Janet Rady

If you are a regular reader of our newsletters, you will know just how wide and varied the exhibitions and events that we cover are.  It is one of the pleasures of compling the monthly round up to discover just how broad the spread of contemporary Middle Eastern art in the international artworld is, from Australia to China to Europe and the US. 

And it's wonderful also to see so many prizes being awarded to artists from the region (noteworthy ones include Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige for the 2017 Prix Marcel Duchamp; Mona Hatoum, the  Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award; Idris Khan, the American Architecture Prize 2017, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize; and Rosalind Nashashibi nominated for the Turner Prize 2017). 

As always, we wish you safe travels and hope to see you at the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Art Fair from 8 - 11 November.  
8 September to 11 November, 2017
Samsøñ, Boston, Massachusetts, USA  

alien, immigrant, expat, asylum seeker, refugee, undocumented, tourist, fugitive, exiled, homeless
All of the above are words used to describe people and situations related to the individuals who come to live in, travel throughout, or escape from, a country or condition. Every single artist in this exhibition has been one of the above. Despite their situational differences, all peoples navigating immigrancy hold a powerful position. This exhibition is additive. These works of thought will come and go as their creators. The exhibition will change. It will never be static.

Poor Art _ Arte Povera_ Italian Influences_ British Responses
20 September to 17 December, 2017
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London, UK

Fifty years after the first Arte Povera show, this exhibition looks at how it has informed the work of several British artists who graduated from art schools in the 1970s and 1980s. It traces their different affinities with a way of working that went beyond modernism in terms of its interest in the personal and subjective, its rejection of a coherent style and its promotion of artistic freedom.
 Piece by Piece - Sara Angelucci and Sanaz Mazinani
22 September to 12 November, 2017
Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France 

2017 marks the 150-year milestone of the Canadian Confederation. For that occasion, the Canadian Cultural Centre has initiated a reflection on one particular dimension of the Canadian national identity: the diversity generated by immigration. Together with the First Nations (indigenous peoples) and the so-called "founding" peoples ( from the era of the French and English colonies ), immigrant communities that arrived throughout its history and to this day, form another stem of the variegated population of Canada.
Tarek Atoui _ The Ground
30 September to 15 December, 2017
Mirrored Gardens, Guangzhou, China 

Tarek Atoui is an artist and composer, working within the realm of sound. His work often revolves around performances that develop from extensive research into music history and tradition, and explore new methods of collaboration and production. At the core of his work is an ongoing reflection on the notion of instrument and how it overlaps with the acts of composing and performing.
Atoui's use of sound challenges and expands our established ways of understanding and experiencing this medium.
Hassan Hajjaj_ La Caravane
5 October, 2017 to 7 January, 2018
Somerset House, London, UK

A homecoming exhibition of the British-Moroccan artist, showcasing his vibrant fusion of contemporary cultures through new and celebrated works.
Born and raised in Larache, Hajjaj moved to the UK aged twelve, but has spent much of his life travelling between the two countries and cultures. His artworks reflect his nomadic lifestyle and the relationships he has formed with a variety of characters along the way, from musicians to artists and athletes to street performers. These individuals inspire Hajjaj's diverse artworks from photographic portraits to video installations, sculpture, music, design and handcrafted objects.
Desert to Delta
8 October, 2017 to 6 January, 2018
Art Museum of University of Memphis (AMUM), Memphis, USA

Desert to Delta presents 20 artists and a video artist collective from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Curated by AMUM, selected work ranges from seemingly traditional manuscript illumination to bold "calligraffiti," from bronze sculpture to sound and "scent" portraits, from cell-phone photography to multi-media installation.   Saudi artists address issues that resonate throughout the world:  environmental degradation, economic disparity, urban growth and loss of traditional culture, social inequality of women and minorities, and escalating tensions between and among ideologies.   While these concerns may be universal, Saudi artists approach them through the lens of their country's unique history and forms of cultural expression.
Farhad Moshiri_ Go West
13 October, 2017 to 14 January, 2018
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA

Encompassing several bodies of work created over decades, Farhad Moshiri: Go West explores the artist's varied subject matter, deft use of language, and wide-ranging materials and methods. Moshiri addresses contemporary Iran's traditions and historic isolationism, and simultaneously acknowledges the powerful appeal and influence of Western culture in his homeland. Born in 1963 in Shiraz, Iran, Moshiri spent a portion of his formative years in the United States during the Iranian Revolution, returning to Iran years later as a young adult and artist.
Mona Hatoum_ Terra Infirma
13 October, 2017 to 25 February, 2018
The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, USA 

The artist's first major solo exhibition in the United States in twenty years, this show unites a group of major sculptures and installations from American and European collections. The centerpieces of the exhibition are Homebound, 1999, a room size tableaux of kitchen utensils threaded together by a crackling wire of live electricity, and La Grande Broyeuse (Mouli-Julienne x 17), 1999. In La Grande Broyeuse Hatoum has dramatically altered the size of a device designed to slice vegetables. Through her artistic process a banal object associated with the feminine sphere of domesticity becomes a strange and towering beast.
In Between _Part II__ So Far
15 October, 2017 to 30 March, 2018
Mana Contemporary, New Jersey, USA
Over the course of several years, Iranian cinema has established its own unique and relevant voice on the global stage. Compared to cinema, however, Iran has yet to develop an established history of video art, and the genre is still a new phenomenon for Iranian artists-only recently emerging in the '90s. It was during this time that Shirin Neshat, an Iranian-born artist, successfully straddled two cultures and received world recognition for her video, film, and photography. Examining the trajectory of Iranian video art, the main question posed in this exhibition asks: What is the nature of contemporary video art as it has developed in the new millennium in Iran?
Jacques Majorelle_s Morocco
19 October, 2017 to 4 February, 2018
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech (mYSLm), Marrakech, Morocco 

