Dreaming Tomorrow by Helen Zughaib, in archival pigment print.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Emergeast, one of the MENA region’s leading online art galleries, has launched an online group exhibition titled Dreaming Tomorrow. Curated by Dima Abdul Kader and Nikki Meftah, it went live on February 1, at Emergeast.com. Dreaming Tomorrow reflects the ever-evolving quest of self-exploration. It invites the viewer to embark on a journey of collective transformation, of shedding and renewal. “Through the portrayals of shared struggles and empathy to empowering visions into the void, Dreaming Tomorrow showcases 22 artworks that uniquely steer us away from the usual sobering events and shed light on the emergence of collective hope and optimism for a better future,” say the curators.
“The selection of works present a multifaceted way of looking within and navigating our internal dialogue, to cultivate and release all that’s holding us back,” they add. “The message for 2022 seems bright and beautiful as we harness the power within to open doors to a beautiful tomorrow.”
From Lara Zankoul’s signature photographic surrealism to Henri Abraham Univers’ internationally-acclaimed cosmic paintings, each work reflects a message of rebirth and expansion.
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The exhibition brings together pieces of the artists’ personal experience over the re-defining past two years. Participating artist M’hammed Kilito says: “I think it’s a beautifully thought-out theme and a great selection of artwork. “My work, Musical introspection, Fiction of Reality series, was inspired by the initial months of the pandemic, when my father would wait for better days by spending most of his time playing Oud and immersing himself in the pleasant recollections of his childhood, by listening to and performing traditional Arabic music, like Oum Kalthoum and Mohamed Abdelwahab.”
Kilito’s work is one of various others in the exhibition that highlight a common theme of introspection, by a process of self-reflection. Inspired by Helen Zughaib’s participating work, Dreaming Tomorrow, the show juxtaposes present human experiences with that of its greater potential, “reminding us that with a simple gaze at the moon, the possibilities of expansion through self-love are limitless.” Didn’t Rumi say that “love is everything and we are the pieces”?
Participating artists include Ahoo Hamedi, Amelia Hadouchi, Anas Homsi, Awanle Ayiboro Hawa Ali, Elham Etemadi, Estabrak, Haibat Balaa Bawab, Helen Zughaib, Henri Abraham Univers, Keyvan Heydari Shovir, Lara Zankoul M Smart, Malak Mattar, Mays Al Moosawi, Mehrdad Jafari, M’hammed Kilito, Noor Abuissa, Sara Tohme, Sasan Nasernia, Taher Jaoui, Tarik Chebli and Yassine Alaoui Ismaili.
“‘Orbit’ is part of a series entitled ‘Dream’ where I try to push the boundaries of photographic surrealism,” says Zankoul. “This specific piece has been captured in our family home in the South of Lebanon, in Hasbaya. “It is a self-portrait, portraying a woman (performed by myself) levitating in orbit, with what looks like a planet. This piece tackles the idea of letting go, of full acceptance of what is, of the collective consciousness. “It is only by losing any kind of resistance that we become one with the universe, that we rise above and become enlightened.”
Univers, who presents the acrylic on canvas work titled Terrestrial Balance, says that “in my mind, this trinity reflects the harmony of the earth, sun, and moon.
“The three components required for our planet to function and guide life on Earth. The spider — the weaver of love — clutches a heart engraved with the words “I breathe in.” “It inspires love by spinning its web and captures people, not to eat them but to adore them. “The white thread ties the letters T-I-M-E-L-E-S-S - regardless of what happens in the world, the sky and stars will always be present, willing humanity’s love and oneness.” Zughaib states that “as our world got smaller over the past few years, I loved to look out from our balcony, see the vastness of nature and note the changing cycles of the moon.
“Somehow I felt more connected, though still in isolation much of the time. The moon, to me, is a symbol of renewal, regeneration, stability and hope, as we look towards tomorrow and our dreams are realised.” Emergeast champions emerging and mid-career Middle Eastern and North African artists, while empowering the latest generation of collectors through storytelling. Through a curated selection of MENA artists, its mission is to facilitate a platform designed for cross-cultural dialogue between art curators and collectors — both young and established – with a growing number of artists from the region.
The gallery aims to break down the barriers to art collecting, by facilitating access to promising artists from the region at accessible prices. With a vision of becoming the region’s chosen cultural lifestyle destination, it looks for innovative ways to deepen the connection between artists, inspiring them and the larger art community. “Emergeast’s essence lies in collaboration and elevating the collective consciousness by enhancing everyday life through art and beauty,” say Kader and Meftah, who are also gallery Founders. Kader is Palestinian, born and raised in Doha. She studied in British schools, followed by an undergrad and Masters degree from Montreal and London, respectively. Her identity is rooted in her Middle Eastern background and shaped by Western influences of school, pop culture and media, plus more. Meftah is an Iranian-born Londoner, educated in a French school. She grew up surrounded by Persian and Islamic art, poetry and music at home, against a Western backdrop. Discover Emergeast @emergeast www.emergeast.com and email@example.com
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