Friday, June 29, 2018

The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran - Illustrations (a study)

Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" speaks of love and marriage, joy and sorrow, reason and passion, beauty and death, and conveys the yearning for a Unity of Being that can only be achieved through love.

I considered practicing anatomy, rather human form, by simply copying the illustrations, not in its entirety, but the central figures and/or that were clear to me. As some pictures lacked clarity, I assumed certain aspects of the illustrations too and so there may be oddities here and there. This was purely meant as a practice as I was reading through the book. For the most part, Gibran's nude figures were sleek and slender except a few and it reminded of symbolism and art nouveau. It was sometimes difficult to distinguish the gender; I felt some figures were more androgynous. I love the way he has expressed them.

There are 12 illustrations in all and I have combined excerpts from the book with each one that I felt could be associated with the illustrations. I have used drawing pencils (2B, 4B and 6B) and tea wash. Edited hue and saturation in Photoshop.

I am not going into details regarding the poet-artist as the information is readily available all over the internet but I would recommend Poetry Foundation in case you would like a detailed reading.



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"Long were the days of pain I have spent within the walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness with regret?"
"A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that gave it wings. Alone must it seek the ether."


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"Shall my desires flow like a fountain that I may fill their cups? 
Am I a harp that the hand of the mighty may touch me, or a flute that his breath may pass through me?"


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"Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love."


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"Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone."


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"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."


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"It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'."



I will continue the rest of the 6 illustrations in my next post.


Linking it to the gorgeous ladies in PPF! 



Friday, June 22, 2018

Alserkal Avenue Arts District - Part 3 (Final)


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers


Alserkal Avenue, named after its founder is the brainchild of Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, was established in 2007 is situated in the industrial neighborhood of Al Quoz spreads across a space of 500,000 square feet which houses not only numerous galleries of international repute but also project spaces, residencies, non-profit artists' studios, concept stores, event facilities and even cafes' and food outlets. It was expanded in 2015 to give it the look of today. Situated in Dubai's industrial quarters, this Avenue is a cluster of architect-designed warehouses that aims to foster the creative spirit by bringing together collaborators from diverse artistic disciplines, encouraging open dialogue, sharing of ideas and collaborations to bring those ideas to life.

Read: PART ONE and PART TWO


An architect turned artist, Mike Arnold, has used his old school skill of architectural drawings into a finer passion to create freer, looser and impressionistic works of the ever-changing urban cityscapes of UAE by playing with light and reflection. It most certainly reminded me of the Impressionists and their unending love of the transformative power of light and ‘the moment’. I was fascinated by his works which these photos haven’t done justice to.

“There is no overriding theme to his work other than a life-long passion dedicated to light. His attempt to chase and capture light is what marries all his work and within that search, Arnold attempts to convey emotion to his viewers.”


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A grey eeriness definitely wafted in the air as I strolled through the unpolished floor of Carbon12. Umbra, ‘Shadows’ for Latin, immediately seized my whole attention. I could feel a sense of tension, abandonment, eeriness and desolation. In the vicinity of the scenes depicted. I could sense Hopper-like feel somewhere there. What made more interesting was the way the paintings were made. I have always been a lover of glass paintings and I have used this technique in my very old works. To have made use of the reverse glass painting on plexiglass this Portugese painter, Gil Heitor Cortesão, has made an awesome rendition. It makes a ghostly atmosphere where feelings are let loose and forlorn just as the things that inhabit the assigned space.

“Before: a ghostly shadow-world, where absence dwells in cavernous or cell-like spaces, rhythmed by the background hum of continual vertical lines. Behind: the viewing space, bounded by the gallery walls and floor. Or is it?”
(from the concept note)

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If photography is a “message without a code” in the words of Roland Barthes, How does one read a photobook? Asks the concept while welcoming the viewers. The Photobook Show at the Gulf Photo Plus was the only we saw that was entirely dedicated to photography. They have works from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, showcasing a unique sampling of more than 40 photobooks from 13 different countries. In Martin Parr’s seminal work on the topic, The Photobook: A History Vol I, II, and III, he argues that in the form of a photobook, photography enables a kind of interpretation that is otherwise not possible from a single contextless image. While a gallery or museum wall offers a public display of photography, a photobook facilitates a private and even intimate reading of a photographer’s work and indeed, their world, even if the message may be elusive at times. 

The most striking was the ‘Visual Narratives’ of Aisha Jemila Daniels which is a series of self-portraits conceived with the aim to illustrate the conflicting internal states that negotiate for control within us. This was the show my daughter liked the best.

“...the combination of remarkable images and good design in a book that is beautiful to open and pleasurable to leaf through is an ideal way of conveying a photographer’s ideas and statements.”
(from the concept note)

The exhibition is on until 31 Aug.

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Intersections’ in Mojo Gallery presents a visual dialogue of 8 African-Arabian artists who are exploring the role of contemporary art as a voice in two ever-changing cultural landscapes of identities, beliefs, perceptions and values. Huge and some full-length works adorned the gallery walls in myriad colours that told the tale of the modern times – of war, loss, the conflict both internal and external, the confusion and the crisis and even an attempt at the evolution of a new order.


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MojoGallery-Intersections-HuesnShades


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La Galerie Nationale is not a typical gallery per say. I had the feeling of entering a designer home/apartment adorned with decorative pieces, eclectic furniture and then a coulourful array of fun, vibrant and buoyant-child-like paintings. When I say child-like, it’s by no means offensive...the strokes have the spirit and energy of, may I say, a flamboyant child. Only here, the child is the famous Moroccan writer, Tahar Ben Jelloun. It is a celebration of colours and life-force that one sees here. I am talking about ‘Cultural Crossroads’ the first solo show in the Middle East and is the recognition of a friendship between Ben Jelloun and Guillaume Cuiry, director and curator of the gallery.

“Beauty is first and foremost an emotion.” 

The exhibition is on until 15 Sep.

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Rubbles and ruins were dispersed across the floor, some sketches along the walls and a looped video on the far end of Green Art Gallery, ‘Demolishing buildings, buying waste’; recorded and analyzed the demolition of a building in Tehran and incorporated the ‘traces’ of the process as video, sculpture and drawings. The artist, Nazgol Ansarinia’s interest is in Tehran’s changing architectural landscape and its relationship to collective consciousness. To me, these works spoke of the tale of every developing city/urban space in the world; paradoxical cycle of construction and deconstruction.

“Every part of this city is associated with memories from different stages in my life. I think that’s what makes this fast speed of construction so destructive in a way. It’s taking away our collective memory and individual memory with it. Neighbourhoods are changing so fast that they are unrecognizable. You feel lost when you can’t relate to a space.” 
(from “The Artist and their City”, The Guardian / Tate, 2016) 

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ElmarsaGallery-Demolishing buildings,buying waste-NazgolAnsarinia-HuesnShades


ElmarsaGallery-Demolishing buildings,buying waste-NazgolAnsarinia-HuesnShades


ElmarsaGallery-Demolishing buildings,buying waste-NazgolAnsarinia-HuesnShades


Ref:Alserkal Avenue

Friday, June 15, 2018

Alserkal Avenue Arts District - Part 2

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers


Alserkal Avenue, named after its founder is the brainchild of Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, was established in 2007 is situated in the industrial neighborhood of Al Quoz spreads across a space of 500,000 square feet which houses not only numerous galleries of international repute but also project spaces, residencies, non-profit artists' studios, concept stores, event facilities and even cafes' and food outlets. It was expanded in 2015 to give it the look of today. Situated in Dubai's industrial quarters, this Avenue is a cluster of architect-designed warehouses that aims to foster the creative spirit by bringing together collaborators from diverse artistic disciplines, encouraging open dialogue, sharing of ideas and collaborations to bring those ideas to life.

