Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art has opened four unique exhibitions yesterday, which discuss an array of thought-provoking themes spanning different generations and contexts.
The shows, which form part of Mathaf’s fall programme, will be open to the public from today (October 17) and runs until February 16, 2019.
Dubbed as Revolution Generations, the first exhibition showcases 29 artists from the Arab World, Turkey, Iran and diaspora, looking at important moments of change in the history of modern and contemporary art.
The works focus on the 1950s-1960s post-independence eras; a period between 1970s and 1990s, and the 2000s pre-revolutions decades when underground artistic movements developed in the region in response to the absence of freedom of expression. “Revolution Generations is a historical narrative that celebrates a generation of artists that dared to go against the status quo and who were vital actors of cultural and social change in their respective surroundings. It looks at their lives, thoughts and the dreams that shaped their work,” said Mathaf director Abdellah Karroum, who is also the curator of the exhibition. The exhibition is presented in three parts and begins by telling the story of the region’s fight for independence in the 1950s, using art to express new languages and thoughts. Mathaf is also showcasing the exhibition titled Mounira al-Solh exhibition, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, curated by Hendrik Folkerts (Dittmer curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago) and Laura Barlow (Mathaf curator).
The second show features over 150 drawings and embroideries that document deeply personal encounters and conversations between al-Solh and Syrian refugees, as well as other people from the Middle East who were forcibly displaced to Lebanon, Europe and the United States.
“I started inviting people over to my studio, to welcome them in my own medium, drawing their amazing faces that carried so much strength and resilience,” al-Solh said.
“After six years of continuing this work, I am more aware of how faces tell a story that is as powerful as each person’s story, their ideas about life, aspirations, and how we can go on, wherever we have ended up,” she added.
Mathaf also opened two focus exhibitions, Fateh al-Moudarres: Colour, Extensity and Sense, guest curated by Sara Raza (Independent Curator), and Jassim Zaini: Representation and Abstraction, curated by Fatma Mostafawi (Mathaf). Al-Moudarres presents a posthumous view into the oeuvre of this modernist artist’s studio practice while Zaini features a focused view of the works of a pioneering Qatari modernist.