E-Issue 07 –– AUH
Winter 2023-24

January 29th, 2024



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in Abu Dhabi/Dubai
  3. Cover Interview: Shaikha Al Ketbi on Darawan
  4. Rapport: Public Art in the Gulf and a Case Study of Manar Abu Dhabi
  5. Hashel Al Lamki’s Survey Exhibition Maqam Reflects on a Decade of Practice in Abu Dhabi
  6. “You Can’t Stand on a Movement”: Michelangelo Pistoletto Interviews Benton Interviewing Pistoletto

E-07++
Winter/Spring 2024



About ––

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    Contact

Interviews ––

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Open Call ––

    Policy
    E-08 Seoul

Newsletter ––




Chronological Archive ––

    Selected Archive

Artist Interview November 18th, 2016
AUH Raed Yassin in Abu Dhabi

Editorial March 1st, 2018
AUH Abu Dhabi Is The New Calabasas

Exhibition Listing May 22nd, 2018
DXB Christopher Benton: If We Don't Reclaim Our History, The Sand Will

Artist Interview June 15th, 2018
TYO An Interview with BIEN, a Rising Japanese Artist

Artist Interview July 17th, 2018
TYO Rintaro Fuse on Selfies and Cave Painting

Artist Interview August 28th, 2018
BER Slavs and Tatars: “Pulling a Thread to Undo The Sweater”

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
NYC Shirin Neshat In Conversation with Sophie Arni and Ev Zverev

Artist Interview September 1st, 2018
PAR Hottest Spices: Michèle Lamy

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Exhibition Review
November 23rd, 2020


AUH SEAF Cohort 7 at Warehouse 421


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


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


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

🎙️GAD Talk Series –– Season 1 2020


November 1st, 2020
1. What is Global Art Daily? 2015 to Now

November 16th, 2020
2. Where is Global Art Daily? An Open Coversation on Migration as Art Practitioners


November 29th, 2020
3. When the Youth Takes Over: Reflecting on the 2020 Jameel Arts Centre Youth Takeover

December 20th, 2020
4. Young Curators in Tokyo: The Making of The 5th Floor

January 27th, 2021
5. How To Create Digital Networks in The Art World?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


Curator Interview October 15th, 2021
IST “Once Upon a Time Inconceivable”: A Review and a Conversation


Exhibition Review October 16th, 2021
AUH Woman as a Noun, and a Practice: “As We Gaze Upon Her” at Warehouse421



Exhibition Review February 11th, 2022

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


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


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


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

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 March 21st, 2022

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Exhibition Review February 9th, 2023
DXB Augustine Paredes Builds His Paradise Home at Gulf Photo Plus

Artist Interview February 22nd, 2023
DXB Persia Beheshti Shares Thoughts on Virtual Worlds and the State of Video Art in Dubai Ahead of Her Screening at Bayt Al Mamzar

E-Issue 06 –– DXB/SHJ
Spring 2023

April 12th, 2023



  1. Editor’s Note
  2. What’s On in the UAE
  3. Pop(Corn): Jumairy
  4. Rapport: Art Dubai 2023
  5. Highlights from Sharjah Biennial 15
  6. Is Time Just an Illusion? A Review of "Notations on Time" at Ishara Art Foundation
  7. Saif Mhaisen and His Community at Bayt AlMamzar









DXB Christopher Joshua Benton to Debut Mubeen, City as Archive at The Third Line Shop in Collaboration with Global Art Daily

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Salem AlShamsi Reflects on Decoding, His First Solo Exhibition at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery


By NiccolòAcram Cappelletto

Published on June 14th, 2023

         Surrounded by a warm round of success, Salem Alshamsi recently opened his solo exhibition Decoding, curated by Mojgan Endjavi-Barbé at Zidoun & Bossuyt – a Luxembourg-based gallery which recently opened its Dubai outpost on Jumeirah Beach Road. A practicing lawyer as well as a law professor at Sorbonne-Abu Dhabi, Alshamsi returned to the UAE in 2018 after seventeen years abroad pursuing his studies and professional career. For the past few years, he started to actively practice his art. After exhibiting at the Spanish Pavilion of Dubai Expo, Decoding is Alshamsi’s first solo exhibition at a white cube gallery – and certainly not his last.

