E-Issue 05 –– VCE
Fall 2022

September 5th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in VCE
  3. Pop(Corn): UAE National Pavilion
  4. Rapport: Venice
  5. Zeitgeist of our Time: Füsun Onur for the Turkish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
  6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
  7. Strangers to the Museum Wall: Kehinde Wiley’s Venice Exhibition Speaks of Violence and Portraiture
  8. Questioning Everyday Life: Alluvium by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at OGR Torino in Venice

E-05++
Fall/Winter 2022-23


Artist Interview January 19th, 2023
NYC Reflecting on Her Southwestern Chinese Bai Roots, Peishan Huang Captures Human Traces on Objects and Spaces

Artist Interview January 8th, 2023 
TYO Shu Yonezawa and the Art of Animation

Artist Interview December 9th, 2022
DXB Navjot Altaf Unpacks Eco-Feminism and Post-Pandemic Reality at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition December 2nd, 2022
TYO Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo

Exhibition November 11th, 2022
TYO
“Atami Blues” Brings Together UAE-Based and Japanese Artists in HOTEL ACAO ANNEX



E-Issue 04 –– IST 
Spring 2022

March 15th, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in IST
  3. Pop(Corn): Refik Anadol
  4. Rapport: Istanbul
  5. Independent Spaces in Istanbul: Sarp Özer on Operating AVTO


E-04++ 
Spring/Summer 2022


Curator Interview July 9th, 2022
IST Creating an Artist Books Library in Istanbul: Aslı Özdoyuran on BAS

Market Interview June 28th, 2022
HK 
How Pearl Lam Built Her Gallery Between China and Europe

Exhibition June 27th, 2022
UAE
What’s On in the UAE: Our Top Summer Picks

Exhibition June 21st, 2022
DXB Art Jameel Joins The World Weather Network in a Groundbreaking Response to Global Climate Crisis

Artist Interview June 13th, 2022
DXB “Geometry is Everywhere”: An Interview and Walking Tour of Order of Magnitude, Jitish Kallat’s Solo Exhibition at Dubai’s Ishara Art Foundation

Artist Interview May 13th, 2022
DXB 
“We Are Witnessing History”: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian On Their Retrospective Exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Exhibition May 6th, 2022
IST
 Istanbul’s 5533 Presents Nazlı Khoshkhabar’s “Around and Round”

Exhibition April 23rd, 2022
HK Startbahn Presents “Made in Japan 3.0: Defining a New Phy-gital Reality”, an NFT Pop-Up at K11 Art Mall

Market Interview March 28th, 2022
DXB Dubai's Postmodern Architecture: Constructing the Future with 3dr Models

Curator Interview March 21st, 2022

E-Issue 03 –– TYO 
Fall 2021

October 1st, 2022



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in TYO
  3. Pop(Corn): Nimyu
  4. Ahmad The Japanese: Bady Dalloul on Japan and Belonging
  5. Rapport: Tokyo 
  6. Alexandre Taalba Redefines Virtuality at The 5th Floor
  7. Imagining Distant Ecologies in Hypersonic Tokyo: A Review of “Floating Between the Tropical and Glacial Zones”
  8. Ruba Al-Sweel Curates “Garden of e-arthly Delights” at SUMAC Space
  9. Salwa Mikdadi Reflects on the Opening of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arab Center for the Study of Art

E-03++
Fall/Winter 2021-22


Exhibition Review March 14th, 2022
DXB Art Dubai Digital, An Alternative Art World?

Exhibition March 11th, 2022
DXB Must-See Exhibitions in Dubai - Art Week Edition 2022

Artist Interview March 10th, 2022
DXB Prepare The Ingredients and Let The Rest Flow: Miramar and Zaid’s “Pure Data” Premieres at Satellite for Quoz Arts Fest 2022

Artist Interview February 26th, 2022
TYO Akira Takayama on McDonald’s Radio University, Heterotopia, and Wagner Project

Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421
Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation

Exhibition October 7th, 2021
RUH Misk Art Institute’s Annual Flagship Exhibition Explores the Universality of Identity

Market Interview October 6th, 2021
RUH HH Prince Fahad Al Saud Discusses Saudi Arabia’s Artistic Renaissance

Exhibition October 5th, 2021
DXB
Engage101 Presents “Connected, Collected” at Sotheby’s Dubai

E-Issue 02 –– NYC 
Spring 2021

February 21st, 2021



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in NYC
  3. Pop(Corn): Zeid Jaouni
  4. You Can Take The Girl Out Of The City 
  5. Rapport: NYC
  6. Kindergarten Records Discuss The Future of Electronic Music
  7. Sole DXB Brings NY Hip-Hop To Abu Dhabi
  8. Wei Han Finds ‘Home’ In New York
  9. Vikram Divecha: Encounters and Negotiations

E-02++
Spring/Summer 2021


Exhibition Review August 9th, 2021
DXB “After The Beep”: A Review and Some Reflections

Artist Interview June 30th, 2021
OSA Rintaro Fuse Curates “Silent Category” at Creative Center Osaka

Exhibiton Review June 20th, 2021
AUH “Total Landscaping”at Warehouse 421

Exhibition June 11th, 2021
TYO “Mimicry of Hollows” Opens at The 5th Floor

Market Interview May 26th, 2021
TYO Startbahn, Japan’s Leading Art Blockchain Company, Builds a New Art Infrastructure for the Digital Age

Curator Interview May 20th, 2021
DXB There Is A You In The Cloud You Can’t Delete: A Review of “Age of You” at Jameel Arts Centre

Artist Interview May 11th, 2021
BAH Mihrab: Mysticism, Devotion, and Geo-Identity

Exhibition May 9th, 2021
LDN Fulfilment Services Ltd. Questions Techno-Capitalism on Billboards in London

Artist Interview April 28th, 2021
DXB Ana Escobar: Objects Revisited

Exhibition Review April 27th, 2021
TYO BIEN Opens Two Solo Exhibitions in Island Japan and Parcel

Artist Interview April 26th, 2021
CTU/AUH/YYZ Sabrina Zhao: Between Abu Dhabi, Sichuan, and Toronto

Exhibition April 16th, 2021
RUH Noor Riyadh Shines Light on Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Art Strategy

Exhibition Review April 5th, 2021
DXB A Riot Towards Landscapes

Exhibition Review April 1st, 2021
DXB A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows

Exhibition March 28th, 2021
DXB Alserkal Art Week Top Picks 

Curator Interview March 21st, 2021
DXB Permeability and Regional Nodes: Sohrab Hura on Curating Growing Like a Tree at Ishara Art Foundation

Exhibition Review March 7th, 2021
AUH Re-viewing Contrasts: Hyphenated Spaces at Warehouse421

Exhibition Review March 3rd, 2021
DXB There’s a Hurricane at the Foundry

E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB
Summer 2020 

August 1st, 2020



  1. Editor’s Note 
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Hashel Al Lamki
  4. Tailoring in Abu Dhabi
  5. Rapport: Dubai 
  6. Michael Rakowitz From the Diaspora

E-01++
Fall/Winter 2020-21


Exhibition Review February 21st, 2021
GRV MIA Anywhere Hosts First Virtual Exhibition of Female Chechen Artists    

Curator Interview January 25th, 2021
DXB Sa Tahanan Collective Redefines Home for Filipino Artists

Exhibition Review December 9th, 2020
SHJ Sharjah Art Foundation Jets Ahead on the Flying Saucer

Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020


AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 

Exhibition Review November 21st, 2020
DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue

Exhibition Review November 19th, 2020
DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020

Exhibition Review November 16th, 2021
DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye

Exhibition Review November 13th, 2020
DXB
Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre

Book Review October 28th, 2020
DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus

Exhibition Review October 22nd, 2020
AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE

Exhibition October 22nd, 2020
TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ

Exhibition Review October 19th, 2020
DXB Do You See Me How I See You?

Market Interview October 14th, 2021
DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers

Artist Interview September 27th, 2020
AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh

Exhibition Review September 24th, 2020
MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React


Curator Interview September 14th, 2020
UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community

Artist Interview September 10th, 2020
LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia

Artist Interview September 7th, 2020
DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear

Market Interview September 4th, 2020
DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’

Exhibition September 1st, 2020
DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi

Market Interview August 28th, 2020
AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting

Artist Interview August 26th, 2020
AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations

Artist Interview August 24th, 2020
DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space

Artist Interview August 23rd, 2020
LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism

Map August 16th, 2020
BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

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Mark

A ‘Menu Poem’ and All That Follows


By Daniel H. Rey
with inputs from Sam Ixcaragua, Ji Young Kim, and Anna Bernice

Published on April 1st, 2021


      If you have visited Dubai’s maisan15, a cafe-gallery and launchpad for the UAE’s emerging curators, you have heard one too many times the sentence “the menu is on our Instagram.” Saved in their Instagram highlights, one of the city’s most indulged upon menus understands the medium of its crowd. But, what happens when that “Instagram Menu'' gets intervened?

