Reality Show by Fann A Porter Dubaiand ZAAT Beirut to focus on the now - GulfToday

Reality Show by Fann A Porter Dubai and ZAAT Beirut to focus on the now


A work from Arda Aslanian.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Fann A Porter Dubai in collaboration with ZAAT Beirut are presenting Reality Show (May 5 — June 30). The exhibition brings together a group of modern and contemporary artists from the Middle East who explore the complexities of contemporary times through various mediums of art. The show strives to offer a critical perspective on the current state of living conditions, political climate, social dynamics, and psychological landscapes.

During the opening reception, there will be a 10-minute theatre sketch titled Transient Dementia, adapted and directed by Walid Kowatli from the comedy play The Bald Soprano, starring Eliane Germanos and Osman Abou Baker.

Reality Show aims to create a dialogue on the current state of our society and the multiple realities that shape our lives. Through painting, sculpture, installation and video work, the artists offer their insights into the current global climate and the complexities of our times.


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The exhibition includes works by renowned artists like Ali El Ghul, Fouad Jawhar, Hamed Abdalla, Leila Nseir, Omran Al Kaysi, Abd Kasha, Ahmad Kasha, Arda Aslanian, Bader Mahasneh, Fatma Lootah, Hala Al Faisal, Jamil Kasha, Majd Kurdieh, Mayar Obeido, Mazen Rifai, Melissa Chalhoub, Mohammad Al Hawajiri, Mohammad Ramadan, Omar Khouri, Omran Younes, Othman Shihab, Rabee Kiwan, Rima Moukahal, Shahd Al Rez, Salah Hreeb, Shereen Audi, Sundus Alibrahim, Taghlib Oweis, Tamim Sibai, Will Iskandar and Zena Assi. Each of them bring their own perspective on the world, and their works speak of the challenges we face as a society. Reality Show could be a timely exhibition that challenges us to think critically about the world we live in. It invites us to engage with the complexities of our times and to reflect on the multiple realities that shape our lives.

Those who do not know much about contemporary art but would like to know more about it, could take inspiration from the Walker Art Center’s definition. The Minneapolis based art behemoth describes contemporary art as “the art made today by living artists. As such, it reflects the complex issues that shape our diverse, global, and rapidly changing world. “Through their work, many contemporary artists explore personal or cultural identity, offer critiques of social and institutional structures, or even attempt to redefine art itself. In the process, they often raise difficult or thought-provoking questions without providing easy answers. Curiosity, an open mind, and a commitment to dialogue and debate are the best tools with which to approach a work of contemporary art.” Or he or she could go to ready reckoner Wikipedia (which has replaced the Thesaurus and the Dictionary in contemporary times) for guidance. “Contemporary art,” opines the electronic scholar (or the wannabe scholar) “is the art of today, produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century.

Untitled work from Taghlib Oweis in Carrara marble.

“Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse and technologically advancing world. Their art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that continue the challenging of boundaries that was already well underway in the 20th century.

“Diverse and eclectic, contemporary art as a whole is distinguished by the very lack of a uniform, organising principle, ideology, or an “-ism”. Contemporary art is part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family, community, and nationality.” ZAAT is a multi-disciplinary platform created to promote and empower artists and designers. By offering a place for collectors to buy, sell and trade work that ranges in styles, movements and eras, ZAAT reinvests into showcasing and supporting the production of contemporary work.

Coming from the Arabic root meaning one, essence, self, it is ZAAT’s mandate to uphold the integrity of the art and artists. Specialising in art from the Arab world, ZAAT, the digital platform, also curates events, advises clients interested in buying new work and consults on currently owned pieces.

The platform continually expands with new artists and seeks out designers with social narratives and ethical production. Conceived as a place to connect art enthusiasts and artists, ZAAT aims to make art more approachable and understandable while supporting artists.

Fann A Porter is a contemporary art gallery at The Workshop Dubai that represents a diverse selection of emerging international and regional artists. The gallery aims to nurture the burgeoning and dynamic contemporary art scene through quality exhibitions, non-profit events, auctions, and an active community programme. The gallery’s exhibition schedule includes eight curated exhibitions a year, and features artists working across diverse media. Fann A Porter has established a series of dialogues and collaborations with curators, writers, governmental entities, and institutions to support the long-term development of young contemporary artists from the Middle East.By hosting a regular public programming including exhibitions, talks, non-profit and charitable initiatives and by participating in fairs, it has made a name for itself in the region’s arts landscape. Founded in 2006 by Ghada Kunash, Fann A Porter is an inter-disciplinary community space consisting of an art gallery, a sustainable store, design studio, and a cafe.

The Workshop, which hosts Fann A Porter, aims to engage audiences and support the development of Dubai’s arts scene through its programmes, educational initiatives and community projects.


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