Art Dubai 2021

29 March – 3 April, 2021
Financial Centre (DIFC)

Zawyeh Gallery features three Palestinian artists at Art Dubai this year: Yazan Abu Salameh, Ruba Salameh, and Bashar Alhroub. They participate in projects discussing politics and childhood while using a variety of materials.

The emerging young artist Yazan Abu Salameh examines home and separation. He uses a mixture of materials such as concrete, pebbles, and wires mixed with Lego blocks and drawings. He places colorful Lego blocks with smooth plastic texture next to the rough grey concrete, to highlight the fragility of life and emphasize its contradictions. His concrete artworks can be seen as miniature maps that reflect remnants of childhood memories, concrete blockades and watch tours, as well as Palestinian neighborhoods from a bird’s eye view. In many instances, he directs the attention of the viewer to a certain spot on the surface of his artwork by drawing a circle. The circle acts as a magnifying glass, pointing towards what might be his location on “the map” or perhaps his vision of what is the focal point on the canvas, where viewers should focus their gaze.

Ruba Salameh, on the other hand, participates with works from her latest series, “Tensegrity,” executed with acrylic on linen. In this project, Ruba breaks the rules and breaks free from the authority of the art form. She builds geometrical shapes and distributes them carefully around the canvas, then rather unexpectedly introduces hordes of ants around them. The ants gather in the corners as if stuck in search of their nest or are scattering around in conflicting paths. In a sense, one can feel these ants as an extraterrestrial element imposed on the artworks to disrupt the neat symmetrical aesthetic arrangement, although as organic creatures of the earth, their presence on a piece of natural linen canvas shouldn’t be viewed as disruptive. Ruba plays on this contradiction consciously, putting ants in the center of attention, despite their discrete existence on the canvas, similar to their organic discrete survival on earth.

In his series of artworks titled “My Son’s World”, Bashar Alhroub continues experimenting with the spherical shape, but this time by placing his son’s tiny toys similar in color on top of each shape. The aesthetics of his project can be viewed as a continuation of his previous project, “War and Desire,” where he placed golden toy soldiers on several spherical shapes. Yet the colorfulness of this series tells the story of the world or, in specific, a world that his son dreams of living in and perhaps attempts to predict the future. A spherical shape resembles, to a great extent, a crystal ball, or a fortune-telling object that can predict the future. In this sense, the artist might have been attempting to predict his son’s future, and it might also be wishful thinking given wars and pandemics permeating our world at the moment. It is also rooted in the constant search for his inner self through visual memoirs and now through fortune telling. This project can also be viewed as a continuation of Bashar’s interest in the subject of Saints and Sufism which he previously presented through a series of art projects.