate in the evolving art market. The Residency at Cuadro offers a select group of artist’s studio space, accommodation, career mentoring and exhibition opportunities in the UAE. The artists, both local and international, are often also provided the opportunity to exhibit the work they have created at Cuadro at the end of their residency.

Cuadro also provides qualified art consultation services for its discerning collectors, building on existing collections and helping to establish new collections.

Through these initiatives, Cuadro maintains its commitment to dynamically engage the local and international art community.

The solo exhibition will remain open from 16 September – 9 October 2014.SONY DSC Mapping Lon. Lat.



Barry Iverson – The Tour


In “The Tour” photographer Barry Iverson delves into ambivalent truths and fantasies that the process of image-making can render real.

Playing with early photographic vernacular stemming from studio portraiture, glamorous cinematic gestures, Orientalist postcards and architectural records, this body of work is a highly personal documentation of a history both recent and deep, remembered and imagined; a projection of subjective memories on actual places.

–        The Townhouse Gallery, March 2014

Exhibition Dates :  13th May – 12th June 2014











Mai Al-Nakib : The Hidden Light of Objects – Reading and Book Signing


The headlines tell of war, unrest, and religious clashes.  But if you look beyond them you may see another side of life in the Middle East—adolescent love, yearnings for independence, the fragility of marriage, pain of the most quotidian kind.  Mai Al-Nakib’s short stories carefully trace overlooked moments in the lives of those who reside in this fraught region of the world—and the power of objects to hold extraordinary memories.

Mai Al-Nakib will read from The Hidden Light of Objects (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing 2014) and discuss the process of writing what celebrated author A. Manette Ansay has described as “the most original first collection of short fiction I have read in years.”  Reading to be following by book signing.

Mai Al-Nakib is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Kuwait University.  Her academic work deals primarily with cultural politics in the Middle East. The Hidden Light of Objects is her first collection of short stories.  She is currently writing her first novel.

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L’ESPRIT DU MUR is a concept and style of painting created by KRM, the French-German artist duo Chérif and Geza.


KRM is a French-German artist couple. Together they create imaginary walls on wood. Their concept and style ESPRIT DU MUR is a rebel, urban art, based on human tragedy and the complexity of existence.

The   ESPRIT   DU   MUR   reveals   a   portrait   of   city-life   and   freely   expresses   interior contradictions, suffering and joy. Their work is iconoclast, based on overlapping images, words and impulsive gests. Working with four hands on the same piece defines the duo’s working process and makes their confrontation authentic. The final result is an assembly of colour, emotions and different techniques. The work witnesses a contemporary actuality and treats social-political subjects and questions.

KRM and a running dog figure on each picture is their signum.

Exhibition Dates : 25th March – 24th April, 2014


IVAN: The Reconstruction of Narcissism


IVAN: The Reconstruction of Narcissism


4th – 27th February, 2014

IVAN: The Reconstruction of Narcissism, a debut composition by POWERHOUSE, explores the notion of using architecture and design as a vehicle for self-transformation by holding the design philosophy : “We are products of our products, therefore our products must reflect and encourage our own self development.” Rather than taking the approach from a conventional design perspective, POWERHOUSE brings artistic motivations to the fore, thus reconstituting the traditional role of the viewer from audience member to user.

Narcissism, as it is defined today, is a surrounded by a stigma of shallow self-obsession, discouraging true objective introspection. However, in their retelling of The Myth of Narcissus, POWERHOUSE imparts new potentiality on the ‘narcissistic condition’, expanding it to a state of revelation rather than one of self-infatuation. In this re-imagined, revelatory state, the water reflects a transcendent and transformed Narcissus, one free from external and internal compunction. This reconstruction presents narcissism as the acme of the human experience and as a product of complexity, rather than superficiality and obsession.

Each of the pieces encourage a stage of development through their individual characteristics, from form to function. The pieces Dither and Mull embolden the reconstructive process of narcissism, facilitating the users potential to develop. Adamantine and N+ stimulate the final stages of reconstruction, assisting the user’s culmination in this evolutionary process. The central piece of the environment, Ivan, serves as a division, or barrier of consciousness, by separating the pieces; urging the user to advance and progress. Together, the pieces serve to vitalize, and ease the user through the stages of this reconstructed narcissism.

The environment created is magnified by the implementation and focus on texture, specifically of those materials re-examined from the Kuwaiti industrial market. POWERHOUSE reintroduces outdated materials, which are the majority of what is currently available in this market, to create a hyper modern aesthetic while maintaining the practicality of function. Echo, an encompassing soundscape by Chicago’s The-Drum, completes the environment of IVAN – an experience which beseeches the viewer to seize the opportunity to reflect, to reverberate within one’s own interior long enough so that eventually, the deep, muddled desire to reconstruct our own reality grows as clear as our mirrored image.

POWERHOUSE is a composition initiative.

Nanu Al-Hamad (Al-Hamad Design) Kuwait / New York

Max Ketant (MEGA.DOPE.POP) Haiti / New York

Nanu Al-Hamad 

Nanu Al-Hamad is an award-winning industrial designer and artist.  His work as founder and Director of Design of the Al-Hamad Design Studio, a design firm focusing on high-end furniture, lighting, object design, and custom made pieces, is shaping a new movement in design.  He was awarded the 2012 A’ Design Award in Furniture for his modular Gibbous chair and ottoman. Working between west and east, Al-Hamad has shown work in Kuwait and New York. Additionally, Al-Hamad is a member of the arab gulf GCC art collective, who are showed this past fall at Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, Sultan Gallery in Kuwait, Project Native Informant in London, and Gallery Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler in Berlin.

