Tabari Artspace joyfully announces the solo exhibition “Gauze” by Palestinian visual artist Hazem Harb, curated by Munira Al Sayegh. This exhibition is a significant milestone for the gallery, celebrating its 20th anniversary as a trailblazer in promoting Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) art in the UAE.
“Gauze” provides a profound exploration of the material’s multifaceted significance within Palestinian collective histories, particularly in relation to the corporeal. Harb, a Gazan native in exile, invites viewers to delve into the deep connections between gauze, the body, the context, and his personal journey.
The term “gauze” resonates strongly with collective histories, intertwined with the corporeal experience. Originating from the Arabic term shash, the English name finds its roots in Gaza, Palestine, where Harb hails from. Harb’s early connection with gauze dates back to his childhood, transforming it into an artistic medium amid the hardships faced by his people.
Throughout his career, gauze has been a recurring artistic resource for Harb. From his early artistic endeavours in 2004 to his video installation “Burned Bodies” in 2008, and now in his latest body of work, he excavates untold stories from Gaza, reflecting on the transformative power of reflection and imagination.
The exhibition unfolds in two distinct spaces, featuring a large-scale print of the Great Omari Mosque and a curated collection spanning from 1999 to 2024. Noteworthy additions include works from Harb’s 2023 series and new acrylic collages. The back room, with a contrasting ambience, focuses on gauze, symbolising its role in wrapping Palestinian children’s corpses in Gaza.
Harb introduces works from his archive labelled as “Saved,” retrieved from his childhood home in Gaza before its destruction. These pieces, created between 1999 and 2003, chronicle the everyday realities of Gaza, bridging the past and present, preserving a vibrant history while defiantly standing against destruction. The exhibition serves as a testament to Harb’s artistic evolution, reflecting on the intimate connection between art, history, and personal experiences.
About Hazem Harb
Visual artist Hazem Harb’s artistic journey spans decades, engaging in a profound dialogue with his symbolically charged homeland. From Gaza to Rome, where he earned his MFA at The European Institute of Design, and later to the UAE, Harb navigates a liminal existence. Rejecting a simplistic view of his origin as mere ‘land,’ he employs an evolving array of artistic techniques to negotiate a space continually reshaped. Harb’s art, deeply rooted in locality and personal insight, engages in global conversations. Instead of romanticising the ‘Other,’ his practice serves as visual excavation, exploring complex relations between people and places, steering clear of nostalgia and displacement fetishisation. Drawing from academia, architecture, and European art traditions, Harb crafts a nuanced axis of social and cultural relations, encompassing built and natural environments, as well as the dynamics of longing and belonging.
In a manner reminiscent of early twentieth-century artists who used collage to heal from the trauma of war, Harb materialises complex terrains. Functioning as a researcher, he collects and synthesises archives, including photographs, negatives, and maps, dismantling them from static spaces. Through a collage process marked by geometric precision, he stitches visual artefacts together, creating fresh constructions that invite unheard discourses and prompt a historical reevaluation. Harb’s work transcends nostalgia, offering a dynamic exploration of intertwined histories and unfamiliar landscapes.
Location: Tabari Artspace, Dubai, UAE
Dates: 22 January 2024 – 15 February 2024