Installation view of Departure, 2018, in Artist’s Rooms: Chiharu Shiota at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Courtesy of Art Jameel. Photography by Mohamed Somji

Dating back to prehistoric times, red has been a colour widely used by artists. It is a colour that symbolises strength, love but also has the connotation of steamy emotions such as danger and anger. Another fun fact is that artworks whose main characteristics contain red, fetch the highest prices in auction.

In medieval times, red held high religious and secular significance. During the Protestant Reformation, the colour lost a bit of its lure and popularity in the ongoing culture. It was deemed as an indecent and immoral, linked to luxury and the excesses of the Catholic Church. Low and behold though, after the French Revolution, red regained its original respect as the colour of progressive movements and radical left-wing politics.

“Red is the archetypal colour, the first colour humans mastered, fabricated, reproduced and broke down into different shades, first in painting and later in dyeing. This has given it primacy over all other colours through the millennia,” writes historian Michel Pastoureau in Red: The History of a Color.

Since tis be the colour of the season, let us embrace the many channels of creativity red could bring to us in these times of need to celebration and human connection.


Jeff Koons, Balloon Venus Lespugue (Red), 2013 – 2019. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent colour coating, 266.9 x 124.1 x 104.7 cm
Jeff Koons, Balloon Venus Lespugue (Red), 2013 – 2019. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent colour coating, 266.9 x 124.1 x 104.7 cm
Yayoi Kusama, RED GOD, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
Yayoi Kusama, RED GOD, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
Najia Mehadji, Arabesque , 2010. Digital Print, 100 × 100 cm
Najia Mehadji, Arabesque , 2010. Digital Print, 100 × 100 cm
SHINGO MURAMOTO, Vent, 2019. Urushi lacquer, hemp-cloth, bamboo branch, 50 × 70 × 38 cm.
SHINGO MURAMOTO, Vent, 2019. Urushi lacquer, hemp-cloth, bamboo branch, 50 × 70 × 38 cm.
Rui Moreira, Machine of entangling landscapes VIII, 2019. Gouache and watercolor on paper, 152 × 237 cm
Rui Moreira, Machine of entangling landscapes VIII, 2019. Gouache and watercolor on paper, 152 × 237 cm
The Cup and The Saucer
The Cup and The Saucer
MANOLO BALLESTEROS, Pajarita, 2019. Gouache sobre papel, 140 x 140 x 20 cm (Marita Segovia)
MANOLO BALLESTEROS, Pajarita, 2019. Gouache sobre papel, 140 x 140 x 20 cm (Marita Segovia)
Chiharu Shiota, Cell, 2020. Mixed media, 19 × 22 × 17 cm
Chiharu Shiota, Cell, 2020. Mixed media, 19 × 22 × 17 cm
Installation view of Departure, 2018, in Artist’s Rooms: Chiharu Shiota at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Courtesy of Art Jameel. Photography by Mohamed Somji
Installation view of Departure, 2018, in Artist’s Rooms: Chiharu Shiota at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Courtesy of Art Jameel. Photography by Mohamed Somji
Mostafa Sarabi, Untitled, 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 130 x 95 cm
Roger Moukarzel, The Power of Love. Inkjet print on fine art paper, 95 x 120 cm. Executed in 1986-2019, this is number one out of an edition of seven plus two artist's proofs.
Roger Moukarzel, The Power of Love. Inkjet print on fine art paper, 95 x 120 cm. Executed in 1986-2019, this is number one out of an edition of seven plus two artist’s proofs.
Hazem Harb, Map of Land Project , 2020. Fine Art Prints on Plexiglass mounted on linedn canvas, 78 x 63 x 5 cm
Sarah’s Bag, Cherry Velvet Alice, Velvet fabric, cotton lining, brass handle
30 x 25 x 20 cm
Jamil Molaeb, untitled, 2016, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm.
Jamil Molaeb, untitled, 2016, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm.
Gulay Semercioglu, Mediterranean, detail, 2019, silver wire on board, 180 x 330 x 3 cm.
Gulay Semercioglu, Mediterranean, detail, 2019, silver wire on board, 180 x 330 x 3 cm.
Anas Albraehe, 2019. Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.

Anas Albraehe, 2019. Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.

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

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