Maraya Art Centre, an initiative by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), together with the University of Sharjah, has announced the opening of three new exhibitions in its premises.
Group Exhibition “International Connections: The Annual Faculty Exhibition of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah”
The third floor in Maraya Art Centre will house the group exhibition “International Connections: The Annual Faculty Exhibition of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah”, curated by Printmaking Lecturer and Artist Brian Gonzales, and features newly created works of 17 faculty and professional Staff.
The participating artists and designers coming from over 10 different countries reflect the internationality of the faculty and staff, as well as their commitment to educate an international student body from around the globe in a range of disciplines.
Participants are as follows:
Thaier Helal (Syria) - Painting, Tor Seidel (Germany) – Photography, Mohamed Yousif Al-Hammadi (UAE) - Sculpture, Karima Mohamed Abdelaziz (UAE) – Visual Art, Muatasim Al Kubaisi (Iraq) - Sculpture, Brian Gonzales (United States of America) – Printmaking, Izmer Bin Ahmad (Malaysia) - Painting, Iman Abdel Shahid Ibrahim (Egypt) - Design, Shaima Elbardawil (Jordan) – Visual Communication, Andra Camelia Clitan (Romania) - Fashion Design and Textiles, Dana Khalid Amro (Jordan) - Design, Nada Abdallah (Lebanon) – Visual Communication, Sama Al Rasheed (Jordan) – Visual Communication, Nadia Al Badri (Iraq) – Design, Ahmad Manar Laham (Syria) – Illustration, Fatima Mahmoud Alansari (UAE) - Design, Polite Mangoro (Zimbabwe) – Fashion Design.
Dr. Nadia M. Alhasani, Professor and Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah, said: International Connections represents a mélange of experiences and convictions from the College of Fine Arts and Design’s faculty and staff; artists and designers connected through their presence in Sharjah. Most of them developed their concepts before lockdown and completed their works while practicing social distancing. Some forged ahead defying the pandemic, while others paused rethinking their message in a world that mandated a change in priorities. This fundamental shift in perception and experience has greatly influenced the creative world. The virtual world has benefitted from a surge in artistic presence through virtual museum tours and exhibition visits, online artist conversations and dialogues, and synchronous concerts and musical events. We hope you shall enjoy experiencing International Connections, our first virtual Faculty Show!”
Curator Brian Gonzales said: “International Connections presents a complex visual dialogue between the varying disciplines of art and design. In addition to recognizing the diversity of CFAD research and creative output this exhibition aims to contextualize the art and design profession within the broader cultural atmosphere of the UAE as a crossroads of cultural and intellectual perspectives.”
The two exhibitions on the second floor, curated by German curator Sven Christian Schuch, are very different in nature, however connected through the exchange and friendship between the exhibiting artists.
“In Uncharted Territories. New Works by Tor Seidel” in particular looks at the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic through the eyes of photography lecturer and Berlin-born artist Tor Seidel. “A Private Collection of Printed Matters” focuses on the print collection of artist and printmaker Brian Gonzales, showcasing all prints in his possession in its various forms.
Solo Exhibition “In Uncharted Territories: New Works by Tor Seidel”
With seven newly created works on display, German artist Tor Seidel has contextualized the global pandemic from an artistic standpoint. Inviting the viewer to experience a shift in perception in times of crisis, the sound installation ‘Fall Silent’ showcases an immersive installation, recording the song of birds chirping in Sharjah, an experience that becomes menacing and uncanny. Addressing the notion of tapping in the dark with limited or ever changing information is reflected in further photographs. Headlines and phrases published in international newspapers and literal quotes from scientific articles after the outbreak of Covid-19 are combined in “Daily Records”, a large format wallpaper spanning one of the exhibition walls. Four photographs entitled “Flights” document the flight lines of airplanes leaving from Dubai before and after the pandemic. The exhibition also presents textile works addressing the aspect of social distancing and a display of soaps called “How to Wash Your Hands”. Lastly, the exhibition features a newly developed video work entitled “Breath”.
Solo Exhibition “Brian Gonzales: A Private Collection of Printed Matters”
Recreating the setting of Printmaking Lecturer Brian Gonzalez’s personal living room, which combines bright colours as well as Aztec and modernist design elements, this exhibition showcases how the US-American lives with his private collection of prints. Visitors can experience his collection firsthand and explore a curated shelf of prints with a running commentary by the owner on how certain prints and printed ephemera entered his collection.
The exhibition also showcases a table of “Mystery Boxes” housing portfolios of prints exchanged amongst a community of printmakers. Next to prints that are openly on display, there is also a print cabinet that touches upon the difference of visibility of individual pieces within the collection and individual choices of display: some prints are framed and out on the wall, some are placed on shelves, some are in boxes and others never make it out into the light.
Curator Sven Christian Schuch said: “ ‘A Private Collection of Printed Matters’ focuses on how it is to collect, how to live with art, how individual choices determine what you surround yourself with, and about the value you give to each piece – creating a very personal narrative of a collection.
In Uncharted Territories is – as the title already indicates – is an emotional landscape in the form of an exhibition, finding artistic ways of reflection, insight and connecting to the uncanny, the deeper feelings within and a society in a time of uncertainty.”
Director of Maraya Art Centre and 1971 – Design Space, Dr. Nina Heydemann, mentioned:
“It is our great pleasure to open with three new exhibitions in September and to welcome the works by Faculty and Professional Staff Members of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah in our premises. The three exhibitions address various themes and reflect them in numerous disciplines, thereby presenting a truly international outlook on the current events that are shaping and transforming our world today.”
All three exhibitions offer an extensive online program, including 360 degree virtual tours, filmed artist interviews and documentaries about the newly created artworks, recorded curator’s tours, artist’s commentaries on specific artworks, online and print publications alongside a series of virtual talks and workshops.