Focusing on his geometric paintings and newly-made sculptures, the exhibition gives an overview of the inner world of Alshamsi through primary colors. With precision and abstraction, Decoding shapes an exploration of the inner self through painting, as you will read in the following interview.


1. Salem AlShamsi, Decoding, 2023. Installation view at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of Zidoun & Bossuyt.

NiccolòAcram Cappelletto: Thank you for sitting down with Global Art Daily. I personally haven’t seen your work in-person, but from the pictures of the exhibition, your paintings caught my eye for their superb execution. Your exhibition Decoding is still open until the 24th, how are you feeling about it?

Salem AlShamsi: The main reason why I’m making art is because I grew very passionate about it. I was born in the UAE and I lived for about seventeen years and then I moved abroad for around another seventeen years. On my way back here, I accumulated so many emotions from the 1990s and early 2000s about life events, some good and some bad and I decided to do something about them. Art became a perfect medium for me to channel these feelings in a good way. It has helped me to disconnect myself from it and have it somewhere in front of me. 

N.A.C.: Did you start making art when you came back to the UAE or were you also practicing previously? How did you develop your technique since you are self-taught?

S.A: I have been painting but I never took it really seriously until now. I paint almost everyday but this is all new to me, so I take any opportunity to learn from anyone. When I started to think about transitioning to the creative world, I attended a very short course in fashion at Central Saint Martins in London because I thought that that was my passion. However, during the fashion course I had only one hour of fashion illustration in which I really enjoyed using colors and the brush or taking the right paper on the right canvas. I wanted to take it further but I did not enjoy the other parts of it like the sewing machine or pattern cutting. Afterwards I started experimenting at home and if you see the artworks, they consist of basic shapes and colors, primary and secondary ones. I wanted to build connections with these colors and shapes to understand them and my feelings towards them. From there, I used a very limited palette or black and white because I felt that I built these connections with colors.


2. Salem AlShamsi, Decoding, 2023. Installation view at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of Zidoun & Bossuyt.


N.A.C.: That sounds great. I was especially struck by the preciseness of the technique. That must be difficult to have mastered on your own.

S.A.: In fact, I use a ruler all the time to paint and precision is built into my work. The pieces are often very mathematical and this aspect of my practice comes from the discipline in my job as a lawyer. In this profession, we are not allowed to make any mistakes – we would lose the contract or financial gains otherwise – so my brain is trained not to make mistakes. Then this was translated into art where I don't allow myself to make mathematical or technical mistakes. Everything has to be perfect as you see in this exhibition; yet, I am trying to move beyond this perfectionism. I’m starting to be more into free work and incorporate different styles. For this show, the curator didn't show those new artworks because we wanted to focus on geometry with these crisp and sharp works.


3. Salem AlShamsi, Decoding, 2023. Opening day at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of the artist.


N.A.C.: So, how does it feel to have a solo exhibition and show your works in the UAE after a long time spent abroad?

S.A.: I did two exhibitions before this one but neither were commercial. One was at Sorbonne-Abu Dhabi and it was a more educational one because I talked about the event to my students as part of their class. It was a piano session and my art was secondary to the main event. I had a second show at the Spanish Pavilion in EXPO Dubai and this was about celebrating individuality. I showed my work and I talked about it from that angle: how to express yourself and be genuine. Decoding is more interesting for me because it is my first commercial exhibition, with the audience people coming only for you. We can offer people to buy and this is all very new to me. Considering that this is a very prestigious international gallery with branches here in Dubai, in Luxembourg, in France, and soon in the U.S., doing a solo exhibition here was intimidating at first. I told myself that if my paintings did not sell – as a thank to the gallery, I would have donated few paintings. This is what I told my curator. But then, the good news is that I almost sold out the day of the opening. Almost all paintings and a few sculptures were taken already in the first four hours. I honestly didn't expect this and I thought it would have been the opposite. I felt really overwhelmed and beautifully surprised by how people interacted with the paintings. It is so flattering to see someone who works hard to make their money but thinks of using it for art because they really enjoy your work. I saw some big collectors but also I was so happy that young collectors were there. I was enthusiastic.


I felt really overwhelmed and beautifully surprised by how people interacted with the paintings.



