A composition by Abdulqader Al Rais.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Dubai’s art world got an extra sparkle during the year beginning 2023, with the inauguration of its latest gallery, MRK Contemporary Art Gallery (Jan. 20), at Mazaya Centre.
Occupying two spaces there (SM 25 & SM 35), it is committed to the goal of celebrating and promoting pioneer Emirati artists and also the works of prodigy child artists, many of whom are Emiratis.
The gallery was inaugurated by Mohammed Al-Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library and former UAE Federal National Council Speaker.
“There are eclectic works from different Schools of Art, different ages, different areas,” Al-Murr pointed out. “We hope people who love art will find what they like and this is the first of many exhibitions,” he added, wishing success for the gallery.
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“Dubai can be described as an art hub, the hub of happiness and development and a melting pot of cultures,” said Meena Rao Kamal, well-known abstract landscape artist and Founder and Owner of her eponymous gallery.
She noted that the transformation of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates following the vision of its Founding Fathers and Rulers, has been documented by the pioneering Emirati artists, some of whose works are displayed in the gallery.
Emirati artists on the MRK roster include Dr Najat Makki, who is showing her acrylic works from her Coin I and Coin II series. Coin I is about birds, especially pigeons, who used to carry messages tied to their legs in the past. For Dr. Makki, this makes the birds storytellers. Coin II relates the forgotten story of a queen, now no longer recognisable through her portrait on a coin.
Emirati artist Abdulqader Al Rais is noted for his abstract forms that incorporate geometric forms and Arabic script. The use of floating squares across the canvas has become a signature feature of his works, which create illusions of depth. His staccato style proclaims the mobility of his paintings. Self-taught Emirati artist Faisal Abdulqader gave up his career in Finance to embrace art, his passion. Most of his paintings – mainly in oils, but also in watercolour, pencil sketches and acrylic – reflect the culture and heritage of the UAE.
Khalilabdul Wahid is an Emirati artist who works in video and painting. He is showing his series Artists’ Tools in the gallery. It is created from discarded brushes and the like, framed in boxes.
Fourteen-year-old Emirati artist Aisha Mohammed Abdulkareem works both digitally and in traditional formats. She presents fashion and also does portraits. Her comic-serious style, radiates positive vibes and she likes her art to represent the confidence, dreams and aspirations of the Emirati girl.
Twelve-year-old Hessa Mohammed Abdulkareem is inspired by her love of Sheikhs to create their portraits. Through them, she would like the world to know how far her country has travelled.
Emirati child artist Maitha Khalilabdul Wahid is motivated by the Sustainability mission of the UAE and expresses her thoughts and feelings on paper and digitally. She is open to opinion: she feels it helps her towards perfection.
MRK Contemporary is also showcasing Eurabian artists (European + Arabian), whose works are influenced by Arabic and Islamic features.
Dubai-based, Swiss artist Andre Meyerhans, for example, is an architect and jewellery maker, whose aim is to see ordinary things differently; Jack Lee from China, is an award winning artist who has been living in Abu Dhabi since 2006, where he spends most of his day with UAE nationals, learning and documenting their culture; Dutch artist Karel Stoop, whose abstract and expressive pieces are influenced by the universe and by Sufi Master Mevlana Rumi; North American artist Paul Morin, who has created portraits of the Rulers; Korean-American artist Creaye Lim, whose works are a combo of light and dark; James Bacchi from the USA, who is not only MRK art consultant but is also an artist well-known for his mobile photography; engineer-and-artist Khusro Subszwari, whose paintings arrange themselves on the principles of balance and texture; South Korean artist Zin Lin, known for his expressive and abstract portrait technique; Indian artist Usha Shukla, who paints flowers in the abstract; late photographer Jess Johnson, famed for capturing flowers and sculptures in natural light; Eunjung Koh from South Korea, whose artworks are a mixture of meticulousness and roughness; and the landscape abstracts of Meena Rao Kamal.
Kamal is Indian by nationality and is a patron of Bombay Art Society - India. She paints in oil on linen/canvas and mixed media on archival paper and wooden panels. Her works depict her enduring journey and experiences in handling geometric, organic shapes, with tactile textures done on a meditative colour palette; they are marked by spiritual features. She spends her creative time at her residences in San Francisco, USA; Dubai, U.A.E and in New Delhi and Mumbai in India.
Many of the works have been sourced from renowned international artists from the Americas, Europe and Asia. The opening was graced by Ambassadors, Consul Generals, Media, art institution leaders, businessmen, collectors, artists and art lovers. Besides marketing the work of local and international artists, MRK Contemporary also offers a range of masterpieces with a focus on the secondary market, in a collaboration with Bacchi. The gallery will advice clients on art acquisition and sale of private collections, offer special viewing experiences, and guide collectors and art aficionados in purchasing artwork on the basis of prior appointment for private viewing.
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