Friday 15 July 2011

Culture Re-Veiled: A stunning roster of contemporary work by Middle Eastern artists

I've just discovered Lahd Gallery in Hampstead, one of the main Middle Eastern art galleries in London. Lahd means ‘blink of the eye’ in Arabic and was originally set up to celebrate Middle Eastern and North African women and act as a focal point for women artists from the Gulf. Unafraid to challenge stereotypes the gallery has already exhibited controversial works to great success.  The gallery is celebrating its first birthday this July with a round-up exhibition of the most popular works displayed which is in time for Shubbak, the first Arab arts festival organised by Boris Johnson. 

The show launched on July 8th and highlights the breadth of the region’s talents and communities – often rejecting stereotypes and providing an eye-opening view into the lives and thoughts of people within Arabic countries. Overall, the exhibition showcases artworks from Sudan, Kuwait, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Highlights include The Untold Truth of Society Girls, where each image is shot with a bullet from a M16 sniper to highlight society’s murder of the girls’ expression of sexuality and passion.
Also check out The Gulf Reveiled, a collective of female artists whose mixed-media works reject clich├ęs and showcase different views of women in the region. 

Entry to the gallery is free.

For a full roundup of exhibitions featuring in the show see below.

< Pop Icons: Hamad & Ali
This is the first time contemporary art duo Hamad AlSaab and Ali Sultan have exhibited their work outside of the Middle East, ‘Pop Icons’ includes images of iconic figures from Arabic history and culture presented in a Pop Art style, formed from film footage, magazine covers and historic materials from flea markets.   

< The Untold Truth of Society Girls
Kuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin shines a light into the secret world of the Gulf’s society girls – contrasting the glamour and embellishment of their surroundings with the danger of their circumstances. Each image is shot with a bullet from a M16 sniper to highlight society’s murder of a the girls’ sensuality.         

< Rediscovering Sudan
Sudan’s rich heritage and diverse culture are showcased through this collection of landscapes and portraits incorporating textures, line and shadow as well as layered works. The four artists reveal the inner spirit of Sudan and its people’s multicultural makeup.          

< An Istanbul Legacy
Three leading Turkish contemporary artists are featured in this collection which includes modern, humorous interpretations of Greek gods, images exploring human consciousness through the depiction of battle scenes and 4D Lenticular works showcasing social discourse.  

< The Gulf Re-Veiled
Works from leading female artists in the region reveal a new perspective on women in the Gulf. Featuring photography, self-portraits and a multi-media installation, the exhibition forces people to rethink and question their understanding.               

The Lahd Gallery was founded in 2005 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to create a focal point for women artists from the Gulf. It soon became a well known exhibition space on the contemporary art scene in the Middle East and has exhibited extensively throughout the Gulf and North African countries. In 2010, Lahd Gallery moved to its present location in London and has since become the foremost gallery promoting contemporary Middle Eastern art.

The gallery is at 92 Heath Street, London NW3 1DP
Tel:  +44 (0)207 435 7323

Gallery Hours: Tuesday –Friday 10am –6pm; Saturday: 10am –4pm

Text and images taken from press release; copyright is to the artists and gallery and not to me.