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In Dubai, an art show’s return reflects city’s new normal – 570 News

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — It was a scene reminiscent of pre-pandemic Dubai: Art lovers dressed in designer clothes or alternative fashion, walking around in one of the city’s many swanky locations. Bloggers, VIPs and influencers filming on their mobile phones. People mingling and laughing.

The only difference? They all wore masks.

After being cancelled in March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Art Dubai returned this week to the sunbaked desert metropolis it calls home, becoming one of the first in-person international art fairs of 2021. The show is part of the city-state’s efforts to reopen to international trade and tourism that power its economy.

“Art Dubai was the first art fair to be cancelled, just when the pandemic started” and now it’s the first to be back live, said Pablo del Val, the show’s artistic director.

“I think it’s been an emotional, fantastic moment,” he added. “I think everyone was looking forward to stop looking to screens and having a physical relationship with a work of art.”

This year’s installment is different, however. Typically held at the vast conference space of Madinat Jumeirah in the shadow of Dubai’s iconic, sail-shaped Burj al-Arab hotel, the 2021 event instead came to Dubai International Financial Center. Temporary galleries sprung up around the centre’s Gate House, the landmark structure at the business hub.

Signs of the pandemic are still everywhere: Social-distancing signs and hand sanitizer dispensers stand visible in the tents housing the galleries. People attending the fair can book a specific time slot in advance to guarantee their entry. Those worried about being around a crowd can take a virtual tour of the fair from home.

Even some of the art is teleconferencing into the event. Art Dubai introduced a program allowing galleries unable to travel to Dubai to connect to visitors via video.

The fair features 50 contemporary and modern galleries from 31 countries, specializing in regions that are not main players on the international art scene. It also focuses on artists from the Middle East.

One of them is Rashed al-Shashai, a prominent figure of the contemporary Saudi art scene. He recently designed a piece entitled Concise Passage, 2020 in the kingdom’s al-Ula historical district — a feature made of shipping crates divided by a pink-lighted walkway symbolizing a region that was once a key stop on an incense trade route linking Arabia to Asia.

“Taking part in this fair shows the determination of art to be part of bringing life back to normal, for people and humanity,” al-Shashai said. “It helps people live in a better way, even when there are disasters and tragedies happening in the world.”

As Dubai went into a lockdown in early 2020, the city’s big events shut down, along with its long-haul carrier Emirates. The autocratically ruled emirate moved aggressively to reopen in July to tourists. Coronavirus numbers however spiked to levels unseen following New Year’s Eve. Other countries also blamed Dubai for outbreaks of coronavirus variants.

Since then, reported daily new infection numbers have dropped to over 2,000, from highs of nearly 4,000 at the worst of the winter. The United Arab Emirates is vaccinating at one of the quickest rates in the world, hoping to be ready for Dubai hosting its Expo 2020 world’s fair in October, after the pandemic forced a delay of the event last year.

With airlines flying again, big events back on the calendar, and bars and restaurants open to residents and tourists — albeit masked when not eating or drinking — the UAE hopes to power through the rest of the pandemic.

“Corona changed life as a whole,” al-Shashai said. “I found that people are just waiting for a chance to come back, and they will, and they will rebuild, and they will forget everything that happened, and it will all become tales to be told.”

The pandemic also featured in the art exhibited in the show. One piece, a giant outdoor display reading “NEWS: IT WON’T BE LIKE THIS FOREVER” drew many a selfie.

“I think that culture is something that should never be cancelled and I think it doesn’t matter the times that you’re going through,” del Val said. “I think it’s a way that we can really interrelate with each other and where our senses and our positiveness come back to life.”

“I think that one of the magics that Art Dubai is managing this week is precisely that … bringing people (into) a completely different state of mind,” he added.

“We are becoming humans again.”

___

Follow Malak Harb on Twitter at www.twitter.com/malakharb.

Malak Harb, The Associated Press

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat

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Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.

“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.

Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.

“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”

The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.

Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.

“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”

Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.

April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.

Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.


Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Isabella Buchner

Isabella Buchner

Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is a book that has been a long time coming, Mireille Eagan says.

While working at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Eagan curated an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Confederation with Canada.

“As I was researching, I noticed that there was very little that existed in terms of the art history of this province,” she said. “There wasn’t even a Wikipedia article.”

Noticing this large gap, “Future Possible” was a book that needed to exist, she said.

As the 70th anniversary approached in 2019, Eagan, now living in St. John’s and working as curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, envisioned filling that gap.

Over two summers, The Rooms held a two-part exhibition. The first looked at the visual culture and visual narratives before the province joined Confederation and the second focused on 1949 onward, Eagan said.

“At its core, it was asking, what are the stories we tell ourselves as a province? It was looking at iconic artworks, it was looking at texts that have been written about this place, and it put these works in conversation with contemporary artworks,” Eagan said.

In the foreword to the book, chief executive officer of The Rooms Anne Chafe described it as a complement to the exhibition and a project that “does not seek to be the final say. It seeks, instead, to launch the conversation.”