Max Ketant 

Max Ketant is a New York based conceptual designer and creative director fusing elements of magic realism, mythology and graphic design. His work through MEGA.DOPE.POP. focuses on the use of fantasy narrative to resolve the contradiction between dream and reality. His most recent show SVN: Hi Fi created a new discourse in the art experience where he reimagined a living space as a movie set where in which viewers became active participants in the exhibition. With his iconographic art house MEGA.DOPE.POP. he intends to translate quantum mechanics into an aesthetic media that will create a global discussion on contemporary mythology through the use of design.

Monira Al Qadiri – Muhawwil (Transformer)


“Muhawwil” (Transformer)

Solo exhibition by Monira Al Qadiri

21st – 28th January, 2014


“Muhawwil” is a four-channel video installation based on Islamic figurative murals painted on electric power stations in Kuwait. These murals mark a transformation in religious discourse within Gulf societies where once only calligraphic depictions of this nature were allowed. Today’s pop-culture and mass-production of images have forced conservative entities to reconsider this tradition and take up a mutated technique to convey moral advice in the form of wall paintings. This project reconstructs these paintings into animation, so as to highlight the dilemma of representation that exists between the ancient and the modern.

This project was produced with the support of The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (AFAC).

About the artist:

Monira Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts. Her research is focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East, and her works explore the dysfunctional gender roles in Arab societies, as well as the displacement of cultural and religious identities.

She has held solo exhibitions in Japan & Kuwait, and participated in collective exhibitions and screenings in Dubai, Beirut, New York, London, Berlin, Paris & Shanghai among others. She is also a member of the artist collective GCC.

GCC : A Space for National Achievement


 A Space for National Achievement 


Achievements are marked by – and created through – awards and ceremony. The combination of object and event creates a spectacle intended to impose specific impressions onto individuals, groups and even the nation as a whole.

Within our region, the individual stands in for their family, and subsequently the nation.

Although we are often hailed as part of a cohesive whole, our individual actions – and as a consequence our achievements – become the defining factor of a broader social and political structure.

A Space for National Achievement calls into question the accumulation of superlatives, and asks us to contend with the disconnect between a lavish award and the achievement it recognizes. This relationship becomes a way to manage image and control perception. In our societies awards merely reinforce what already exists, rather than mark material gains. This symbolic power is actualized in this exhibition, which asks us to consider how national achievement is situated. In fact, these discourses are part of a systematic framework that organizes our existence.


About GCC:

The basic objectives of the GCC are to effect collaboration, transformation and inter-connection between Artists in all fields in order to achieve unity between them.

Being fully aware of the ties of special relations, common characteristics and similar systems founded on the creed of Art which bind them; and in conformity with the Charter of the Federation of Gulf Artists which calls for the realization of closer relations and stronger bonds; and having the conviction that coordination, cooperation, and integration between them serve the sublime objectives of the GCC; and, in order to channel their efforts to reinforce and serve Gulf and Artistic causes.


Cloud 9


Exhibition dates : 7th – 30th May


Cloud 9, a curated group exhibition that includes painting, photography and sculpture, in collaboration with DEAN PROJECT gallery, New York. 

The Artists included are:

  • Lluis Barba (Spain)
  • Tim Berg & Rebekah Myers (collaborative, United States)
  • Laurent Elie Badessi (France)
  • Bryan Drury (United States)
  • Michael Dweck (United States)
  • Nicholas Kashian (United States)
  • Brett Murray (South Africa)
  • Reinaldo Sanguino (Venezuela)
  • Hunt Slonem (United States)

Expressions of happiness and euphoria are the common theme in this exhibition, though the works explore these ideas using different modes of inquiry.  While some feature a literal representation of imagery associated with these concepts, others incorporate historical, social, and spiritual references to evoke ideas of happiness and euphoria. 

The works by Tim Berg & Rebekah Myers and Reinaldo Sanguino are based on the idea of desire, an emotion typically associated with the search for happiness. Utilizing seductive materials forms, and surfaces, these artists’ works produce representations of popular culture that serve as signifiers of desire. 

Brett Murray, Bryan Drury, Hunt Slonem, and Laurent Elie Badessi treat materiality in their works (either physically or as language) as a vehicle for pondering existential questions, ultimately leading to a sense of euphoria in the form of thought. 

Lluis Barba and Nicholas Kashian make use of imagery, color, and form to create compositions that activate the viewer’s senses, guiding each in a visual search for rewarding moments of recognition and sensory pleasure in their work. 

Michael Dweck’s photographs capture moments, people, and places from Havana, Cuba, and take the viewer on a social and historical journey to explore the island’s privileged culture. These postcard-like images call to mind instances of happiness and euphoria. 

Cloud 9 brings together a sampling of works to explore the differing ways—how, when, and what—that a “Joyful Moment” could be defined in a particular work of art.


Exhibition Dates & Timings :   Opening Night :  Tuesday, 7th May, 2013 ; 7 – 9pm

Wednesday, 8th May ; 10am – 4pm & 7 – 9pm

9th May – 30th May, 2013; 10am – 4pm (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays)