Jumshed Qaisar paintings at Mussawir Art Gallery

A little while back, I stopped by at Mussawir gallery and I couldn’t help but be completely drawn into Jumshed Qaisar’s amazing Islamic calligraphy pieces.

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Born in Lahore, Qaisar is a renowned artist specializing in his unique interpretation of Arab calligraphy. As well as all over Pakistan, his work has been exhibited in countries such as Russia, Kuwait, Moscow and UK.

What I really loved about his pieces is how they are spiritually inspired yet still very beautiful, aesthetically. I like how he incorporates the lettering in a very unconventional way.

Traditionally, calligraphy is created in a linear way from right to left, but the artist uses the letters more like patterns to creatively fill in spaces and so he produces the most unique, abstract masterpieces.

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I like how the letters intertwine with each other and how he combines the calligraphy with other elements such as shape, form and colour as well as his clever use of negative space.

The letters vary from intricate and delicate to thick, bold and pronounced, while still keeping consistent and harmonious as a whole.

His choice of colour palette is beautiful and tasteful, sticking to just a few complementary bold shades which really make a statement.

I like the unexpected zing of lime green in this one.

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As well as the tiniest sliver of orange in this monochrome one. It really works, visually.

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Blending classic tradition with innovative, contemporary abstraction, his work exudes all the mystery of Arabia.

The Big Picture Opening Night

So imagine that you are in an art gallery featuring an array of local UAE artists.

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You’re nibbling on canapes as you chat with your arty friends. Everything is pretty laid back and chilled out and you’re enjoying looking at all the impressive artwork. You turn to your left and BOOM!

Salvador Dali, The Horse Series,  Swan

Salvador Dali, The Horse Series, Swan

A Dali.

An ORIGINAL, honest-to-goodness Salvador Dali which is so close you can just reach out and touch it!

No need to go all the way to Barcelona to have this experience; it happened right here in Pro Art Gallery, Jumeirah on the opening night of The Big Picture on May the 5th.

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Curated by artist Ram Nath, The Big Picture is now in its second edition and is under the patronage of His Highness Shiekh Khalid Bin Mansour Al Thani.

As well as Dali, other legendary artists that were featured at the exhibition included Banksy, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Liechtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol

Roy Lichtenstein, Cow Going Abstract

Roy Lichtenstein, Cow Going Abstract

All their original works were exhibited side by side with 45 local artists from the UAE. The best part was there were no walls or barriers separating the legends from the contemporaries.

Vahid Danaiefar, untitled 2, Oil on board,

Vahid Danaiefar, untitled 2, Oil on board,

Luis Vazquez, The Path of the Foxes, Acrylic on Canvas

Luis Vazquez, The Path of the Foxes, Acrylic on Canvas

Kevin Badni, Big head, Sculpture

Kevin Badni, Big head, Sculpture

“The idea of including internationally renowned legends and UAE based artists supported the main goals of The Big Picture, which is to demolish any boundaries or categorization that may limit the artists or their thought processes.” Nath explains.

The exhibition has alot of diversity as it explores multifaceted artistic creations featuring painting, photography, sculpture, digital art, performance art, installation as well as sound and video arts, by emerging and established artists.

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The gallery was packed with an assortment of art aficionados soaking up the atmosphere.

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The interesting part about this exhibition was it had a highly personal touch as there was an audio guide available.

It allowed the viewer to wander around at his/her own pace with headphones on and listen to each artist talk about their themes and inspirations behind their pieces.

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The energy was infectious and the talent was indeed awe-inspiring.

Reem Albanna, Hazy Reality, Oil on Canvas

Reem Albanna, Hazy Reality, Oil on Canvas

Zoya Tariq, Imprisoned in a mistaken identity, Photography

Zoya Tariq, Imprisoned in a mistaken identity, Photography

Eduardo Yup, Face the Reality, Acrylic on fiber matt

Eduardo Yup, Face the Reality, Acrylic on fiber matt

Resurger, Liberty 2, Screen print,

Resurger, Liberty 2, Screen print,

Aleksandar Bezinovic, Annunciation, Acrylic on Canvas

Aleksandar Bezinovic, Annunciation, Acrylic on Canvas

Here are a couple of photos of my work at the exhibition …

My work at the gallery

Free as a Bird, acrylic on board,

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Thanks to The Big Picture, someday I can brag to my future grandkids that I was featured in the same exhibition as Picasso!

If you have not seen it yet, you’d best skedaddle as the exhibition continues until the 24th of May!

Tahir Sultan salon show at the Cartel

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I must admit that when I shop for clothes, comfort is very low on my list of priorities!

It’s just that word – “comfort.” It often has a very unglamorous connotation that doesn’t quite appeal to me and I just end up thinking of hoodies and clumpy shoes.

Tahir Sultan’s brand new collection, however, is a game changer and proves that comfort and style CAN go hand in hand successfully!

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The Kuwaiti designer collaborated with urban conceptual boutique The Cartel on the 7th of May to showcase his collection for pre order. Before making a final decision on their orders, clients had a chance to see the outfits on the models in the flesh during an exquisite salon show, which was catered by Okku.

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The Cartel/Desert Fish is known for throwing great events with a terrific vibe. It’s always chic yet unpretentious. That night in particular was boisterous and spirited with an urban, youthful atmosphere. Quintessentially Cartel.

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As well as the fashion, the food was just flawless! Just LOOK at those seductive, delectable canapes. I thoroughly enjoyed giddily scoffing on the beef sushi and crispy sweet duck in the corner.

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I love Tahir’s sporty and sleek silhouettes in understated shades of greys, taupes and ecru.

The ensembles are beautifully draped as well as versatile; you could wear these to a fashion launch OR curled up with a hot chocolate on a rainy afternoon.

Marilyn Monroe once said “A girl’s clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you are a lady.”

I can’t help but think that the designer’s new collection really embodies this wise and timeless philosophy. The pieces seem to skim flatteringly over certain areas, yet cinch and highlight the right ones such as the waist.

Tahir Sultan - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Tahir Sultan - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

It ties mystery and modesty with an avant garde allure.

Comfort. Not so clumpy after all ….

Images courtesy of The Cartel

Abu Dhabi Book Fair

I was certainly a busy bee from the 30th to the 5th of May!

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This year, I had participated in the Abu Dhabi Book Fair to promote my work as a children’s book illustrator. I was also looking for potential publishers for my latest book project. (hint hint)

I was really impressed by how huge and well organised the fair was. The illustrator’s corner was situated RIGHT next to publishers so it was perfect for my ongoing pursuit!

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The fair is not just for sitting still in the corner in silent bookworm mode, though!

Infact, it was actually quite interactive and action packed! There were lots of seminars on the agenda everyday on various topics such as culture and tourism, book launches, career strategies and so forth.

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I noticed there was some artistic activities for children to participate in so there was something for everyone!

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I must admit, I got a little bit bored of sitting around acting prim and well behaved so I decided to paint my booth walls on the last day! I always wanted to do murals on the wall for children’s room so it was great practice for me to just go to town.

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I decided to paint a mermaid – I had always done mythical fashion illustration ones in the past, so for this one I wanted her to look child like, sweeter and more cherub-y (is that even a word?? haha!)

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Here’s how it turned out!

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Although Abu Dhabi is quite a trek for us native Dubaians, it’s well worth it and I highly recommend checking it out next year!

Interview with couture designer Rami Kadi

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Continuing from my last blog post, here is my exclusive interview with Lebanese couture designer Rami Kadi.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

The woman I design for is a woman living a normal life in today’s world, but who stands out with her elegance and grace. She has something about her that turns head wherever she goes, leaving a trail of seduction and mystery behind. she’s a woman who blows life into the garment she is wearing.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

What are your favorite fabrics to work with and where are they sourced from?

My choice of materials/fabrics depends on both the trend and my mood, and is not specifically limited to one type of material.


The silhouettes of your couture pieces are to be marveled at. Are the constructions of such a great challenge?

Of course it is a challenge. If I don’t challenge myself I will never evolve. In fact, it is essential for my pieces to have great cuts, it is a part of my signature.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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How do you decide on your theme for each collection? Do they all have a story to tell?

In terms of creativity and inspiration, the world around me has always been a rich source of inspiration; it provides me with flashes of creativity all day long, from the moment I wake until I go to bed, and sometimes even in my dreams.

Anything can be inspiring, the music I listen to while I’m driving, interaction with people, when I’m relaxing at the beach, or reading magazines, watching other designers fashion shows, etc.

Another major source of inspiration is obtained while traveling, visiting new countries and getting acquainted with new cultures and fashion salons…

Inspiration is not only limited to my day-to-day activities, it can also be found in my dreams! I always dream about dresses or shapes and I wake up in the middle of night to draw them, and go back to sleep.
Each of my collection has a specific story and it is from that story that emerges the whole collection.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

As an example my latest collection tells the story of a sleeping beauty who wakes up from an ever long sleep and finds her self within the confines of a sumptuous castle. It is with mixed feelings of surprise, and astonishment that the gracious princess walks through the aisles of the palace, and discovers a place glowing with royal opulence and yet holding an air of modernity.

How are your feelings towards exhibiting at Dubai’s Fashion Forward this year?

I am really excited to present my new collection there, especially that it is taking place in the big hall that seats about 1000 people. It is always an accomplishment when I get to the point of the runway show.

Your collections often have some very strong fairytale elements to it. What intrigues you about fairytales in particular?

I have always loved fairytales. They leave so much place for imagination and creativity. There are so many fabrics that can be used around the theme to express the romance, the magic and most of all the royal feel.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

If you could choose any historical figure, factual or legend, from the likes of Cleopatra to Lady Godiva, to be the face of your new collection who would it be and why?

I would go for The queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese, an artist who masters the art of seduction and whose fashionism and attitude captivated me long ago. There’s something about Dita that glows with elegance and captivates everyone around her. She is the kind of women who turns heads wherever she goes.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Rami Kadi - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Rami Kadi - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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My fashion illustration Collaboration with Rami Kadi

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

As soon as I laid eyes on the “Le Gala Des Mysteres” collection last year, I developed a deep “designer crush” on Rami Kadi and his DIVINE ball gowns. The tulle, the embroidery, the beadwork – it’s honestly what dreams are MADE of.

Imagine my sheer delight when I got a call a few weeks ago from Rami Kadi Couture in Lebanon to say that they would be interested in doing an artistic collaboration with me for Fashion Forward this year!!

I was elated and couldn’t wait to get started!

I couldn’t share any information about the upcoming collection until it was over so it was QUITE a challenge keeping it schtum.

His theme for the show this year was fairy tales and his collection had strong French Rococo elements and took inspiration from the set design of the film Marie Antoinette. It consisted of beautiful Laduree inspired colours, opulence, indulgent fabrics, decadence and femininity.

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To set the tone for his show, his idea was to print out actual illustrated mini story books which would be placed on all the seats at the runway. (800 to be exact!)

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In addition to this, those same illustrations were going to be projected onto the screen of the catwalk show before it started and the story was to be narrated live in front of an audience.

Here’s how my final illustrations turned out!!

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His catwalk show finally took place last night and it was such an exhilarating experience to see my illustrations projected onto the screen. I’m still totally buzzed from the show!

As for the collection itself, it was absolutely breathtaking. The models all wore these magnificent peony headpieces which really complemented the outfits and made it look even more theatrical and dramatic.

The embroidery was so ornate and the fabrics were plush and lavish especially the embossed damask motifs. I really liked the shade of gold he used in the collection. It wasn’t highly glossy or metallic – just a very pale subtle sheen which was far more flattering and sophisticated than straight up gold; especially combined with pale blue.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Although the colour scheme was mainly soft pastels, brighter sorbet shades were also included which broke up the collection, keeping it from being predictable and giving it a sense of bold freshness.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Even though the silhouettes were extravagant, they were all incredibly tasteful and well executed. I loved how luxurious and heavy the fabric looked, the way it trailed behind on the runway and how the fabric was draped. My favorite gowns were these two.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

I cannot wait to draw them!!!

There’s MORE – I’ll be publishing an exclusive interview with the designer himself in the VERY next post to find out more about his design process and inspirations.

More information will be up on the blog in a jiffy!!! 🙂

Playing Dress up at Dark Horse Event Management

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This Saturday afternoon, I plan to venture where NO fashion blogger has EVER gone before ….

The Middle East Film and Comic Con, that’s where!!!!

For three days, the world trade center is transformed into a wonderfully weird and and magical land full of limited edition comics, anime, manga and gaming!

Although we often jest that Comic Con is solely for geeks, I have to say – I beg to differ.

I went last year, and I found it really creative – ESPECIALLY the outfits! I think it’s wonderful how everyone makes such a huge effort with costumes. Last year, I looked wistfully and enviously at everyone else’s amazing ensembles. They ranged from classic superman get-ups to retro super-nes characters…I even spotted a few Japanese lolita cosplay outfits! It was AMAZING.

Alas!! It would be a waste for me to purchase an outfit that flamboyant just for this occasion. After all, I don’t go to conventions like this very often (shocking I know!)

What I NEEDED was a costume “fairy godmother” …

Well, I found one …. In the form Dark Horse Event Management…

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They are the largest creative production & entertainment house in the Middle East and they organise various events, PR and marketing activities for brands and clients, as well as providing a unique brand of entertainment.

As well as this, they also offer costume rentals for fabulous prices!!!

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When I found out about this, I dared by art blogger BFF Danna from dannawrites.com to come join me to play dress up!!! Being the gutsy woman that she is, she accepted my challenge (much to my delight!) Even though comic con is predominantly about comics…as far as costumes go, anything goes …

Let the games begin!

We started off innocently enough, just trying on a few hats. Something subtle to warm us up …

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That Danna! Honestly, I don’t know why she insists on ruffling feathers …

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Here she is again, looking like an extra from The Lion King.

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This…Is….SPARTA.

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I experimented with the Mad Hatter look, whilst Danna opted for the “sexy zebra” (The actual description..which really intrigued us)

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Let them eat cake.

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If Marie Antoinette was a Dubai blogger, this is would be her #ootd pose.

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We then felt the urge to partake in a dance.

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Here’s Dana as a regal White Queen.

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It all got a bit stressful for her, so she took a few minutes to do some serious reflecting …

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OFF with YOUR head.

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That about wraps up our bizarre-yet-brilliant fashion show. If you are ever in a dire need for costumes, I’d highly recommend to pay Dark Horse a visit. As you can plainly see, their handmade costumes are highly unique with their gorgeous little details and they obviously have a huuuuuuge variety, as we’ve demonstrated!

Can you guess what I will be dressed up as?

Hint! I will be chasing a little white rabbit …

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What do you know? I guess blondes DO have more fun!

What to Wear to Comic Con

Part II of a fun creative collaboration between bloggers Sara Japanwalla (me!) and Danna Lorch!

When we were little it was perfectly normal to play dress up and loose ourselves in the Once Upon A Time world of make believe. Cartoons and Comic book heroes were as real to us as the neighbourhood kids we played with after school. Fast forward to The Land of Grownup where it’s depressingly inappropriate to rock a super hero cape to the office (except maybe on Halloween if your boss is cool like that). Middle East Film and Comic Con changes all the rules. We live for the three days each year when it’s completely normal to rock up to Dubai’s Trade Centre in full costume. This coming weekend (3-5 April), we’re excited to people watch, splurge on comic books and graphic novels, and screen animated films like crazy.

News Flash: You can still dress up even after Comic Con ends! Here are four looks inspired by Comic Con characters which we’ve put together using Spring/Summer 2014 collections. Everything we chose is available in the UAE and many of the pieces are from regional designers. The looks are subtle reinterpretations, but wear one to the office or an event and you’ll be secretly smiling to yourself all day:

Jem

Jem

Jem: We’ve gone retro! We’re children of the 80’s and remember sitting on our couches drinking Capri Sun punch, watching Jem and the Holigrams performing it up on stage, cooler than life. The girl could really sing, her mom let her pierce her ears, and she had pink hair that fit right in with her all-girl punk band. We can’t lie—we still kind of want to be Jem. We gave her look a regional spin by changing out her star studs for an Azza Bijou necklace inspired by the star pattern found so often in Islamic geometry. Are you brave enough to add a streak or two of pink to your hair?

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Superman: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a casually heroic look you could actually get away with for brunch with friends. You don’t have to change in the phone booth to be Clark Kent—In fact, we wonder where Superman does change these days? We haven’t spied a phone booth in years! The Superman inspired tee was designed by local pop artist Mubarik Jafery, who sees a lot of super heroes saving the day in the Arab world and created a line called BRAVE to remind us of that.

Superman!

Superman!

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The Hulk: Anger management issues? Just kidding! The Hulk might be known for his horrible temper and bulging neck veins, but he’s actually downright trendy this season! According to Vogue, Green is the color for Spring. It’s possible to draw inspiration from the strongest comic book character around. This Ralph Lauren bag is the perfect statement piece but also adds a playful comic book element in Hulkish green.

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The Hulk

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Snow White: Even though we’re independent princesses, we have a soft spot for damsel in distress Snow White. This hi-lo frock by Dubai designer Dima Ayad makes us feel like the fairest of them all. Everyone from RED Valentino to Charlotte Olympia is drawing inspiration from the Disney heroine this season. Channel your inner princess for a dinner date or gallery opening.

Snow White

Snow White

Snow White

Snow White

Stockist Deets Featuring a Number of Our Favorite Designers and Boutiques:

Our Jem inspired mood board

Our Jem inspired look

Our Superman inspired mood board

Our Superman inspired look

Our Hulk inspired look

Our Hulk inspired look

Our Snow White inspired look

Our Snow White inspired look

Good Ideas: We hope to see you (in costume) at Comic Con! Check out the event’s website for tickets and other info.

http://www.mefcc.com

Illustrations: Sara Japanwalla

Text: Danna Lorch from Danna Writes – A fellow art blogger, writer and poet!!!

http://www.dannawrites.com

Art Dubai 2014

Mark Twain once said “Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.”

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Rather grim, but there is some truth in that quote. Many artists work their whole lives to get the recognition and exposure that their work deserves but SO many remain unsuccessful in this quest in spite of it all.

This is where fairs like Art Dubai come into the picture!

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With over 500 participating, it allows artists from all over the world (emerging and established) some well-earned time in the sun. (literally!!!)

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With a strong focus on the Middle East, artists from the region gain global exposure and therefore, so much awareness is created. Art Dubai has an extensive, well-rounded programme which is filled to the brim with numerous tours, forums, discussions and workshops while attracting many prestigious art collectors from all around the world.

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From competitions like the Abraaj Group Art Prize, to workshops like the Sheikha Manal little artist programme, there truly is something for EVERYONE to see!

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Now in it’s 8th year, the fair continues to flourish …

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For opening night, I decided to channel my inner Betty Draper and so I opted for this gorgeous emerald-green full skirt from a local boutique called Dee by Dalia. Her chic vintage pieces set my heart aflutter. Check her website out here –

http://www.deebydalia.com/

Although artistic, Art Dubai is certainly one of the chic events where you can really go really fun and eccentric with fashion.

As I loitered around outside, I spotted many well dressed ladies. They wafted around in their wide pleated trousers, quirky turbans, neon accessories, bright kaftans and oversized sunnies! I dug it!

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Image courtesy Savoir Flair Magazine

Image courtesy Savoir Flair Magazine

Now, I’m not one for planning. I immediately set about aimlessly traipsing through the grand halls, enjoying getting “lost” and immersed in the artwork.

There’s such a huge amount of galleries, workshops and activities going on at Art Dubai. For this specific post, I have decided to focus more on the galleries and briefly describe some pieces that really attracted me.

Without further ado, here’s my round-up!

At Green Art Gallery, Kamrooz Aram’s piece “Tempered composition with three points” has a hazy and dreamlike quality.

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He is known to constantly layer his work, and then he scrapes it off to re work it. This results in a distinguishable multi dimensional quality. He exposes faint tracings in certain areas of the canvas and has used a simplified, child like floral motif. This shows that the use of florals can be sophisticated and prove more than just an adornment.

This statue “ Flesh of the Shadow Spirits” is created by Kendell Geers from Galerie Rodolphe Janssen and it is made from resin. A conceptual artist from South Africa, his work often has heavy political elements, typically concerning civil rights.

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I did a double take when I saw these beautifully crafted knives by Zoulikha Bouabdellah at Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde. I found it really interesting how she has taken an instrument that usually has connotations of violence or aggression, and given them a new lease of life with her intricate, arabesque inspired shapes.

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:mentalKLINIK created this quirky piece cleverly called “French Kiss. Two forces are linked together in perfect symmetry, giving a romantic sense of personification.

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The Breeder – a gallery based in Athens, featured Zoi Gaitanidou’s very tactile pieces. She uses embroidery to create elaborate tapestries that combine primitive figures and abstract patterns. She is influenced by tribal art.