During the months of February and March, visitors of maisan15’s Instagram have been greeted with a commissioned ‘Menu Poem’: Si Escuchas con la Lengua/When You Listen with your Tongue, written by Abu Dhabi-based Cristalina Parra. The Menu Poem is one of the fifteen artworks presented at maisan15 within This Lark Sips at Every Pond: Women as Artist and Muse, curated by Sarah Daher. Featured artists include Aliyah Alawadhi, Amina Yahia, Cristalina Parra, Juletta, Marta Lamovsek, Mashael Alsaie. The exhibition, on view until April 10th, seems to be titled with a mouthful, but that is its point: to introduce us to women pursuing their creative impulses – all of this, while getting our mouths full with a wagyu melt or a mashallah zinger

1. Screenshot of the Menu Poem on maisan15’s Instagram account, as of 2021.Cover image courtesy of Sarah Daher.


Having curated the previous exhibition at maisan15, I was lucky to return to a brand new show, this time with my friends Sam, Ji Young, and Anna Bernice. Our burger bites alternated with our genuine curiosity for the space. To start us off, we read the curatorial statement and grabbed some sticker memes cornered in the cashier counter, which added an element of playfulness and memorabilia to the experience.



2. Stickers designed by Sarah Daher. Images courtesy of Sarah Daher.


With the wall, curator Sarah Daher asks “What does the muse become when it is diffracted through the eye of a female artist? Where can inspiration dwell? How can it be tapped? And who can sip from which pond?” Also in Daher’s words, the exhibition “addresses the theme of the muse, responding to the historical trajectory of females as fountains of inspiration.”



“What does the muse become when it is diffracted through the eye of a female artist?”


-Sarah Daher


Daher is urging us to have a playful and multidisciplinary dialogue about the concept (read: construct) of muses in the arts. Her curatorial statement contextualizes the exhibition while also giving us an express rundown of male-artist female-muse relationships. While I worry that all references allude to Euro-American men (mentioned without their first names even), maybe that is the point worth dissecting. For what it’s worth, Daher masters the art of metaphor in her writing, to the extent of employing images of water to raise an important point: that “the tide is turning [and] we sit on the crest of a new wave in which the art world begins to build recognition for the multitude of talented female artists creating work today.” My takeaway is that the curator expresses this, not as a conclusive statement, but as a process we shall continue bearing witness to.

Our friends’ collective impression is that this exhibition is framed in response to Western art history, which is, in itself, a hot take – yes, maybe hotter than the chicken shawarma pizza in the oven. How does Daher reconcile a rich art-historical discussion with the flavorful distractions of a hip cafe?


How does Daher reconcile a rich art-historical discussion with the flavorful distractions of a hip cafe?



To her credit, the curator is rather aware of the different layers making up the cafe experience: images, sound, interaction with the menu, and the proximity to the artworks based on where one sits to eat.


3. Dining booth at maisan15 with photograph by Mashael Alsaie. Image courtesy of Sarah Daher.

Greeting the works in the space, we first encounter Aliyah Alawadhi’s vibrant paintings against maisan’s concrete walls. From what we see, her work elevates women beyond muses: as protagonists, agents, bearers of gaze, and instigators of their rituals, revenges, and glories.


4. Above: Aliyah Alawadhi, The Unrighteous Salome, 2020. Below: Aliyah Alawadhi, Bitter Herb, 2020. Images courtesy of Daniel H. Rey.

Next to Bitter Herb, we see a video, also by Alawadhi, in which she glitches footage of maisan15 captured in the fall of 2020. Alawadhi is a skilled animator and glitcher herself with a crucial approach to women’s role in that medium. Daher, as the curator, presents the video intending to highlight the wide spectrum of media (painting and video) that one sole artist is able to cover. Nonetheless, this connection is not as straightforward for the labels are not easy to find. The connection might also be counterintuitive since the mediums are rather different. The glitched video feels dissonant with the rest of the space, more as if it is part of maisan15’s in-house collection, than part of This Lark’s exhibition. Yet, the point remains key to know: Alawadhi is not a muse but a master – not of one, but of many mediums.


Alawadhi is not a muse but a master – not of one, but of many mediums.




