Rose Issa Logo    
exhibitions artists publications films news art fairs about contact
      current news
      art fairs past


rose issa projects
at abu dhabi art

16 -19 NOVEMBER 2011


Click here for more information on the fair


Chant Avedissian: Icons of the Nile

Chant Avedissian started his now famous series of painted stencils in 1991, during the Gulf War. Witnessing the media coverage, and overwhelmed with feelings of powerlessness and sadness, he began to recall faces, places and symbols from his past.

The result is a series of witty, nostalgic images that celebrate the popular iconography of Egypt and the Arab world: movie stars, dancers and singers (Om Kalthoum, Hind Rustum, Asmahan, Tahiya Karyoka, Samia Galmal, Dalida); political figures (King Farouq, Nasser, Queen Nazli); symbols from the Nasser era (the socialist one-brand cigarettes, chewing gum and stockings); everyday scenes and familiar streetscapes – all rendered with great affection and artistry.

The Fine Arts-trained Avedissian refuses to work in oil on canvas. Instead, he mixes his own pigments and uses the stencil technique to transfer the image on to card or locally-made paper that can be rolled into scrolls. The stencil technique itself necessitates a simplification of line and colour, and thus becomes similar to the hieroglyphic concept of representation.

Farhad Ahrarnia: Beautiful is the Silence of Ruins

The large-format works in Farhad Ahrarnia’s new series, Beautiful is the Silence of Ruins, are made from digitally manipulated photographs of famous Hollywood stars of the 1930s to 1960s – such as James Dean, Carole Lombard, and Montgomery Clift, who all died young – combined with archive images of Persian ruins.

These are printed on canvas and then partly embroidered. Before the Iranian revolution of 1979, many American films were dubbed into Farsi, so Hollywood superstars were seemingly able to communicate with the Iranian public.

Farhad Ahrarnia’s embroidery links the ancient monuments of a country with more than 2,500 years of history with the modernity represented by Hollywood, while the tight threads and needles hint at the tension between the two countries, then and now.

Selma Gürbüz: The Meninas

Selma Gürbüz is one of Turkey’s most prominent contemporary artists, and one who has always paid homage to the great painters of art history. Her work is a kind of meditation, a rethinking and redrawing of those paintings.

Here, in The Meninas, she pays homage to Spanish artist Velazquez, who portrayed the family of King Felipe IV in Las Meninas (1656) – a painting whose depiction of the visual relationship between the artist, subject and viewer has inspired artists and writers for centuries, from Pedro Calderon de la Barca to Michel Foucault.

Fathi Hassan

Inspired by the oral tradition of his Nubian heritage, Fathi Hassan “writes” his paintings, using the morphology of Arabic letters as a medium to express stories and hidden feelings in a stream of unreadable words that spill onto and cover his canvas.

In Shahrazad, the letters refer to the legendary tales of A Thousand and One Nights, which the Persian queen Shahrazad told her king, keeping him in suspense and thus saving her life and that of other women. Today the Arab world has so much to say that Shahrazad has become an everyman figure, representing all men and women.

In Kheyr (“Blessings”) a crescent moon inscribed with the word “blessing” in dark ink symbolises the Arab and Islamic world and the need for positive decisions and attitudes, accountability, forgiveness and generosity.




- - - - - - - - - - - - -