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Apr 01 2021

What’s Showing at Dubai Art Week, March–April 2021

by The Editors

Dubai’s art scene is bouncing back in early 2021. The long-running commercial anchor of its annual March art season, Art Dubai, was delayed a couple of weeks and relocated to temporary structures in the Dubai International Financial Centre with fewer galleries, but nonetheless kicked off its 14th edition on March 29 with timed-ticketing and pandemic guidelines in place. As part of Dubai Art Week, many of the galleries in Alserkal Avenue and the Al Quoz district have also organized IRL solo and group exhibitions, a selection of which are highlighted here.

DIA AL-AZZAWI, Face of a Stranger, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 180 × 230 cm. Courtesy the artist and Meem Gallery, Dubai.

Dia Al-Azzawi

Meem Gallery

Mar 23–Jun 24

On view at Meem Gallery, “The Lebanon Works” features a recent series of paintings by Iraqi artist Dia Al-Azzawi. Painted in 2019 in the artist’s newly established Lebanon studio, the abstract canvases render the artist’s fresh experiences and encounters in bold primary hues, seen, for example, in Face of a Stranger.

ISHMAEL RANDALL WEEKS, Two-Way Mirror, Biombo/Mashrabiya, 2020, iron, wood, mat, glass, mirror, 280 × 45 × 180 cm. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai.

Ishmael Randall Weeks

Lawrie Shabibi

Mar 22–May 27

In his Dubai debut, Peruvian artist Ishmael Randall Weeks is presenting his minimal, geometric constructions that merge references to modern art with the vernacular forms of South America. His abstract series of grout wall reliefs Formas básicas (2020) are equally inspired by the Incans’ and Russian Constructivists’ quests for purity in form, while Two-Way Mirror, Biombo/Mashrabiya (2020) comprises rattan screens that invoke the cross-cultural roots of colonial Hispano-Moresque wooden balconies, in turn influenced by Arabic mashrabiya screens.

LALEH KHORRAMIAN, Totem of a Deity, 2021, acrylic, conte, cotton, ink, silk, thread, velvet on canvas, 157 × 241 cm. Courtesy the artist and The Third Line, Dubai.

yasiin bey

The Third Line

Mar 28–May 5

Presented by The Third Line and Sole, yasiin bey’s Negus is a 28-minute listening experience, comprising eight tracks by the musical artist formerly known as Mos Def. The experience is augmented by appropriately psychedelic artworks by Ala Ebtekar, Anuar Khalifi, Laleh Khorramian, and Nima Nabavi. Tickets need to be purchased in advance. Meanwhile, The Third Line’s project space is showing Tarek Al-Ghoussein’s latest works from his photo series Odysseus, capturing a solitary figure wandering through urban landscapes.

SEHER SHAH, Argument from Silence (fragments and bodies), 2019, polymer photogravures on Velin Arches paper, dimensions variable. Courtesy Green Art Gallery, Dubai.

Seher Shah

Green Art Gallery

Mar 22–Jun 5

“When Words Disappear Into Trees” surveys drawings, etchings, and photogravures created by Seher Shah over the past five years. The artist’s poetic images of sculptural fragments and graphical drawings of imagined architectural sites consider notions of absence, deletion, and negative space.

Installation view of CHARBEL-JOSEPH H. BOUTROS’s “The Work and Its Periphery,” at Grey Noise, Dubai, 2021. Courtesy Grey Noise.

Charbel-joseph H. Boutros

Grey Noise

Mar 22–May 22

Conceptual artist Charbel-joseph H. Boutros unveils his latest project on Covid-19-era exhibition-making and “the fragile role of the gallerist’s personage trying constantly to channel an algorithmic art market empire” in “The Work and Its Periphery” at Grey Noise Gallery. His installation The Booth, The Gallerist and The Mausoleum (2021) recreates an art fair booth and includes the ashes of press releases, the wax of votive candles, and desert sand.

THAIER HELAL, Bottom Line, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 165 × 165 cm. Courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery, Dubai. 

Thaier Helal

Ayyam Gallery

Mar 22–May 10 

Syrian artist Thaier Helal’s “Abyss” propels the artist’s explorations of human existence. The painter’s gestural abstractions balance splatters of black against central points of light rendered in cool tones, pointing to the dualism of darkness and hope. Smaller mixed-media works present abstracted faces obscured by dark bands, evoking collective suffering. 

RAED YASSIN, Humming in Abandoned Places, 2020, video performance, dimensions variable. Courtesy Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai.

“Out of Place”

“Out of Place” features six artists/collectives whose works look at disrupted spaces. Raed Yassin presents the video performance Humming in Abandoned Places (2020), while installations by Brussels-based duo :mentalKLINIK and Mumbai artist Vikram Divecha both center on the deconstruction of their respective settings.

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