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Mumbai based gallery Chatterjee and Lal presented a solo booth by one of my favorite Pakistani artists, Rashid Rana.

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For these pieces, Rana has re interpreted famous paintings such as “The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus” by Peter Paul Rubens, and “The Oath of Horatii” by Jacques Louis David and has chopped them up into smaller fragments and scrambled them up – just like the surface of a Rubik’s cube.

He has selected these particular paintings specifically for their connotations on carnal violence, and perhaps misogynistic undertones which is something he feels he can resonate with regarding the political state of Pakistan/rise of islamic fundamentalism.

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It’s interesting how Imran Qureshi’s work deals with a similar theme too but he has an extremely different approach to it.

I find works by these two artists always seem to pull an emotional chord with me.

Another rather emotional piece is by Sydney based couple Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy. Entitled “T+85_red&blue_diptych”, it is part of a collection of pixel-art images of space shuttle explosions which are created from pieces of Lego.

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This piece is dedicated to highlight a certain shuttle that exploded. The use of material is interesting as the Lego is not only to depict the tragedy itself, but it also seemed fitting as one of the women who died on the shuttle explosion was a teacher, therefore the Lego reminds us of children and the loss of innocence.

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This was shown at Gallery Wendi Norris which is based in San Francisco.

There were a few artists at the fair with really strong environmental themes in their work.

Take this very narrative piece of art by Indonesian artist, Prilla Tania from dgallerie.

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It is made from cut paper of various types and upon close inspection, it actually tells a whole story about deforestation in Indonesia.

There’s a primal and primitive element about it that I like. It reminds me of ancient art – the way her artwork “talks” just like hieroglyphics or cave paintings would. Fascinating!

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Also focusing on the environment, Nnenna Okore’s installations are made from discarded yet reusable materials such as magazines, newspapers string and plastic bags.

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Okore’s works brings a focus on consumerism, excessive wastefulness. She is represented by Omenka gallery, Nigeria.

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I loved this beautiful glimmering golden sculpture by Elmgreen and Dragset, from Victoria Miro Gallery in London. It is made from 24 carat gold-plated bronze.

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Frank Bowling from Hales Gallery combines an emotive use of colour stain and sprayed motifs combined with textural elements.

Frank Bowling, Ashton's Plunge, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 302.5 x 165 cm

This artist, originally from Guyana is actually 80 years old!

There are also some tactile qualities as stitching is sometimes incorporated in his work as an homage to his mother, who was a seamstress.

Frank Bowling, Ponsonby Welch, Overlooking Fryish Maze, 2012, acrylic paint on canvas, 304.8 x 188 cm [lowres]

His paintings relate to Abstract expressionism, Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction.

Mark Dion’s curious dark room in InSitu Gallery, contains various glow in the dark items and encourages us to reflect age-old philosophical questions regarding spirituality, science and art.

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Plus…it’s pretty groovy.

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I know it was a SUPER long post, but this was honestly just scratching the surface.

Hopefully with more initiatives like Art Dubai, an abundance of geniuses will continue to be discovered.

They, too will get their chance to tell their stories to the world …

"Forever These Words Unsteadily Will Live" by Fred Eerdekens

“Forever These Words Unsteadily Will Live” by Fred Eerdekens

Design Days 2014

Art Dubai opening night is TOMORROW night.

Right now, I feel like one of those vintage toys you wind up with a key RIGHT before placing on the floor … literally RARING to go !!!

BUT having said that …there are so many OTHER interesting fairs and exhibitions to check out during Art Season, such as Art Nights, Sikka, Christie’s and of course Design Days Dubai. Since I’m rather greedy, I want to see it ALL…I can relate to Aerosmith’s song…I (really) DONT wanna miss a THING!!!

So I set off bright and early (ish) to investigate Design Days first, followed by a quick browse at Christies to see the watch exhibition.

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A heads up for newbies – Design Days Dubai is the leading fair in the Middle East and South Asia dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. The fair presents design from leading international designers and galleries alongside up and coming design from across the world.

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I started with The Carpenter’s Gallery, which is from Paris.

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This amazingly innovative lighting installation is made from REAL dandelions and the lightbulbs are inside…creating a beautiful fuzzy soft glow! I’ve taken a close up so you can see it clearly!

