Five decades of contemporary Iranian art makes landfall in Dubai from USA - GulfToday

Five decades of contemporary Iranian art makes landfall in Dubai from USA

The collection has works by influential artists and cultural figures.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Art Jameel, the organisation that supports artists and creative communities, has announced the opening of Some seasons: Fereydoun Ave and the Laal Collection, 1959 — 2019 (Sept. 27 — Mar. 24, 2024) at Jameel Arts Centre, one of Dubai’s hubs for contemporary art and ideas. Showcasing five decades of artist, curator, designer and collector Fereydoun Ave’s collection of modern and contemporary Iranian art, the group exhibition brings together over 37 artists and features paintings, sculpture, works on paper and archival material as well as polaroid portraits of and by influential artists and cultural figures.

It provides a unique vantage onto the fascinating — and contested — cultural history of 20th and 21st century Iran. Originally conceived by the Carnegie Museum of Art for the 58th Carnegie International (Sept. 24, 2022 — April 2, 2023), Some seasons is curated by Negar Azimi and Sohrab Mohebbi with Talia Heiman. Over the past five decades, Ave, who is an established artist himself, has assembled a collection formed by personal history, friendship, sensibility and circumstance.

The Jameel Arts Centre iteration unfolds across Gallery 9 and 10 and is presented roughly in three epochs: the late Pahlavi period, the early revolutionary era, and the last 20 years. The exhibition aims to offer uncommon insights into histories of art production and circulation in Iran from the late 1950s to the present. Featured artists are Ali Golastaneh, Amirhossein Esmaili, Arash Hanaei, Ardeshir Mohasses, Ashurbanipal Babilla, Behjat Sadr, Bijan Saffari, Bita Fayyazi, Cy Twombly, Davood Emdadian, Farhad Moshiri, Haydeh Ayazi, Hossein-Ali Zabehi, Houman Mortazavi, Iman Raad, Khosrow Hasanzadeh, Leyly Matine-Daftary, Mamali Shafahi, Manouchehr Yektai, Monir Sharoudy Farmanfarmaian, Michaelis Makroulakis, Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam, Mostafa Sarabi, Nazgol Ansarinia, Nikzad Nodjoumi, Parvaneh Etemadi, Raana Farnoud, Ramin Haerizadeh, Reza Shafahi, Rokni Haerizadeh, Sadra Baniasadi, Shahab Fotouhi, Shideh Tami, Shirin Aliabadi, Sirak Melkonian, Yaghoub Amaemehpich, Yashar Samimi Mofakham.

 The collection has an inspiring history.


Ave (b. 1945) serves as both subject and cipher of the presentation. A linchpin figure, he returned to Iran in 1970 after years of education abroad, organising groundbreaking exhibitions at the Iran-America Society’s Tehran cultural centre and the Zand Gallery, while also serving as resident designer at the avant-garde Theater Workshop (Kargah-e Namayesh). He remained in Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, where he went on to launch 13 Vanak, considered an irreverent independent arts space in the disused garden shed of an iconic Tehran square.

13 Vanak ran for over two decades: it incubated and launched the careers of countless artists. In the 2000s, Ave spent some years in Dubai where he was an influential patron, curator and artist. Ave’s works are included, among others, in the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Contemporary Art Museum, Tehran; the British Museum, London and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Some seasons opens September 27 with a conversation featuring Ave, led by exhibition co-curators Azimi and Mohebbi with designer Aria Kasaei and artist Nazgol Ansarinia.

 Fereydoun Ave’s collection is being shown in Jameel Arts Centre.


In 1895, Andrew Carnegie, the Scotland-born philanthropist and titan of the steel industry, founded the Carnegie Institute - now Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh - alongside Carnegie Library in a shared building in the heart of the Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Conceived as a gift to the city and dedicated to the pursuits of art, music, literature and natural science, Carnegie’s “monument”, as he called it, immediately became one of the most significant cultural institutions in the nation.

Carnegie Museum of Art is one of four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, along with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center and The Andy Warhol Museum. Together, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh strive to preserve and expand the resources of art and science as agents of personal growth and social advancement in Pittsburgh and beyond. Since 1896, Carnegie International has been Carnegie Museum of Art’s most significant exhibition as well as its leading contribution to the field.

 An installation view of the artworks.


One of the first contemporary arts institutions in Dubai, Jameel Arts Centre presents curated solo and group exhibitions, drawn both from the Art Jameel Collection and through regional and international collaborations. It is a 10,000-square metre, three-storey, multi-disciplinary space designed by UK-based practice Serie Architects. The building has seven gardens, designed by landscape architect Anouk Vogel, reflecting local and global desert biomes. Sitting alongside is the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park, designed by waiwai, and a collaboration between Art Jameel and Dubai Holding.

Located by the creek in Dubai’s Jaddaf Waterfront neighbourhood, Jameel galleries are complemented by the Jameel Library, an open-access research centre dedicated to artists and cultural movements in the Gulf States and beyond. The Jameel also includes project and commissions spaces, a writer’s studio, an artisan seasonal dining concept ‘Teible’ and the Art Jameel Shop. The Centre serves as a hub for educational and research initiatives for diverse audiences. Its wider programming embraces partnerships with local, regional and international artists, curators and organisations.

Art Jameel supports artists and creative communities. Founded and supported by the Jameel family philanthropies, the independent organisation is headquartered in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and works globally. Its programmes — across exhibitions, commissions, research, learning and community-building — are grounded in an understanding of the arts as fundamental to life and accessible to all. Art Jameel’s two institutions — Hayy Jameel, a dedicated complex for the arts and creativity in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai — are complemented by digital initiatives plus collaborations with major institutional partners and a network of practitioners across the world. 


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