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Book launch and talks by Rose Issa

A book launch and series of talks by Rose Issa about different aspects of art from the Arab world and Iran. These talks shall tackle not just the present and emerging art scene, but also throw back to the culture and history of a unique and interesting region, and study the present in relevance to the past. Except for the last one which is about art collection, the others (based on my previous experience at Athr talks) would be equally valid for art and culture enthusiasts as well as professionals working in the field (and sub-fields) of art or people involved academically with art.

Arab Photography Now Book Launch & “Arabicity: Divided We Stand” Talk by Rose Issa

Sunday, 5th February, 2012
7.30 pm  –  9.30 pm
Athr Gallery 

200 SR per person
pre registration is required in order to secure a seat

Arab Photography Now
This publication shows the visual dynamics of Arab photography in all its fascinating beauty, revealing a rich new aesthetic. We see works of great political and cultural relevance by thirty-six photographers. Their visual imagery constitutes an exciting and instructive journey for the reader. Each of the contributing photographers was asked to supply a statement on his or her life and experience as an artist.

Arabicity: Divided We Stand
When 22 polymorphous countries share the same language, geographical and historical sphere and a majority the same religion, is there a common cultural link? “Arabicity” (Ourouba) explores what some “Arab” concerns may be, conceptually and artistically. Through the work of very different artists from the Arab world, this presentation shows how they resist stereotyping, challenge the confines of their identity, reshape the parameters of their traditions and bring visual poetry to life.
Another line of enquiry is whether there are any links between the old and new aesthetic in Arab culture.


What are the common cultural, social, political, and artistic concerns of this region, marked by as many differences as similarities, it would appear?

How come that most well known artists have in common a multi-layering of Arab history in their work, even if they belong to different cultures ­- East and West, south and north? Were there signs of changes to come in their work?  How aware are they of boundaries? How do they layer Eastern elements with western techniques, experiences and histories, personality and pride? Who are their role models? How do they negotiate and illustrate the fragmented nature of memory and nostalgia?
“Arabicity” is about the different routes and roots that artists from the Arab world choose, whether living inside or outside the region. It gives them a space in which to express their response to the personal, national and regional issues affecting the Arab world – why do we do what we do, resist clichés, injustice, opportunism and sometimes opportunities.

Iran: The Fabric of Life & Art by Rose Issa
Monday, 6th February, 2012
7.30 pm – 9 pm
Athr Gallery

200 SR per person
pre registration is required in order to secure a seat

Could the current focus on Iranian modern and contemporary art be a superficial buzz, or are there genuine interest, concerns and creations, regarding this ‘emerging’ art scene?
The 1970s witnessed, under the initiative of Queen Farah Pahlavi and her team of expert-advisors, the construction of more than a dozen museums, of contemporary art, Qajar art, Islamic art, and numerous cultural centers. The acquisitions, whether ancient, modern or contemporary started during prosperous times in Iran, when the price of oil was high. However, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the new regime dismantled or confiscated some, but few collections remained intact, including the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.
So now are we witnessing another wave of collecting, out of the center, in the peripheries such as Dubai, the Honk Kong of Iran? Or is there a genuine need to document our cultures and take a step towards our own representations?

Criterium of Choices by Rose Issa
Private collections vs. Public institutions: collecting contemporary artworks from the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey.
Tuesday, 7th February, 2012
7.30 pm – 9 pm
Athr Gallery

200 SR per person
pre registration is required in order to secure a seat

This introductory brief by Rose Issa, who has advised, for more than two decades, several public institutions in Europe and USA, and many private collectors all over the world, shows through her eyes and experience how collecting developed in the last 40 years, from the early contemporary collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in the late 70s to current trends in Europe and the creation of new foundations in the Gulf.

The text part of the above post is reproduced entirely from Athr’s invitation message.

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