E-Issue 01 –– AUH/DXB 
Summer/Fall 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
++ 
    AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421 
    DXB 101 Strikes Again with Second Sale at Alserkal Avenue
    DXB Spotlight on Dubai Design Week 2020
    DXB Melehi’s Waves Complicate Waving Goodbye
    DXB Kanye Says Listen to the Kids: Youth Takeover at Jameel Arts Centre
    DAM Investigating the Catalogues of the National Museum of Damascus
    AUH Ogamdo: Crossing a Cultural Highway between Korea and the UAE
    TYO James Jarvis Presents Latest Collages at 3110NZ
    DXB Do You See Me How I See You?
    DXB Thaely Kicks Off Sustainable Sneakers
    AUH BAIT 15 Welcomes New Member Zuhoor Al Sayegh
    MIA a_part Gives Artists 36 Hours to React

    UAE Tawahadna Introduces MENA Artists to a Global Community
    LHR/CAI Alaa Hindia’s Jewelry Revives Egyptian Nostalgia
    DXB Taaboogah Infuses Comedy Into Khaleeji Menswear
    DXB Meet Tamila Kochkarova Behind ‘No Boys Allowed’
    DXB Alserkal Arts Foundation Presents Mohamed Melehi
    AUH/DXB 101 Pioneers Ethical and Curious Art Collecting
    AUH Sarah Almehairi Initiates Conversations
    DXB Augustine Paredes Taking Up Space
    LHR/MCT Hanan Sultan Rhymes Frankincense with Minimalism
    BEY GAD Map: Arts & Culture Relief for Beirut

E-Issues Info
––
    1. About Global Art Daily

    2. Mission & Schedule

    3. Editorial Board
    4. Contributors

GAD Talk Series ––
    1. What is GAD? 2015 to Now
    2. Where is GAD? An Open Conversation on Migration as Art Practitioners
    3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover 2020

Open Call ––
    1. Policy
    2. Archive



Main website ︎

Mark

Do You See Me How I See You?


By Anna Bernice 

Published on October 19th, 2020

        This October, Dubai-based artist and curator Christopher Benton opened Do You See Me How I See You? a group exhibition featuring Ahmad Bouholaigah, Ashay Bhave, Augustine Paredes, Esmat Rabi, Layan Attari, Maxime Cramatte, Mohamed Khalid, Rakan Ghresi, Rami Farook, Sultan Khamis Al Remeithi and the curator himself— 11 UAE-based artists from a variety of diasporas and local communities. Hosted at maisan15, a contemporary gallery and restaurant space in Dubai’s Al Barsha South, Benton’s curatorial debut tackles notions of home in the UAE, where transiency and temporariness thrive.



Images courtesy of Christopher Benton and Daniel H. Rey.




Benton’s curatorial debut tackles notions of home in the UAE, where transiency and temporariness thrive.




As a newly relocated Filipino expat to Dubai, entering maisan15 felt like a respite from the 9-to-6 Dubai I have been getting accustomed to. Tucked at the base of Maisan Tower, its homey interior and cozy atmosphere drowned out the zooming noises of Dubai’s revving highways. Passing through its wooden gates felt like entering someone’s home, as if the place had a soul I was getting to know.


Image courtesy of Christopher Benton.



1. Layan Attari (b. Kuwait), 10-20-19A & 10-20-19B, 2019. Archival inkjet print. 90 x 60cm each. 

Upon entrance, a waiter asked if I was there for the show opening; he felt like an old friend greeting me back into his home. He proceeded to offer me a refreshment: a glass of lavender lemonade I sipped through as I perused through Benton’s curation. The 16 works featured in the exhibition perfectly blended into maisan15’s architecture; if not for the labels, I would’ve thought these art pieces lived there. Some of the works were distributed into maisan15’s dining booths, so one could take in the art while grabbing a meal.



If not for the labels, I would’ve thought these art pieces lived there.






2. Artworks from left to right: a) Mohamed Khalid (U.A.E-based), Soap Series, 2020. Ceramic. Dimensions variable. b) Esmat Rabi (U.A.E.-based), Walks with Wugaya, 2019. Fine art print on Hahnemühle. 48.6 cm x 65.5 cm.  c) Esmat Rabi (U.A.E.-based), Friday Lunch, 2018. Fine art print on Hahnemühle. 65.5 cm x 48.6 cm. Image courtesy of Anna Bernice.


In this moment, I couldn’t help but be meta-transported to Sari-Sari Collective’s space in Neukölln, Berlin. In this cafe-turned-performance space, I met Filipino performance artist Pepe Dayaw in the summer of 2019. He had invited me to cook with him during his dinner performance where he told the story of our diaspora. While eating my Baba Ganoush at maisan15, I studied the details of Filipino artist Augustine ParedesPaano mamaluktot kung maikili ang kumot (How to slouch when sleeping). Consuming food while consuming his art transported me to cooking monggo beans with Pepe as we sang Ikaw ang Mamahalin by Martin Nievera in the dawn of a Berlin summer. I was in two places at once: a wave of homesickness rushed through me. I wondered which home I was sick for. Augustine’s image was all too reminiscent of all the transient homes I’ve lived in during the last four years, where the space between my body and the wall was all I could call mine. Augustine’s title reminded me of a Filipino saying my mother would tell me when times became rough; a saying that taught me how to work within my means, a saying used by Filipinos to remind us to make do.



3. Augustine Paredes (b. Philippines), Paano mamaluktot kung maikli ang Kumot, 2018. How to slouch when sleeping. Fine art print on Hahnemühle. 64cm x 49cm, framed. Image courtesy of Anna Bernice.  


