Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 March 2018

Dubai galleries to show in New York

The Menam section is spread over two piers in central Manhattan and features artworks from Dubai’s Meem and Lawrie Shabibi galleries.

Wafaa Bilal, Chandelier, Ashes Series. Courtesy Meem Gallery
Wafaa Bilal, Chandelier, Ashes Series. Courtesy Meem Gallery

Two UAE galleries will ­participate in The Armory Show in New York in March, in a special Focus section that will train the spotlight on art from the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean, together known as Menam.

The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair, is one of the most important global art events and takes place every March on two piers in central Manhattan.

Curated by the British-­Egyptian Omar Kholeif, who is the guest curator for next year’s Abraaj Group Art Prize that culminates at Art Dubai, the Menam section is spread over the two piers and features artworks from Dubai’s Meem and Lawrie Shabibi galleries. It will also showcase work sent in by two Istanbul galleries – Galerist and Galeri NON. Other art spaces in the line-up are Gypsum Gallery from Cairo (it has the distinction of being the first Egyptian gallery to exhibit at The Armory Show), Taymour Grahne from New York and Claude Lemand from Paris.

Meem Gallery will show the work of the Syrian artist Marwan Kassab Bachi, known simply as Marwan, whose retrospective recently opened in Sharjah. His work is easily distinguished by its style and utilises themes that recur within his portfolio of portraits, figures and silhouettes. By bringing together important works by Marwan from the 1960s to the 1990s, the ­gallery will curate a focused collection that exemplifies the artist’s practice.

Lawrie Shabibi gallery will show a new work by the Iraqi-­American artist Wafaa Bilal, whose famous works include The Ashes Series. The series, which Bilal began in 2003 after the American invasion of Iraq, features works using images ­depicting destruction to create a new set of visual narratives.

Noah Horowitz, the Armory Show’s director, says: “In New York there are a few galleries and institutions that have been active with Middle Eastern artists for a few years but truly it is not at the level of other parts of the world – say London or Europe – and what the Armory is trying to do is serve as a catalyst or platform to give greater ­visibility and recognition to what’s happening here.”

The Armory Show Focus is presented in collaboration with Edge of ­Arabia and education partner Art Jameel.

• The Armory Show takes place from March 5 to 8 at Piers 92 & 94 in Manhattan, New York. For more information and full list of the participating galleries, visit www.thearmoryshow.com