5. Video work by Aliyah Alawadhi. Image courtesy of Sarah Daher. 

Anna Bernice tells me that the artworks in Sarah’s show intervene in the cafe gallery space “in an intriguing manner.” Case in point, are Amina Yahia’s portraits of her sister Malak and herself placed on opposite sides of the main dining corridor. Bernice adds that “the juxtaposition of Amina’s artworks on either end of the wall lead the visitor to pause and ponder through the female artist’s gaze. The soft blue in contrast with the dark maroon offers a feeling of warmth and serenity that leads the viewer to wonder and perhaps imagine the world within which these artworks take place." Ji Young also commends this curatorial choice: “The part that worked really well was the woman from the back. It shows how females are portrayed from a female lens. That was a very powerful piece to send that message, how a female portrays a female. The color contrast and position contrast between that art[work] and the one across, was also fantastic given you can see so much emotion in both the face and the back. It makes you imagine the backstory.” 

6. Left: Amina Yahia, In Parallel - Malak, 2021. Right: Amina Yahia, In Parallel, 2021.

7. Installation views of maisan15 corridor. Images courtesy of Sarah Daher.

Sam further agrees, “When I walked in, I first saw a mix of pieces that had been made by women, and were either very blatantly fighting the idea of women as muses… or women going beyond the muse, almost to be inspired by the essence of a woman instead of her looks, as did the piece that showed the back of a woman. Then, upon turning to the area where the booths are, I thought the curator was exploring the idea of ‘alternative muses’ by showing pieces which had either men, or the city, as their muse.” Sam’s phrasing of ‘alternative muses’ leaves me wanting to return to it.



“I thought the curator was exploring the idea of ‘alternative muses’ by showing pieces which had either men, or the city, as their muse.”

- Sam Ixcaragua


In the dining booths we are introduced to Marta Lamovsek and Mashael Alsaie’s photography, each granting us a rather intimate moment with a muse or a landscape photo as we eat. Evoking androgyny, Lamovsek’s portraits depict male muses that speak to a much needed reversal of artist-muse roles. Parallel to that, it is worth questioning whether Lamovsek’s signature portraits evoke an aesthetic composition that, while creative and full of mastery, reads as a melange of objects whose cultural significance might be overlooked. A conversation with the artist is something I look forward to in hopes of learning more about her visual language.


Lamovsek’s portraits depict male muses that speak to a much needed reversal of artist-muse roles.




8. Left: Marta Lamovsek, Ode to Jodorowsky - Muse Christopher, 2020. Right: Marta Lamovsek, A Tribute Ashiq Collage in Brick Lane, 2020. Images courtesy of Daniel H. Rey.

Alsaie, on the other hand, presents landscape photography of bodies of water. The photographs, while not being directly about muses, shows the skillful craft of the photographer. Without depicting human bodies, Alsaie’s work is a confirmation of the exhibition’s subheader: “women as artists.” Her work in the exhibition ties back to mythology surrounding women in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The legend tells that the body of water is the accumulation of a woman’s tears. An extended label highlighting this backstory, its depth, and tracing the bodies of water back to women would be most helpful in future showcases.


Alsaie’s work is a confirmation of the exhibition’s subheader: “women as artists.”



9. Mashael Alsaie, False Pools (Series). Image courtesy of Sarah Daher.
 
Beyond the art-on-the-wall approach, the curator also explores other avenues. Daher’s curatorial feats and attempts in This Lark converge in one approach: intervening the space sensorially, beyond the menu. Hence, in writing and song respectively, Cristalina Parra and Juletta propose a sonoric and linguistic atmosphere that ties the exhibition together by way of ambiance.



Daher’s curatorial feats and attempts in This Lark converge in one approach: intervening the space sensorially, beyond the menu.




The dining booths are each separated by a transparent plastic panel that Cristalina Parra appropriates and activates with her poetry. This time, treating Dubai as a muse with five handwritten copies of a poem, very much in conversation with her treatment of Abu Dhabi as a muse with a poem handwritten on the cafe’s full-body mirror.  Cristalina is the artist proposing a treatment of cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as muses. A part of me wishes to unearth a bit more of the poet’s relationship to both places. Where is her voice coming from? Why these places? How deeply connected is Parra to them? Nonetheless, the nomadic nature of her handwritten poetry suffices my curiosity, perhaps this is a much needed sign for more of us to grab pen and paper.


Cristalina is the artist proposing a treatment of cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as muses.



10. Cristilina Parra, THE CITY (ABU DHABI) AS MUSE, 2020. Ink on mirror. Image courtesy of Daniel H. Rey and Sarah Daher

In a similar vein of holistically intervening the space, Juletta’s voice musicalizes the space via the speakers, of which I left wanting more. As I write this, I gracefully find that the New York-based artist has self-curated a twenty-five-track SoundCloud playlist called Female Muses featuring her original songs alternated with interviews to women all over New York City, quite timely as GAD explores cross-pollination between NYC and UAE art scenes. Juletta’s voice transforms maisan15 into a portal of sorts, straight to New York. 

