ART GLOSSARY – D

Helen Zughaib, Syrian Migration Series #14, 2016. Gouache and ink on board, 12” x 18” cm. Collection of the Library of Congress. Courtesy of the artist.
In this issue, we go back to basics and review definitions of frequently (or infrequently) words in the art world while referencing art from the MENASA region.

IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES, YOU’LL DISCOVER AN ALPHABETICAL LIST OF ART-RELATED WORDS PAIRED WITH ARTWORKS THAT BEST ILLUSTRATE EACH WORD’S MEANING. ALL WORKS ARE BY MIDDLE EASTERN ARTISTS WHO HAVE LEFT AN INDELIBLE IMPRINT UPON THE INTERNATIONAL ART SCENE.

DIASPORA

An area of concentric dispersal of people or peoples. In relation to art, the word is used to analyse artists (with or without their families) who have migrated out of their homeland and who express their cultural isolation and diversity through the bridge they create in their artistic expression. The diaspora results in a global dialogue that unites one’s place of origin with one’s estranged place of residence.

Painter Helen Zughaib’s colourful pieces, entitled Syrian Migration Series, show groups of people in transitory states. Ghada El Kandari’s work Mom and Her Daughters symbolically depicts the emotional trauma affecting the diaspora on a more personal level.

Helen Zughaib, Syrian Migration Series #14, 2016. Gouache and ink on board, 12” x 18” cm. Collection of the Library of Congress. Courtesy of the artist
Helen Zughaib, Syrian Migration Series #14, 2016. Gouache and ink on board, 12” x 18” cm. Collection of the Library of Congress. Courtesy of the artist

DIPTYCH

One or many pictures painted or carved on two hinged tablets. Initially more popularly used in reference to iconography such as altarpieces, the term has broadened to mean any piece that is composed of two separate frames that usually exist in relevance to each other. The double format lends to a conversation between two fragments of a larger whole.

Notable Usages Include: Ahmed Mater’s Illumination Diptych (2010), Arwan Abouon’s Mirror Mirror/Allah Allah (2012) and I’m Sorry I Forgive You (2012), and Omar Khouri’s Nabil and Walid.

Ahmed Mater, Illumniation, Makkah, 2013. Gold leaf, tea, pomegrante, Dupont Chinese ink and offset x-ray. Film print on archival Arches Paper, H155 x W110 cm (diptych). Courtesy the artist, and Athr Gallery, Jeddah.
Ahmed Mater, Illumniation, Makkah, 2013. Gold leaf, tea, pomegrante, Dupont Chinese ink and offset x-ray. Film print on archival Arches Paper, H155 x W110 cm (diptych). Courtesy the artist, and Athr Gallery, Jeddah.

DOCUMENTARY

A cinematic and photographic form intended as categorically nonfiction storytelling. It is comprised of official pieces of written, printed or other material that support a factual subject. Documentaries are intended to shed light on specific topics. Questions as to human bias and creative liberty become of the essence. The artistry put into documentary-style works could support the accuracy of the information related or could uniquely convey the view seen from the documentarian’s personal viewpoint, opinion or perspective.

Artists Ahlam Shibli and Randa Mirza both document Arab life through their documentary aesthetics. The photographic work of Palestinian artist Shibli addresses the contradictory implications of the notion of home: it deals with the loss of home and the fight against that loss, but also with the restrictions and limitations that the idea of home imposes on individuals and communities marked by repressive identity politics. Lebanese artist Mirza’s works, such as El Zohra Was Not Born in a Day (2013-2016), Beirutopia (2010), Abandoned Rooms (2005-2006) and La Grotte aux Pigeons (2003), tell the story of contemporary Lebanese living through the people’s day-to-day activities and the local architecture as imprinted by key historical events. Where the camera points remains a completely personal choice, yet both seem determined to give the most faithful rendering of their respective modern environments.

Ahlam Shibli, al-Qurein (Goter no. 38), al-Naqab, Palestine, 2002–03, gelatine silver print, 38 x 57.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist, © Ahlam Shibli
Ahlam Shibli, al-Qurein (Goter no. 38), al-Naqab, Palestine, 2002–03, gelatine silver print, 38 x 57.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist, © Ahlam Shibli
Ahlam Shibli, untitled (Occupation no. 23), al-Khalil/Hebron, Palestine, 2016–17, chromogenic print, 40 x 60 cm.
Ahlam Shibli, untitled (Occupation no. 23), al-Khalil/Hebron, Palestine, 2016–17, chromogenic print, 40 x 60 cm.
Ahlam Shibli, untitled (Heimat no. 46), Nordhessen, Germany, 2016–17, chromogenic print, 40 × 60 cm
Ahlam Shibli, untitled (Heimat no. 46), Nordhessen, Germany, 2016–17, chromogenic print, 40 × 60 cm

A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, ART GLOSSARY #52 PAGES 64-67.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

selections-arts-logo

SELECTIONS is a platform for the arts, focusing on the Arab World.

Selections editorial presents a quarterly print magazine and weekly online publication with high quality content on all subjects related to Art and Culture. Full of world-leading artworks, exquisite brand imagery, original creative illustrations and insightful written articles.
Selections Viewing Rooms presents carefully curated online art shows aiming not only to shed light on contemporary art executed by living artists, but also for viewers to buy contemporary fine art, prints & multiples, photography, street art and collectibles.
Discover the previous and current shows here.
Cultural Narratives foundation is an extensive collection that is travelling the world by leading established and emerging talents aiming to reflect the culture of the region in their works.

RANDOM READS

‘Flames’ by Jean Boghossian at Anima Gallery Doha

Jean Boghossian’s solo exhibition ‘Flames,’ hosted by Anima Gallery in Doha, Qatar, serves as a testament to his evolution from a jeweller to an artist. Coming from a background deeply rooted in jewellery craftsmanship, Boghossian’s early artistic endeavours were shaped…

‘An Art for a Cause: A Selection of Artworks Engaged with Palestine’ at Saleh Barakat Gallery

Saleh Barakat Gallery presents ‘An Art for a Cause: A Selection of Artworks engaged with Palestine,’ an exhibition showcasing a significant array of artworks sourced from the gallery’s private collection. The featured artists within this exhibition have a rich history…

Desert X AlUla

The third edition of Desert X AlUla, an international sculptural art exhibition, unfolds from February 9 to March 23, 2024, showcasing 15 newly commissioned artworks that delve into the theme ‘In the Presence of Absence’. Located in AlUla, a historically…

‘Summits of Solitude: Narratives in Nature’ by Ji-Hye Kim at Tashkeel

Tashkeel presents ‘Summits of Solitude: Narratives in Nature’ by Ji-Hye Kim from February 6th until March 19th. In her exhibition, Kim extends her artistic exploration into the majestic realm of mountains, a recurring theme in her work. Through intensified reflection…

The Custodian: Interview with Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi

This article appeared in The Custodian Issue #66 that was dedicated to the Dalloul Art Foundation and its custodian Basel Dalloul in which we covered the foundation’s mission, influence and importance in championing and safeguarding Arab art for generations to…

‘I Care’ Campaign by The Royal Commission For Alula

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has initiated an inclusive heritage conservation campaign, titled I Care, aimed at enhancing public understanding, awareness, and commitment to safeguarding and uplifting AlUla’s ancient history. Launched on February 1, the campaign emphasises RCU’s ongoing…

february 2024

24oct(oct 24)09:0017feb(feb 17)09:00Growing Kopi, Drinking Qahwa; Stories of Coffee in Qatar and Indonesia

26oct(oct 26)09:0005mar(mar 5)09:00'MEHDI MOUTASHAR: INTROSPECTION AS RESISTANCE'

10nov09:0010mar09:00Armenia Contemplating the sacred