Lawrie Shabibi display presents diverse range of Middle East talent
Marwan Sahmarani, 41, from Beirut The work: ‘I can sit right here and think a thousand miles away… 4’ One of the three 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize winners (you know, the most expensive art prize in the world), Marwan is known for the way he always connects back to art history, using watercolour in an unpredictably uncompromising way. This work presents a noble-looking soldier presenting a mirror to an otherworldly, childlike yet eerie figure.
Ali Abdel Mohsen, 27, from Cairo The work: ‘Nobody Wants to Join The Army’ This self-taught artist makes a living as a journalist. Mohsen was briefly arrested by Egyptian police this January and his street art-style sketches (which bear resemblance to UAE-based artist Ubik’s work) allude to an anarchic urban undoing.
Yasam Sasmazer, 31, from Istanbul The work: ‘Big Bang 2’ This Turkish, Berlin-based artist’s sculptures of children are taking the art world by storm. Presenting sometimes haunting, sometimes nostalgic and sometimes ambiguous figures of our most innocent members of society in various situations, she explores how society influences the being – in good and bad ways.
Asad Faulwell, 29, from Idaho/Iran The work: ‘Les Femmes D’Alger #6’ Many modern artists have depicted Algerian women in their works – both Eugène Delacroix and Pablo Picasso produced series titled ‘The Women of Algeria’ – but Faulwell’s pieces instead focus on the nation’s largely unrecognised female freedom fighters, who fought for the end of French occupation from 1954 to 1962. He contrasts real, sombre portraits of these women against the colourful North African motifs so revered in design.
Gazelle Samizay, 30, from Kabul The work: ‘Upon My Daughter 7’ Presenting video art and photography, Samizay’s works explore the intersection of her Afghan heritage and American upbringing and her status as a woman. Focusing particularly on marriage, the works are delicate and beautiful – as are the social ideals associated with marriage – but the red threads binding the contorted figure add an element of force and an undercurrent of darkness.