MENART FAIR is the first international modern and contemporary art fair, dedicated to artists from the Middle East & North Africa, presented by major galleries. For this first edition, some twenty international galleries are gathered for four days in the private mansion of the Cornette de Saint Cyr auction house, in Paris 8th district. This new art fair with a confidential format offers an initiatory journey through a demanding selection of more than sixty modern and contemporary artists, most of whom are recognised in their respective countries.
The Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, the Levant and the Middle East are represented here by MENART FAIR, with artists from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Through the selection of participating galleries, MENART FAIR highlights the fertility, uniqueness and originality of the artistic scenes of MENA, today supported by a number of renowned museums and institutions.
GALERIE NATHALIE OBADIA
Youssef Nabil shoots intricately arranged black-and-white photographs, primarily portraits, which he then meticulously hand-colours in a rich and varied palette, employing a technique based on the colour-tinting of old Egyptian portrait studios. “The technique I got from Egypt, but the colours I got from personal experience,” he has said.
WADI FINAN ART GALLERY
“In my work, I try to modulate shapes by using a curved line, which gives me the opportunity to develop the idea of form. Iuse natural sand in its own natural colour, which I got from several regions of syria in order to enrich the simplicity of shapes in my painting.” ~ Saoud Abdallah
Having traveled to sixty-seven countries, lived in and between seven, and grown up among five languages, Alia Ali’s most comfortable mode of communication is through photography, video and installation. Her travels have led her to process the world through interactive experiences and the belief that the damage of translation and interpretation of written language has dis-served particular communities, resulting in the threat of their exclusion, rather than a means of understanding. Alia’s work reflects on the politics of contested notions of linguistics, identity, borders, universality, colonisation, mental/physical confinement, and the inherent dualism that exists in each of them.
Leila Alaoui’s work explores the building of identity, cultural diversity and migration in the Mediterranean area. She used photography and video to express various social realities through a visual language lying on the boundary between the documentary and the plastic arts.
Serge Najjar proceeds like a goldsmith of cities as he shows their manifold geometric potential. He casts his photographer’s eye on our interaction with materials and their correlation with the history of modern art and geometric abstraction. His images are in dialogue with abstraction, testifying to a notable influence of the Russian avant-garde and particularly Malevitch. His approach may be instinctive, but his views allow us to reconsider our contemporary surroundings on a human scale. People’s presence makes utopian, at times overwhelming architectural structures appear more human. Najjar’s work thus examines the interrelationship between painting and photography.
LEILA HELLER GALLERY
In her large-format paintings, Sharghi depicts a mythology of the 21st century. Young women are staged in the role of a new type of heroine, drawing from the visual worlds of ancient Europe and oriental tales. The traditional, male iconography, experiences its re-figuration through the female body. These new heroines make it possible to reflect on archaic-utopian matriarchy in a contemporary context. Sharghi precisely traces the theme of this socio-political statement of emancipation through a rewriting of history: Old heroes are replaced here by new subjects.
Drawing inspiration from the decorative patterns of Islamic art and the American abstract painting of the mid 20th century, painter and mixed-media artist Nabil Nahas makes innovative use of organic materials, including seashells and starfish, which he casts in acrylic paint and mounts on a support (typically canvas). His works have an all-over composition suggestive of biological growth and the patterning of nature.
GALERIE LA LA LANDE
The rural surroundings of Slimen El Kamel’s youth proved formative to his practice, and it was in Sidi Bouzid, amongst the long-standing traditions of folk tales and poetry that his preoccupation with lived and virtual reality was sown. More recent works explore the social and communicative parameters of our ‘reality complex’. Elkamel considers the ways in which these multiple ‘realities’ hinge upon visual and auditory channels of communication.
STUDIO NADA DEBS
An iconic Nada Debs piece, the seven-top pebble table was created as a flexible low table that adapts to different seating scenarios and offers varied levels for display. Resting on a mobile solid brass base, the pebble shaped tops are lacquered in different shades of blue reminiscent of the sea.
Dalel Tangour is one of the first women photographers in Tunisia. Observer of the world, attentive to the Other, her lens captures the outside world where the artist stands back to better reveal the photographed motif. Her photographs, in colour and black and white, which she works in series, show a bold framing, a delicate rendering, the capture of moments suspended in an indefinite time. This artistic approach allows the viewer great freedom of interpretation as he or she dives into the image at will.
Chervine’s interest lies in urban scenes and landscapes, his images are taken in available light, with no staging involved.
MARK HACHEM GALLERY
Hussein Madi’s contemporary artwork denotes an extremely profound understanding of the artistic and spiritual oriental tradition.
Reem Al Fayçal’s black and white photographs capture a look, a gesture taken on the spot. It seems that the characters challenged by our gaze turn around to look at us in turn.
GALERIE CHERIFF TABET
David Daoud treats through his painting, the journey, the distance, the absence and the ephemeral in the eternity.
Baya Mahieddine’s colourful work is celebrated for its folkloric depiction of women, birds, butterflies, musical instruments, and tales of childhood. Her works depict exuberant scenes of women or nature and don’t include men but focuse on expressing women’s individuality.
SALEH BARAKAT GALLERY
MENART FAIR is on view until the 30th of May
The information is extracted from the press releases of the galleries.