History and identity

One example of that conversation between the past and the present mentioned by Eagan is the work of artist Bushra Junaid, who moved to St. John’s from Montreal as a baby. The daughter of a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father, Junaid said her experience growing up in the province in the 1970s, where she always the only Black child in the room, was not like most.

“All of my formative years, my schooling and everything, took place in St. John’s,” she said. “It’s very much shaped my current preoccupation.”

Her interest in history, identity and representation led her to making “Two Pretty Girls…,” which used an archival photograph of Caribbean sugarcane workers from 1903 with text from advertisements for sugar, molasses and rum from archived copies of The Evening Telegram collaged over the women’s clothing.

In her essay “Of Saltfish and Molasses” published in “Future Possible,” she described the work as “(allowing) me to place these women and their labour within the broader historical context of the international trade in commodities that underpinned Caribbean slavery and its afterlife.”

It’s a direct connection between Newfoundland and people in the Caribbean, a historical line not often drawn through the context of the transatlantic slave trade, but one she knows personally through the stories told by her mother, Adassa, about their ancestor, Sisa, who “as a teenager, survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, enduring the voyage from West Africa to Jamaica in the hold of a slave ship (Junaid).”

A book like “Future Possible” allows people to interpret themselves and their past, present and future, Junaid says.

“I appreciate the ways in which they really worked to make it as broad and diverse as possible,” she said. “It’s also striving to tell the Indigenous history of the place, the European settler history … and then also looking for … non-Western backgrounds such as myself. It’s enriching.”

What shapes us

St. John’s writer Lisa Moore contributed an essay called “Five Specimens from Another Time” that weaves together moments from her own life, the province’s history and current realities and the art that has inspired her over the years.

“It’s really interesting to me to see all this work of people that I’ve written about in the past and whose work influenced me, even in my writing of fiction, and then newer artists,” Moore said. “I just think that the book is a total gift.”

With such a rich cultural history ready to be written, she imagines “Future Possible” is just the first of what could be many books about art in the province now that the “ice is cracked.”

“The writers that (Eagan) has chosen to write here are also really exciting critics from all over the province, talking about all kind of different periods in art history,” she said.

As time passes, the meaning of the works in the book becomes richer, she said.

Mary Pratt’s 1974 “Cod Fillets on Tin Foil” and Scott Goudie’s 1991 “Muskrat Falls,” for instance, are two images with seemingly straightforward and simple subject matter. But any viewer looking now, who is aware of the cod moratorium and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, would find it difficult to see and interpret these images outside of those contexts.

“Artists, writers, filmmakers … they’re keen observers of culture and the moment that we live in,” Moore said. “They present things that are intangible like the feeling of a moment, or the culmination of social, political and esthetic powers that come together at a given time and shape us.”

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is available online and in stores.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman

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Source:- TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Article content

WENDY RAYSON-KERR

Feeling stir crazy because of COVID and the latest lock-down? Take a virtual trip to Morocco!

On Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Parrott Gallery will host Lola Reid Allin’s Armchair Traveler online presentation: “Morocco: Sea, Sand and Summit”. Allin is an accomplished photographer, pilot, writer and speaker. Travel with her through the land of dramatic contrast and hidden jewels, busy markets and medieval cities, and enjoy some virtual sun.

For more information and to register for this free online event, please visit bellevillelibrary.ca/armchair-traveller.php. The Armchair Traveller Morocco photography exhibit is also available to view through the Parrott Gallery website until mid-May.

Even though our gallery is currently closed to the public, our exhibitions are all available to view online. Sam Sakr’s show “The Housing Project” is certain to bring a smile to your face. His collection of mixed media artwork will take you to a playful land of fantastical creatures that inhabit imaginary, stylized cityscapes. If your spirit needs uplifting, you need to see to see this show. I hope that everyone will be able to view Sakr’s work both online and then in our gallery after the lock-down ends in May. Without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see it again in-person when we re-open.

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Another exhibition that you can currently visit on the Parrott Gallery website is the group show “Spring Sentiments: a Reflection of Art in Isolation”. This was a collaborative effort by the 39 artists who submitted their work, our staff who put the show together in the gallery and online, and our guest curator Jessica Turner. We are thrilled that Jessica was able to transcribe her experience with this show into a final paper for her Curatorial Studies BFA degree at OCADU.

The fact that we have had to close our doors just as this show was opening is a sad reflection of the theme as the audience must now reflect on this artwork at home, in isolation. The up-side to viewing this exhibition online is that one can read the artist statements that accompany the work and get a more in depth view of the artists’ perspectives. We encourage viewers to support our artists by sending in their comments and to vote for their favourites in the show by following the appropriate link on the webpage.

When you can’t come in to our building, the Parrott Gallery will bring the artwork to you. And then when the sun and flowers come out in May, and when it is safe to return to our gallery on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, we hope to see you all again.

For questions about our online talk, our shows, or to purchase any of the artwork please call us at 613-968-6731 x 2040 or email us at gallery@bellevillelibrary.ca.

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

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