Barjeel Art Foundation
The Barjeel Art Foundation was conceived by Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi with the vision of creating a space where artwork drawn from diverse corners of the Arab world can coalesce in an interactive and communal setting. Art of the Arab world is as nuanced as the nations that comprise the historically, politically, socially and geographically diverse region.
The foundation aims to exhibit works of established and emerging Arab contemporary artists in a public display that is unique to the region. Barjeel’s guiding principle is to extend the privilege of viewing eminent pieces of Arab art to the community at large.
A 475-square-metre space has been dedicated to showcasing the Barjeel collection, which includes more than 200 pieces of Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi’s personal collection. The foundation will present artwork in rotating public exhibitions representing different themes of political, social and cultural importance to the Arab world.
Artists featured in Barjeel Art Foundation’s inaugural exhibition, Peripheral Vision, examine what is beyond the direct line of sight, unveiling truths about their unique Arab identities and the complex struggles facing their communities and countries. Works in the exhibition expose different aspects of social, political and geographical landscapes that may be obstructed and out of focus. In doing so they also express and realise the contradictions and complexities of contemporary culture.
Paintings, photographs and sculptures created by artists from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates are featured in this exhibition. Depicting realities that lie just outside direct vision, these contemporary Arab artists are in many cases informed by experiences they have encountered on the margins of society. Standing on the edge looking in, they are able to bring to light realities with which entire communities can identify.
The artists use a variety of media – paint, cement, rubber stamps, photography, newspaper, palm leaves – to offer their own understandings of Arab identity, gender relations, memory, place and geographical boundaries.