Read: PART ONE

I visited the Avenue a second time, a couple of days after, to complete my visit to the rest of the galleries. I had two hours at hand and I started from where I had stopped the last time. I began with Leila Heller Gallery. 

Counterpart of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf’s paintings and assemblage works in "Inner and Outer Space" are fun and colourful. They instantly invoke the childhood exuberance which is just a façade that leads to much darker and graver issues of consumerism and ecological concerns. They not only remind of pop culture as well as drip paintings of Pollock but also permeates a sense of street culture.

“These discarded toys and television backs are considered poignant objects, resonant with emotion. “Each of these objects carries a story,” Scharf explains. He considers how people may have struggled and sacrificed to buy these toys and TVs, and the intense relationships that children and families have with them. Scharf brings to life these inanimate objects in his work.”

The exhibition is on until 31 Aug.


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Look at the dimension of this painting!





Another exhibition, currently happening, in Leila Heller is Philip Taaffe’s works which would immediately take you to Islamic architecture and mosaic patterns. They are bright, colourful and layered which range from linocut, woodprint, marbling, silkscreen, rubber stamp and collage including free gestural paintings. There is an unmistakable fusion of the ancient and the modern with an uncompromising vibrancy to his works.


 “I think the power and possibilities for painting today has to do with binding it to a cultural legacy,” says Taaffe. “Painting is where these symbolic languages or forms somehow crystallize and reveal their ancestry — and that in turn shows a certain sense of future possibility.”


The exhibition is on until 31 Aug.



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LeilaHellerGallery-Philip-Taaffe-HuesnShades


LeilaHellerGallery-Philip-Taaffe-HuesnShades


From Alexander Calder, Picasso through to Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn and Pablo Reinoso, many of the greatest artists and designers have turned both their thoughts and talent to jewelry. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, these art pieces cover the entire spectrum of jewelry. Often imagined as a proof of love, these artists' jewels originally intended for their families and close ones. Custot gallery mentioned that they were "delighted to present the first artists' jewelry exhibition in Dubai and in the region" as part of their "Art and Jewelry" exhibition. There was an apparently interesting ongoing dialogue between art and jewelry by the various artists

“A piece of ‘artist’s jewelry’, like a painting or a sculpture, is a work of art. Springing from the same creative approach, it possesses the same force, poetry and ability to provoke, sometimes even the same humor. It is only their ultimate purpose that distinguishes one from the other” – Diane Venet, Artists’ Jewelry Collector.


The exhibition is on until 31 July.



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Loved this unique display


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 And that's a Picasso (the right end figures)

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 The unmistakable Jeff Koons

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Abstraction is something that every artist and a layman can debate and argue on forever, especially if you are seeing something like egg-shaped forms, as a viewer. But then it isn't as simple as it looks as deep thought does go into it as for a realistic work. It is not something an 'artist' ventures into when he/she doesn't know how to paint as 'some people' put it so effortlessly. Jean Highstein's "Space and Place" reveals some light on it by speaking about his process in his curatorial note. Jean Highstein, a key figure in abstraction, used bronze, steel, concrete and wood to create primal and organic forms. His boneblack pigment and Chinese ink stand in contrast with the white walls of the gallery and its rugged-sturdy look stands in contrast with his delicate drawings. The timeline and photographs along the walls and beside the stairs give us an idea of his line of work.

“Highstein’s quasi-manufactured sculptures create a dialogue between raw materials and nature, while also stressing the importance of the object’s presence and surrounding space. Throughout his artistic career, Highstein investigated the relationship of sculpture to its surroundings and its impact on the viewer’s perception of space.”Statement by the Foundation.

The exhibition is on until 30 June.



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I have divided my trip into 3 posts as it's extremely difficult to accommodate all the photos and texts into one. The final post will be published next week.

Hope you are enjoying this series of Alserkal Avenue.