4. Salem AlShamsi, Decoding, 2023. Opening day at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of the artist.


N.A.C.: Did you happen to know some of these collectors or were they all new to you?

S.A.: It was a mix. Some friends actually wanted to buy my art already from the studio. Other people like bigger collectors, official representatives, and people from the government came and liked the artworks. My family also bought one which was really flattering. I was not interested in the revenue but in the gesture and that made me really happy.

5. Salem AlShamsi, Double Standard, 2021. Acrylic and ink on canvas. 90 x 60cm. Courtesy of the artist.


N.A.C.: It was a great reaction regardless of the financial aspect. I want to ask you about a couple of artworks that have some sort of keffiyeh motif that falls down into pieces.

S.A.: There is the black and white and that is a very interesting piece, actually one of my favorites. There is a fashion element into it and it includes a print of what men wear in the Arab World on their head. To me, the head symbolizes intellect and the mentality. Because this painting is about the 1990s, I put the black and white dots because they symbolize the double standard in the mentality of those years, like everything is segregated with a standard for men, another for women; one for foreigners and one for non-foreigners, and so on. Everything feels like it has two different set of rules, applying to two categories, and I am not comfortable with that. We shouldn't put so many rules for people on the way they think and the way they live their life. That is why [the painting] falls apart and it creates something more organic.


Everything feels like it has two different set of rules, applying to two categories, and I am not comfortable with that. We shouldn't put so many rules for people on the way they think and the way they live their life. That is why [the painting] falls apart and it creates something more organic.



6. Salem AlShamsi, Break-up, 2021. Acrylic and ink on canvas. 100 x 100cm. Courtesy of the artist.


N.A.C.: It looks really incredible. This other one with colors dissolving into waves-like patterns on the bottom also caught my eye. Were they done at a similar time? Do you have patterns that come back to you?

S.A.: This was part of the same series, the black and white is actually a study for this one. I’m very interested in repetition in art and whether it is the repetition within a single painting – repeating the same motif or pattern – or several paintings that look like each other. I find painting a meditative process, and every version has a different feeling. At the end, every artwork is slightly different. Once I finish one, I start with the next one.


Every artwork is slightly different. Once I finish one, I start with the next one.



N.A.C.: So, how many of this series were in the show?

S.A.: I showed three in the exhibition, but I have more in my studio.


7. Salem AlShamsi, Decoding, 2023. Installation view at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of Zidoun & Bossuyt.

N.A.C.: Talking about different media, can you tell me more about the sculptures? I understand that it is something new for you.

S.A.: Sculptures are interesting because I do cubes and geometry. For the exhibition, I wanted to add a different dimension to the paintings. At the beginning, they were not for sale but more to complete the ambience in the exhibition. If you see them in the exhibition space, they have some sort of movement as they fall apart. That movement to me is important because it is connected with sharing one’s fragility and weakness as human being. In that process, one becomes stronger and starts not caring about fragility. You can take strength from people by sharing your weakness, this is why these cubes seem to fall apart.


You can take strength from people by sharing your weakness.



8. From left to right: Salem AlShamsi, Code No.3, Code No.1, Code No.2, 2021. Acrylic on canvas. Installation view at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of Zidoun & Bossuyt.

N.A.C.: And that is visible also in some of the paintings with a similar motif. I now pass to a question on the format of your paintings because I saw from the installation views these canvases with rainbow and black stripes, one bigger next to two smaller ones. Was there a reasoning behind this choice? 

S.A.: I usually see my work in my brain before starting and then I execute the image. I’m not like other artists who can start using the brush on the canvas and see where it will take them. I wish I could do that but I'm not there yet – maybe I will never be. After I complete one image, a second image would come to me and this is how my series comes together, image after image after image. I cannot really explain it but this is my creative process. I created these paintings with these very clear lines, which actually stand for prison bars. Because of my legal training, I worked in prisons for a long while, mainly in France. The prisons are revealing places because they usually give you a quick understanding of any society. If the society from outside is organized, clean, and respected, then the prison will be organized in the same way; however, if the society is chaotic and there is inequality, or an overall lack of care for cleanliness, the same social problems will be present inside. I also made a sculpture about that and it has a long story about an author that I really like. Her name is Nawal al-Sa'dawi and she is an Egyptian who spent time in prison because she wrote a very daring theater piece. Then, she wrote this great book entitled Memoirs from the Women's Prison (1994). Hence, the presence of the prison is very dominant in my life through writing and also through art.

