x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

JAMM pumps up the volume on regional art

The Emirati artist Fatema Al Mazrouie is among 60 Arab, Iranian and international artists to be featured in the third annual JAMM art auction in Kuwait this month.

The UAE artist Fatema Al Mazrouie's work Arabic Calligraphy, created using acryllic and mixed media on wood covered with canvas. Courtesy JAMM
The UAE artist Fatema Al Mazrouie's work Arabic Calligraphy, created using acryllic and mixed media on wood covered with canvas. Courtesy JAMM

Some 60 artworks by contemporary Arab, Iranian and international artists are expected to be featured in JAMM's third annual auction in Kuwait this month. The event is supported by TAG Heuer and will be held on Thursday at the Contemporary Art Platform in Kuwait, with a pre-sale viewing to be held on Wednesday.

A new generation of art collectors

JAMM aims to provide collectors across the GCC with an opportunity to start building or add to their current collections, with some pieces expected to be auctioned for less than US$10,000 (Dh36,730).

The increase in young artists and collectors is a fundamental aspect of a developing society, according to the Emirati artist Fatema Al Mazrouie, whose work will be featured at the auction.

"This is one of the most important art events and it's the second time I've been featured at an auction in the Gulf, the last one being Sotheby's in Qatar last year," she says. "Over the past five years, there has been a continuous development in art collectors. The JAMM auction is a main place for art collectors who feel the pieces are important and are good investments."

Since falling in love with art at the age of 5, Al Mazrouie paints whenever an idea comes to her, as opposed to waiting for an exhibition. She's now in her 20s and her work has been exhibited around the world in countries including Italy. Each of her pieces currently sells for between Dh30,000 and Dh37,000. Her work can also be found at the Salwa Zeidan Gallery in Abu Dhabi.

"Art is an important feature in the future vision of the UAE, mainly in Abu Dhabi which is establishing itself as a cultural city," says Al Mazrouie. "When I travel abroad, I notice there is a growing interest in art coming from the region."

Mixed art

Al Mazrouie describes the piece she will auction as her "favourite" creation. It is a colourful work that focuses on the art of calligraphy in the Arab world, with a touch of the old Islamic style of art.

Sometimes, an idea cannot be expressed using one particular style, she says. "I feel like it is the one piece which really captures my style and the theories I explore in my work," she says.

These theories are mainly related to women in Islam and across the Arab world - about issues relating to their lifestyles and the societies in which they live.

"I use the calligraphy with mixed media as a supporting element - the result is like a collage. Art is like any other medium but not everything can be described or treated. It is important because it helps shine a spotlight on various issues."

Al Mazrouie's first artwork was a portrait of a woman from the UAE. She was 9 years old when she made it and still keeps the piece among her possessions.

Al Mazrouie is now working towards taking her art around the world and recommends those with a talent to recognise their skill and to harness it.

"It's important to develop yourself, to continue working and learning," she says. "When I paint, I don't think about anything else. I am not just working for myself, but for my country, too."

Featured artists

Other highlights of the auction include Amira Behbehani's recent oil painting Study of Francis Bacon (Man in Blue). It is inspired by a series of seven deep-blue canvases that the British artist painted in 1954 and seeks to engage a debate on the political and religious views of wearing the abaya.

Other pieces include The Garden Party, an oil painting by the Iranian painter and musician Reza Derakshani, and the three wall-mounted sculptures and suspended installations by the Pakistani artist Simeen Farhat, which were inspired by Rumi's poems. The international artists include Rachel Lee Hovnanian and her photograph Fake Flowers, Living Room. Another highlight is a unique print of Bert Stern's Marilyn in Red Scarf - a photograph of Marilyn Monroe from the famous Last Sitting with hand-applied jewels, in addition to the Mashrabia Cabana, by the Swiss architect and designer André C Meyerhans.

• For further details, visit www.jamm-art.org.

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