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The designers, Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijin have used a combination of dandelion seeds, phosphorus bronze, LEDs, perspex and concrete to create it.

Now, I need to talk a little bit about this clock called The Grandfather Clock by Maarten Baas as it’s unbelievable. At first glance, I just thought it was a rather plain ordinary clock but after a few minutes …what appeared like a MAN from INSIDE the clock came from out of nowhere …erased out the minute handle and drew a new one..right before my eyes!!! It was so trippy that I actually felt startled!! After all…this kind of behavior is NOT something one expects from a clock! I’m glad a have a photo ..because I sound insane when describing it. As if I’ve had too much of grandma’s cough medicine.

Grandfather Clock View 1

Grandfather Clock View 2

The gallerist explained to me that this has been achieved with a video. The designer had filmed someone drawing the handles on from behind glass. The clock plays this video on loop as time goes on and apparently, the character rings a bell and does other things like has a cup of tea, too. I really love the way the designer has succeeded in animating the inanimate! Very creative!

Here are some other pieces by Carpenter!

"Chartres" Studio Job

“Chartres” Studio Job

"Monkey Business" Studio Job

“Monkey Business” Studio Job

Miracle Chips is an installation by Micheal Anastassiades which was presented by Carwan Gallery. The designer has achieved the impossible – making a heavy material such as marble appear paper thin and flexible. Anastassiades was inspired by red fortune telling cellophane fish you get at Christmas crackers, and wanted his pieces to retain the appearance of marble but appear to curl up and appear featherlight.

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Next Level Gallery in Paris, featured some stunning and unique limited edition light installations by Phileppe Malouin. I love the way the light appears to breaks and filter through the delicate brass maze creating scattered lighting effects.

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As well as this, I also loved this cleverly designed wall piece which can also be used to sit on. Designed by fashion and furniture designer Jose Levy, he created this set of 2 pieces after his visit to Kyoto where he got inspired by his oriental surroundings. He has used a material traditionally used as mats that are normally completely flat and has somehow moulded it into these statement sculptures.

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Creating imagery and visual effects through shadow and reflection, this installation was commissioned by Giles Miler Studio and presented by Capsule Arts. I love how the pieces spin and the optical illusion it creates. It constantly switches from exposing negative spaces to “closing up” into tighter compressed pieces.

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The next piece is from The Fabrik Lab, Hong Kong which is an installation by designer, Elaine Ng Yan Ling. She brings together textiles and electronics in a wonderfully creative way. Centered around biomimicry, she’s inspired by a certain resilient desert plant that constantly expands and changes according to the moisture in the air.

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Her organic and magical approach has been described as creating designs that move and grow like trees – but faster. It’s true, for it appeared as though her intricate wooden designs were morphing, curling and spinning before our eyes..literally coming alive. It is made from layers of smart veneer. I had the good fortune of speaking to the designer and she is so full of eloquence and passion. Here’s a photo of her in her “garden.”

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Like Ng Yan Ling, it seems that Paula Rodriguez from Nakkash gallery was ALSO inspired by biomimicry, when she created this chic nautilus shell-shaped storage and divider unit. I love the way it creates nooks for showing off your stuff as well as an artwork in itself. This sculptural piece is constructed with a wood frame and veneered in natural-finished bamboo.

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Another very patriotic and regionally inspired piece that caught my eye were these victory chairs designed by Omar Nakkesh. These quirky chairs incorporate the distinguishable salute invented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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There’s even an ascot “dressed” chair. Once again, adding animation to the inanimate and lending so much character!!

I would love to write more about ALL the furniture, but there is just TOO much to cover…so here are more photos of some other unmissable items at the fair, followed by some shots I took of some GORGEOUS jewelry from the Van Cleef and Arpel exhibition.

Enjoy!!!

Clear Edition Gallery

Clear Edition Gallery

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Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Tashkeel Gallery - rug made out of camel leather

Tashkeel Gallery – rug made out of camel leather

Carpenter Gallery

Carpenter Gallery

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PP Trees installation by Tom Price at Design Days Dubai! Made entirely from polypropylene pipes and cable ties

PP Trees installation by Tom Price at Design Days Dubai! Made entirely from polypropylene pipes and cable ties