Maraya Art Centre, level 2, Al Qasba, Al Taawun road, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
The Barjeel Art Foundation:
A unique space dedicated solely for art appreciation and cultural exchange of ideas
By Mamtu Manghnani
Posted On: Saturday May 1, 2010
The evening of April 9 saw the unveiling of one of the most extraordinary art collections in the UAE at the opening reception of The Barjeel Art Foundation’s debut exhibition – Peripheral Vision.
The Barjeel Art Foundation is the brain child of Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, who other than being a professional in various disciplines, is also an avid art collector.
From his personal collection of nine years, the Peripheral Vision includes artworks from around the world, with a focus of promoting and featuring contemporary Arab artworks.
This exhibition represents the current and dynamic narrative of the Arab world, not as a Pan-Arab or monolithic entity, but as a multifaceted series of stories that are in a constant state of transformation and change.
“Our aim is to create a platform for critical dialogue, and the first step was to designate a space for these poignant artworks to be exposed and read by visitors; a place for a kind of cultural exchange,” explains Mandy Merzaban, Gallery Manager of Barjeel Art Foundation.
This concept being unique to the region is not a commercial space but, in fact, features artwork for mere viewing and appreciation. The reasoning behind this is “to integrate the critical dialogue and conversation that these works represent into a greater culture, and have it become something that is essential.”
The exhibition brings together multiple points of view, from Iraqi artist Halim Al Karim's nostalgic representation of a woman from his past in a faded but poignant memory in Untitled 1 from the series King's Harem, to Susan Hefuna's Sabr Gameel a German/Egyptian artist who uses Arabic window motifs to equates her multicultural experience as a woman of Egyptian and a German heritage to the act of looking through a patterned window.
Each work - truly unique, daunting and contentious in nature - represents something about the artist’s identities, backgrounds and the complexities faced by certain communities in this era of contemporary culture.
For contact details and more information on Barjeel Art Foundation or the various artworks, please log on to www.barjeelartfoundation.com or contact Ms. Mandy Merzaban at firstname.lastname@example.org.