N.A.C.: Many thanks for sharing that. What role art plays in your everyday life? As you were saying before, it became a way to recollect but also elaborate on your past life events. How do you see this vision evolve in new works moving further?

S.A.: I mentioned that art became therapy and also a documentation of events of my life, before the exhibition. This exhibition feels like a confirmation of the beginning of my journey with art. I’m still at the very beginning, but this encourages me to move forward. I have the responsibility to be even more committed, to do more shows, and then to be more genuine and truthful towards my practice and art. I will definitely take it even more seriously when it comes to showing my art beyond my studio. Before this opportunity, I was disciplined, painting by myself in my studio, but now I want to push it to the world and be in communication with audiences outside. This is my new approach. I will need to be systematic and do shows every year and participate at events. For example, I will be participating at the Dubai Art Week, hopefully through my gallery. I submitted my work at a museum in Sharjah and I’m also participating in the upcoming Dubai Calligraphy Biennale. I also have a few commissions for private collectors. After Decoding, you could say I entered in a new dimension with my art.


This exhibition feels like a confirmation of the beginning of my journey with art.



N.A.C.: I am thinking about the role of calligraphy in your work. How did you grow a personal interest in it?

S.A.: I’m not trained in calligraphy but I love reading and writing generally. When it comes to painting, calligraphy was a starting point but what I do has nothing to do with calligraphy. I use it as a starting point for a painting. There are so many dots in my paintings. I’m actually writing only with dots, because I admire dots. The artist Paul Klee once said that a line is a continuous series of dots. Thus, I see dots as important in paintings as well as in calligraphy because they can change the meaning of something, the narrative. Dots can change the whole story. I add those because I want to show to people something different which is not the original writing that I'm sharing. Dots are so powerful and so tiny at the same time.


There are so many dots in my paintings. The artist Paul Klee once said that a line is a continuous series of dots. I see dots as important in paintings as well as in calligraphy because they can change the meaning of something, they can change the narrative.



N.A.C.: How will you be able to reconcile your practice with your other professional positions, such as being a professor and a practicing lawyer? Do you see all your activities as feeding and merging into one other?

S.A.: I personally plan that next year will be the last year I practice law as a lawyer. I will maintain my job as a teacher, which allows me to continue my art practice on the side. After all these years, I decided to be a full-time artist. It’s an important step. At some point in your life, you need to make a decision. I have been transitioning very slowly from law to art for the past five years and this feels like the right time to make the move. This transition will have a price which I’m willing to pay, because I will pursue my passion.


At some point in your life, you need to make a decision.



N.A.C.: Do you plan to continue practicing out of the UAE?

S.A.: I’m not really fixing myself in the UAE. I currently have my work contract here and I practice law, which is why I’m staying, but I also have a strong connection with France and I like the idea of not being settled in a single place. I want to have the possibility to live in different countries within the year and experience more situations. From next year onwards, I will probably come and go between here and there.

N.A.C.: I see! And why France specifically?

S.A.: I’m still very tied to Paris and France. l have my flat there, and many friends. I go there very often and I love the culture as well as the art scene. I’m now also open to new opportunities in other countries too, mostly to learn as much as I can, to expand my practice.

N.A.C.: Thank you very much Salem for this interview.


Decoding is on view at Zidoun & Bossuyt Gallery Dubai until June 24th.

Salem Al Shamsi is a self-taught artist based in Abu Dhabi. Alongside being a full time lawyer Salem teaches Law at Sorbonne University. He pursued fashion at Central Saint Martin in London, where he discovered a deep interest in fashion illustration courses. Salem had two successful solo shows, in Sorbonne University and in the Spanish pavilion of Expo Dubai.

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NiccolòAcram Cappelletto is an editor at Global Art Daily, based in Venice, Italy. After completing his B.A. in Art History with specialisations in Political Science and Heritage Studies, he is conducting research on the connections between heritage and contemporary art in the context of postcolonial Italy.
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