Jacques Majorelle's Morocco includes paintings of Marrakech, discovered by Majorelle in 1917, meticulous depictions of High Atlas kasbahs painted from the 1920s, and hymns to women and to his superb botanical garden that he created at the beginning of the 1930s. It is a tribute to this orientalist painter who captured and celebrated the beauty of Morocco during the first half of the 20th century.
Fascination with Persepolis
20 October, 2017 to 25 March, 2018
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands 

The exhibition Fascination with Persepolis is about European travellers, photographers, and archaeologists who visited the ruins of Persepolis in centuries past. The desire to know more about these ancient monuments was kindled in the fourteenth century, when merchants and diplomats started making the long journey to the south of present-day Iran. Persepolis is without a doubt one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the ancient world. The Persian palace complex still strikes awe into every visitor who sees its vast size and the great beauty of the monuments for the first time.
Abbas Akhavan - variations on a garden

Abbas Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, sculpture, video, and performance. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research. Earlier works have explored the relationship between the house and nation state and how the trauma and systemic violence enacted upon civilians can be inherited and re-enacted within the family. More recent works have wandered into spaces just outside the home - the backyard, the garden, and other domesticated landscapes.
Kaveh Golestan
On display for the next twelve months
Tate Modern, London, UK 

This series of portraits, taken between 1975 and 1977, documents sex workers from the former red light district, Shahr-e No, in Tehran, Iran. Following the 1953 Iranian coup a wall was erected around the area, creating an inner-city ghetto where approximately 1,500 women lived and worked. Here Golestan witnessed 'the social, financial, hygienic, behavioural and psychological problems that exist in everyday society ... magnified.'
Golestan spent several years researching the area and gaining the trust of the residents, developing a connection with his subjects evidenced by the sensitivity of his portraits. Golestan believed in the power of art to challenge accepted narratives.
Aissa Deebi_ Exile is hard work
4 November, 2017 to 4 January, 2018
Birzeit University Museum, Ramallah, Palestine 

The exhibition will include two bodies of work by Aissa Deebi: The Trial (2013) and Motherland (2016). The projects were previously were conceived for biennials: The Trial for the 2013 Venice Biennale and Motherland for the 2016 Çanakkale Biennale. By bringing together these two works, this exhibition creates a dialogue between their themes, including revolution and exile, but it also raises a number of issues related to their original context in international exhibitions in which national identity plays a particular role.
Saba Masoumian
10 to 19 November, 2017
C.AR.M.E., Brescia, Italy

This year Team Cäef received 120 applications. Among these 14 artists are selected. 
The jury has selected these artists: Erminando Aliaj e Giulio Tonincelli, Robberto Atzori, Antonella Ludovica Barba, Enrico Bernardis, Giovanni Cangemi, Luca Marianaccio, Saba Masoumian, Camilla Riscassi, Corrado Saija e Giorgio Presti, Riccardo Schiavon, Anne Cecile Surga, Giulia Zabarella.
Kader Attia Symposium
Saturday 11 November, 2017, 2-5pm
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, Australia 

Inspired by La Colonie, initiated by Kader Attia in Paris in 2016 as a space where 'people can come together to share ideas, to debate issues, to share a drink or a meal', ACCA invites a range of artists, academics and community activists to discuss ideas of cultural exchange, appropriation, and the tangled relationship between extra-Occidental cultures and the West in the wake of decolonisation and de-imperialisation.
Saturday 13 December, 2017, 6.15-8pm
Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK 

Robert Burns: Ploughman Poet, Scotia's Bard, Master of the Standard Habbie. Hafez: Master of the Ghazal, his Divan in every Iranian home, his work unsurpassed in Persian literature. Separated by four centuries and over 4000 miles, by culture, by history, by religion, by language, they can't really have anything in common - can they? Are Burns and Hafez "Bards Apart" or have they got far more in common than that which divides them?

Join us for this lively and light-hearted event in celebration of both these great poets and you - the audience - will decide! In keeping with the traditions of both Scotland and Iran, the two bards' key poems and songs will be performed with a bit of context and discussion. For those who don't understand Farsi - or 18th century Scots - we have English subtitles!
Performed by Talking Sheep: the acclaimed group from Edinburgh

Art Jameel Commissions
Deadline for Submission: 21 November, 2017
Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai

Art Jameel has a longstanding interest in commissioning artists to make new works, often for the public realm and in 2017 it launches a commissioning programme anchored at its forthcoming contemporary arts institution in Dubai, set to open in winter 2018. The programme runs in a 3-year cycle, focusing on sculpture (2018); research and lecture series (2019); and drawing and painting (2020). Practitioners from or based in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, and those from around the world with an interest in and familiarity with these regions, are invited to apply.

We all love looking at beautiful things, be it a landscape or treasured object or admiring beauty in a person.  Does beauty in art however hold the same intrinsic value for us? Does art need to be beautiful to inspire us and how or why does it matter. This month we examine some of the questions surrounging this topic.

In Search of a Prophet

Watch Paul-Gordon Chandler on his book (duration 5:03)
Watch Paul-Gordon Chandler on his book (duration 5:03)

In Search of a Prophet is a fascinating journey through the all-embracing spirituality of Kahlil Gibran, author of the bestselling book The Prophet. Capturing our imaginations and enriching our spirits, Paul-Gordon Chandler explores this beloved writer and poet-artist, a mystic who sought to build bridges and tear down walls.
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