In ART

Artual Gallery presents “The Thousand And One Nights”, the first show to be shown at their newly opened permanent exhibition space in Downtown Beirut. The show will be on display from March 15 until May 3.

Conceived and curated Maria Brito, “The Thousand And One Nights” brings together various works produced by seven talented contemporary artists from the United States of America.

Jonathan Chapline, The Book, 2018, Arylic and flashe on panel, 91.44 cm x 119.38 cm
Jonathan Chapline, The Book, 2018, Arylic and flashe on panel, 91.44 cm x 119.38 cm

“I’m delighted to be collaborating with Maria. I love the way she curates and her eye for spotting talented artists is renowned,” says Hind Ahmad, the gallery owner. “With this inaugural show, Artual Gallery marks the beginning of a young, dynamic and innovative approach to the contemporary art scene in Beirut.”

Holly Coulis, Water, Apples, Pomegranates, 2019, Gouache on arches watercolor paper, 45.72 cm x 60.96 cm
Holly Coulis, Water, Apples, Pomegranates, 2019, Gouache on arches watercolor paper, 45.72 cm x 60.96 cm

For some, like Georgia-born painter Jonathan Chapline, this is their first time exhibiting their work in Beirut. “I’ve been here for two days and it’s a whole other vibe,” the artist told Selections. “It’s been amazing, it really has, to be able to see not only the culture but then the old and the new architecture, and the sights and the sounds and the food, all the textures; it’s just a very magical place.”

Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Untitled (From Fly Girl Series), 2019, 213.36 cm x 152.4 cm
Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Untitled (From Fly Girl Series), 2019, 213.36 cm x 152.4 cm

“Re-contextualising my unique vantage point, being very much an American living in America, talking about American things, but then trying to broaden my reach and broaden my view, has been something on my mind for a while. This show has been a great way to do that,” Chapline explains. “I grew up listening to [One Thousand And One Nights], or reading it, or my mum would read it to me as a bedtime story, but revisiting that has also been interesting because my work revolves around memory, so re-remembering these things has been quite a nice experience, and then contextualising it with the culture that it is coming from is also quite nice.”

Canyon Castator, Den of thieves, 2019, Oil on canvas, 152.4 cm x 203.2 cm x 5.08 cm
Canyon Castator, Den of thieves, 2019, Oil on canvas, 152.4 cm x 203.2 cm x 5.08 cm

The imagination and creativity on display throughout works that make up the exhibition is exceptional, creating a diverse and colourful feast for the eyes as each artist showcases their own unique commentaries on and reinterpretations of the eponymous collection of iconic Middle Eastern folk tales.

Monica Kim Garza, Thou willeth thou shalleth, Acrylic, embroidery on canvas, 177.8 cm x 142.24 cm
Monica Kim Garza, Thou willeth thou shalleth, Acrylic, embroidery on canvas, 177.8 cm x 142.24 cm

“For me, the visual of the Den of the Forty Thieves, this hideout for the bad guys, was always very strong as a child, so, in this work that I’m exhibiting, I’m reimagining the idea of theft, the concept of theft, in forty different motifs related to the subject,” said Canyon Castator, speaking about his piece, “Den of Thieves”. “There are some very serious motifs within it – wage theft, election theft, land theft, genocide – and then also balanced out with elements that make it palatable and stomachable.”

“The Thousand And One Nights” will be on display from March 15 until May 3.

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