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
Claude Monet (Paris, 1840 – Giverny, 1926), Haystacks, End of Summer, France, 1891. Oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay. Photo credit: © Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi

DR SOURAYA NOUJAIM ON MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS

Dr Souraya Noujaim Scientific, Curatorial & Collections Management Director at…

Yvonne Michiels, NY by night, 2019. Photography on dibond with plexiglass editing, 100 x 100 cm

ART MADRID 2021

The 16th edition of Art Madrid hosts 32 national and…

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Khayyam Fountain, 2018. Glass; 200 x 160 cm. Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation

MONIR FARMANFARMAIAN’S ‘KHAYYAM FOUNTAIN’ AT SAF

In one of her most ambitious realised projects, Khayyam Fountain,…

Nicky Nodjoumi (b. 1942), The Accident. Ink on paper, 2013. Funded by Maryam and Edward Eisler.

DR VENETIA PORTER ON MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS

Dr Venetia Porter Curator of Islamic and Contemporary Middle East…

Crystallization experiments at waiwai office. Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia and waiwai

YOU, ME AND THE FUTURE | VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE

Highlights of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale Organised by La…

Beirut Narratives, production, 2021 © copyright Architecture et Mécanismes

BEIRUT NARRATIVES, SOLIDIFYING OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS

BEIRUT NARRATIVES is a concept that was born twenty days…

july 2021

09marAll Day09octPLASTIC, THE LAST HERO OF THE GREAT STEPPE - THE ART OF SAULE SULEIMENOVA

15aprAll Day14augMARWAN RECHMAOUI | BUT THE TREES KEPT VOTING FOR THE AXE

17mayAll Day15augREFLECTIONS CONTEMPORARY ART OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA