Contemporary Arab Art
Contemporary Arab Art at the ARAB BRITISH CENTRE
Working in partnership with Offscreen, the Arab British Centre is home to a permanent collection of Arab artwork and has been hosting a series of temporary exhibitions since January 2010.
Temporary Exhibitions - Invitation for Applications:
The Arab British Centre's series of temporary exhibitions seek to promote artists, photographers and film makers from, working in, or inspired by the Arab world.
The series encourages creative dialogue between artists and the British public and serve as a platform for improved understanding between the UK and Arab world.
The Arab British Centre invites applications for exhibitions. To request an Exhibition Application Form please call 020 7832 1310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to find out more on our latest exhibition.
Launched in February 2008 this collection kindly loaned by Offscreen Education Programme includes pieces from their acclaimed Edge of Arabia exhibition of Saudi Arabian artists. Curated by Kate Busby and Juan Carlos Farah.
Featured artists include:
Abdulnasser Gharem:“I have no studio so my studio is where I can find people. When I see the opportunity I go. That is my way of thinking about art.”
Born 1973, Khamis Mushait where he lives and works today, Gharem is both a practising conceptual artist and a Major in the Saudi Arabian Army. He studied at the Al-Miftaha Arts Village in Abha along with his friend Ahmed Mater Al-Ziad Aseeri. The artists of this village share a similar vision and in 2004 they staged a group exhibition, Shattah, a significant step in the recent history of contemporary art in Saudi Arabia.
Laila Shawa: born in Gaza, Shawa studied in Egypt and around Europe and now lives and works in London. She returned to Gaza in 1965 for two years to teach children. As a Palestinian, Shawa is concerned with reflecting the political realities of her country, becoming, in the process, a chronicler of events. Her work targets injustice and persecution wherever their roots may be. The initial impetus for a piece often comes from her own photographs, which are later transformed by means of silkscreen printing techniques. The written word is often present in her work, as in the acclaimed 'Walls of Gaza' series, which focused on the poignant messages of hope and resistance spray-painted, in defiance of Israeli censorship, by the ordinary people of Gaza upon the walls of their city. Her artwork is exhibited and collected all over the world.
Manal Al-Dowayan:“Each photograph I take is like a part of my soul, and I’d like that to outlive me.”
Born and raised in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Al-Dowayan has lived for most of her life in a semi-enclosed camp in Dhahran and works full time for a national oil company that has employed women since the 1940s. In her photographs women from the Eastern Province, where Al-Dowayan lives, are shown veiled and heavily made-up next to the individual paraphernalia of different male professions. With no studio Al-Dowayan erects temporary studios in the homes of her subjects, thus inhabiting herself a typically male profession.
Athier Mousawi: With refrence to Kiss of Existance he says "As he sleeps, as he prays, as he succumbs, he only sees her beauty and he’s petrified by it! He can’t see the angels that live in her and he fails to notice that it’s her who breathes life into his soul. This breath has created him, and this breath will end him."
Born in London Mousawi has lived most of his life in the UK. After graduating from Leeds with a BA in Graphic Design and Marketing, he completed his MA in Illustration at Central St Martins in 2007. Mousawi recently took part in the British Museum’s Artists-in-Schools programme.
Fuad Al-Futaih: "I want to give Arab or Islamic art a modern face with a strong personality."
Fuad Al Futaih studied English Literature in Cairo University, Economy and Political Sciences in Baghdad University and Fine Arts in Germany. He is a founding member of the Arab Artists Community in Europe and has become Yemen’s most successful contemporary artists. His subject matter challenges contemporary Yemeni thought and inspires collectors, galleries and museums across the world. His work has been internationally acclaimed for its strong and revolutionary portrayal of Arab life and described as a wonderful beat to Yemen’s heart. He continues to work from his studio in Aden and his gallery in the old city of Sana’a.
Ahmed Mater Al-Ziad Aseeri: “I like the power of expression that comes out of just doing things”
Born in Abha in 1979, Ahmed Mater is one of Saudi Arabia’s most celebrated young artists. His last solo exhibition was opened by the King of Saudi Arabia. He is also, as he puts it, a man of many masks. As well as being a qualified GP he is a landscape photographer and the face of one of the region’s largest mobile phone companies.
Hassan Massoudy: "Calligraphy is an art governed by strict rules. The apprenticeship is long, and the exercise is perilous. But in the end calligraphy always rewards the patient and devoted practitioner. In these conditions, how can modern calligraphers express themselves and remain faithful to the lights of inner truth and profound experience that guide them without forgetting the tradition they have inherited? How can they renew their art without betraying it?"
As a child, Massoudy was inspired by the calligraphy on the monuments of his hometown, Najaf, Iraq. In 1961 he went to Baghdad where he became an apprentice calligrapher. In 1969 he moved to Paris where he studied figurative art and painting in Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1975 he returned to the art of calligraphy, introducing bolder colors and strokes. Many of his calligraphies are inspired by world literature including medieval Sufi mystic writer Ibn Arabi and Charles Baudelaire.
If you are interested in visiting the Centre and viewing the collection, please contact us on 020 7832 1310 or email email@example.com to make an appointment.