With the smell of freshly baked pita bread wafting in the air and the clinking of pots and pans looming in the background, I was drawn to Mohamed Khalid’s Soap Series ceramic sculptures of Lux soaps juxtaposed with Esmat Rabi’s Walks with Wugaya. These works adjacent to each other reminded me of Farah Al Qasimi’s stills from her 2019 exhibition Arrival; to me, all these works spoke of the nostalgia for the UAE that exists beyond the cosmopolitan us expats know, of the life that exists beyond the borders of Dubai and our English-speaking colloquial. As a foreigner, it is a history I am still navigating to access, the kind of UAE I still have to get to know, even after 4 years of living here.



All these works spoke of the nostalgia for the UAE that exists beyond the cosmopolitan us expats know.





4. Mohamed Khalid (U.A.E-based), Soap Series, 2020. Ceramic. Dimensions variable.



This is art in the time of COVID.




In the booth where these works hung, Christopher sat next to me and we chatted about our dual lives as marketeers and artists. We ended up chatting past opening hours in maisan15’s outdoor garden, with other visitors and friends flowing in and out of the discussion. Stripped down and personal, it was a surreal interaction filtered by our face masks, hoping the other could hear what felt like our muffled voices. The echoes of hi’s and hello’s brought a sense of familiarity to the space; here was a community of friends and makers celebrating each other’s art, enchanted by the delight of seeing each other again after being cooped up for so long. This is art in the time of COVID.

5. Ashay Bhave (b. India), Subscriber Identity Module, 2020. Steel. 40 cm x 20 cm. 


Are our phone numbers our identities?




Ashay Bhave joined shortly and talked to me about his 20kg steel piece Subscriber Identity Module. A reference to the Etisalat SIM card he had nestled between his phone case and his phone, the only identity object that tied him back to the UAE while locked down in India during COVID, the piece made me think of the many SIM cards and phone numbers from different cities I’ve had ephemerally tied to me for the last 4 years. Are our phone numbers our identities? I wondered.




6. Christopher Benton (b. U.S.A.), GCC Best Friends, 2017. Japanese kundura fabric. 300 cm x 120 cm. 

Opposite Christopher’s GCC Best Friends is Maxime Cramatte (Satwa3000)’s Shawarma Disco Soundsystem, well photographed by visitors for its localized humor of a shawarma-shaped disco ball emitting light in its rotation. This eclectic ready-made sculpture reflects the transnational migration of Middle Eastern fast food and its intertwined relationship with nightlife; how many times and in how many cities have you had a shawarma at 4am?


How many times and in how many cities have you had a shawarma at 4am?




7. Maxime Crammate (Satwa 3000) (b. Switzerland), Shawarma Disco Soundsystem, 2020. Stainless steel, wood, mirrored disco glass, 150 W speaker. Image courtesy of the artist.

I felt interrogated by Christopher’s wall text adjacent to his print If I could Buy Every Single Home Here, I Would Make for All Nationalities. His curatorial intent was phrased entirely in questions the temporary people of the UAE often ask themselves; it’s like Christopher hijacked my mind and transcribed my thoughts word for word. As I chewed on every stanza, my mind flashed back to 3 am conversations gnawing on the same thoughts: does the UAE feel like home, after 4 years of flying in and out of AUH and DXB? What makes it home, and what doesn’t? Our temporariness in this country and the comfort we feel in this transiency varies.

8. Christopher Benton (b. U.S.A), If I Could Buy Every Single Home Here, I Would Make for All Nationalities, 2018. Inkjet print on vinyl. 100 x 75 cm. Image courtesy of the artist. 


Our temporariness in this country and the comfort we feel in this transiency varies.





9. Maxime Crammate (Satwa 3000) (b. Switzerland), Satwa 3000 Cafétéria, 2019. Fine art print. 90 x 60 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.


The diasporas of the UAE are peppered with nuances and complexities a visitor cannot immediately decipher; I’ve figured that this place becomes home once you’ve confronted this country’s uncomfortable realities. Though 90% of this country’s population are all transient bodies, our identities in this country will indelibly be defined by the identities we held before we set foot here.



This place becomes home once you’ve confronted this country’s uncomfortable realities.





10. Rakan Ghresi, (im palestinian but like im born in america and grew up in canada and half my life lived in dubai just go with palestinian-american, q: why are you trying to rep america? ur right i realized thats dumb, just canada is ok), Are we there yet?, 2020. Still from Video, 5 min.


Do You See Me How I See You? captures the variety of strings that tie us migrants to this place, the nuances of temporary, the nostalgia for what was before and the wonder of what comes next. In sculptures and images that reference the UAE life beyond the façade of glitz and glam, Do You See Me How I See You? instigates conversations around our expiry dates in this country, and how much longer we’d like to be temporary for.

Open till November 15, come get a coffee at maisan15 with a friend and ask, Do You See Me How I See You?



Do You See Me How I See You?





Do You See Me How I See You? continues on view at Dubai’s maisan15. Visitors can access the space daily from 9am to 11pm.

Christopher Benton is a Dubai-based artist, music journalist, and advertising creative director working across photography, film, and installation art. His practice explores the narratives of black and brown people, through its interface with labor and the hypnotic power of the mediated image. Past work has been presented at Jameel Arts Centre, the Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, Alserkal Avenue, and the Dubai Design District.



Anna Bernice is a Filipina multi-disciplinary performance artist, freelance creative consultant and arts/culture resarcher. She has a double B.A. in Theater and Social Research & Public Policy with a focus on Art History from New York University Abu Dhabi, also receiving training at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in NYC. Her emerging career has taken her to Berlin, New York and Prague to collaborate and work with various companies in arts, culture, and social impact.