11. Image courtesy of Daniel H. Rey


Juletta’s voice transforms maisan15 into a portal of sorts, straight to New York.




12. Screenshot of Juletta’s playlist on SoundCloud.

In light of the poetry and music interventions, Sam reacts: “They felt more like easter eggs rather than parts of the exhibition. For instance, since the menu is on Instagram I almost didn't notice the poem that's included in the highlights, and at first thought it was just a part of the menu, or a separate initiative from the restaurant.”  Sam’s comment raises an important point.  How conducive is maisan15 towards the much needed discussion taking place in the exhibition? He tells me that, “while the idea was interesting and captivating, the space was a bit limiting to fully develop each category.”


How conducive is maisan15 towards the much needed discussion taking place in the exhibition?



Ji Young further agrees, “I wonder how the whole exhibition would look or the curation would change if she were to do it in an “actual” exhibition space. It is definitely a piece that I would like to see again, moving forward, but in a separate space.” While the idea of the “actual” exhibition space is there to be challenged, I do wonder what This Lark would feel like online, at another cafe, at an outdoors space, or with artist-led tours. Possibilities are endless and the exhibition is kicking off at a supportive space for those of us curating solo in Dubai.

13. Watercolor illustration of maisan15 by Maria Daher. Image courtesy of Sarah Daher and Maria Daher - found in publication This Lark Sips at Every Pond, 2021.

For what is worth, with critique come top-notch takeaways. Sam tells me “The whole idea behind this exhibition was very relevant in today's social climate… Overall, I thought that the idea of the role of women as muses in art was condensed in three categories: anti-muse sentiment, a deeper meaning of what being a muse is, and alternative muses.”

The categorization that Sam brings up speaks to the curator’s ability to transmit an urgent message: redefining new forms of representation in the arts. These sustained engagements with artists, artworks, and audience translate into each spectator’s ability to be undeniably intrigued by the ongoing discussion. Ji Young highlights that “The fact that females are used as a muse all the time and sexualized is something that we all recognize but don’t outwardly say. The fact that Sarah Daher made that into an exhibition was fantastic.”



“The fact that Sarah Daher made that into an exhibition was fantastic.”

- Ji Young Kim


To outlive the exhibition and propose new forms of engagement, the curator collaborated with her sister Maria to bring to life a limited-edition publication gathering the artworks, the artists, the muses as well as short essays and poetry from women in the local art ecosystem. Guest contributors include poet Vamika Sinha, curatorial researcher Hessa Al Nuaimi and architect Maria Daher as designer and illustrator. The publication is a living archive, the beginning of, hopefully, an exciting research journey that revisits, questions, and proposes new understandings or debunks of muses.

Screenshot of publication pages. Courtesy of Sarah Daher.

What is further exciting about the publication and the curatorial context it emerges from, maisan15 in 2021, is that it highlights a more mature art scene with a higher degree of interconnectedness. At Global Art Daily, we are thrilled to see, for example, our long-term collaborator Christopher Benton as a ‘muse’ in one of Marta Lamovsek’s photographs. We see GAD’s Design Intern Amina Yahia showcasing her work for the first time outside of NYU Abu Dhabi. We witness the work of Aliyah Alawadhi, a constant supporter and former speaker in GAD Talk Series. And most importantly, we see a key space in Dubai be activated by Sarah Daher, an emerging curatorial voice and GAD contributor who is proposing new, unprecedented conversations and originally presenting forms of curation to the UAE’s audiences.

This Lark Sips at Every Pond is a gentle reminder of how a community can build up enough trust for itself so that serious discussions begin to take place. After years of cementing and complimenting each other, today we enjoy exhibitions that raise nuanced, urgent and critical issues. We enter maisan15 wanting a meal, but with This Lark Sips at Every Pond we are served a feast of words, sounds, images, questions, flavors and discussions. If the male gaze is to be dropped, Sarah Daher’s curatorship is laying out the plot.


This Lark Sips at Every Pond is a gentle reminder of how a community can build up enough trust for itself so that serious discussions begin to take place.




“This Lark Sips at Every Pond” is on view at maisan15 until April 10th, 2021 at maisan15 (Barsha South, Dubai).

Sarah Daher is a curator and researcher who graduated with a BA in Theater and Economics from New York University Abu Dhabi and is currently completing her Masters in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art in London. She is based between the UAE and London. She cares about the role of art in building and preserving communities and shared identities.