Diverse talent at XVA

All the world’s a stage at XVA’s summer exhibition, which showcases a wide range of international art

Maitha Bin Demithan, Emirati
Maitha Bin Demithan, Emirati
Nikolai Wiezorek, German
Nikolai Wiezorek, German
Saba Qizilbash, Pakistani
Saba Qizilbash, Pakistani
Sameer Reddy, American
Sameer Reddy, American
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Maitha Bin Demithan, Emirati

Maitha is one of Dubai’s most promising young talents; her scanned and digitally collated creations (‘scanography’) have travelled around the world. You may have also seen her reworkings of the human form in Bloomingdale’s: they’re both eye-catching and evocative.
Her process: ‘The human body has always been of interest to me, and this unusual way of looking at it without depth of field is like a form of documentation, as if the figure was just a document. I use an A4 flatbed scanner. The images are scanned individually, then reconstructed digitally in Photoshop. The idea behind this particular work evolved from the process. My nephew was present when I was scanning my niece, and he wanted to be part of it. I thought it would be great to try to create a piece with two figures. And because I can’t include myself in the works, I included a silver pendant that I made – the girl is holding it in her hand. She is also wearing my clothes.’

Sameer Reddy, American

Reddy is both an artist and an art critic and is therefore particularly well-placed to explain his works, which combine American and Indian iconography into something new.
His process: ‘Systems of belief yield an ultra-personal and potent set of symbols, yet they remain, for the most part, unchallenged or critiqued. With this set of images I’ve excavated sub-surface meanings embedded in Hindu and Buddhist iconography. The work is an attempt to reshape the narratives to accommodate my selves, both in terms of my world view and physical form. The images are digital composites. They begin with an idea about what the figures represent. I then developed an imaginary context in which one might encounter them, and assembled props and arranged self-portraits in costume. In post-production the images are combined with multiple background elements to create a fantastical environment that nods to realism in terms of photographic composition (shadows, proportions and so on).’

Nikolai Wiezorek, German

Wiezorek’s photographs of his home country’s Christmas culture have a banal brilliance, and hold particular irony being shown in Dubai in the height of summer.
His process: ‘In ‘German Christmas’ I explore the exotic and highly entertaining world of German street life at Christmas time. It’s the season where the discrepancy between expectation and reality may be the strongest. For me, the appeal lay in the dense side-by-side contradictions during this time: commerce and emotion; the desire for warmth (the colour red is very dominant) and the frosty weather; the wish for community and the sense of loneliness at the Christmas market. It’s a colourful world that is surprising and certainly fascinating.’

Saba Qizilbash, Pakistani

The only painter in the show, Qizilbash’s work explores nostalgia for the womb. She currently works at the American University in Dubai: our young minds are in good hands.
Her process: ‘This piece touches upon anxieties, both maternal and paternal. The looming bees, floating jellyfish and larger-than-life oyster mushrooms are an embodiment of danger waiting to ambush the newborn. At a careful glance, the bee latched on to a flower represents the symbiotic relationship between parent and child: dependent on one another for nourishment and comfort.’

The summer exhibition continues at XVA until July 3.

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