Naima Morelli

Nadia Khiari’s satirical cats

I have recently interviewed Tunisian cartoonist Nadia Khiari for Middle East Monitor.

Khiari delivered her disillusioned humour through a cartoon cat called Willis. Appearing in magazines and on signs held aloft by protesters, Willis soon became the iconic “Cat of the Revolution”.

Here is the link to the interview

Read More
Whirling on site at Beit Beirut [Zena el Khalil]

In my research on contemporary art I started to focus a lot on the spiritual values that artists carry with them and let come through their artworks and practice – despite the many hardships they might be facing.

In this sense, the life experience of Zena El-Khalil, a wonderful artist I had the pleasure to interview for Middle East Monitor, is emblematic. We talk specifically of her way of coping with the terrible explosion that has devastated Beirut, and the way art and her spiritual practice have helped her to look for the spring to come.

Kicking off the new season of articles with this interview makes me really proud, warms my heart and encourages me to look at the struggles in life with a different perspective. Hope it will do the same for you:

Here is the link to the article

Read More

Three weeks ago, I met with my friend Rod in Naples and we decided to give up our egos.
He was coming from Rome by train, I was coming from Sorrento by train also and I was very late, since the boats going across the gulf were cancelled.

That was the first time I saw Rod after the lockdown happened in March. Last time we met, we were conjuring up a show in Venice for a leading Indonesian artist, together with another great Asia-expert curator. We were thrilled, and Rod in particular was juggling the excitement for a new curatorial adventure, with the alertness for the new Covid restriction on his workplace, and finally the realization that he had to work on expressing more his emotions.

Read More

Since last time I have stopped to write my reflections here on my blog, the world has changed. This is something I wouldn’t ever expected to live during my lifetime, but here we are. The pandemic, the quarantine. And now slowly resurfacing from it, everything looking so different.

Back from my trip in Malaysia in early January, I had just started a personal process of moving forward. On a personal level, this consisted into re-acclimatizing myself to living alone – having recently experienced health challenges and having left my boyfriend. It consisted into learning to drive a scooter and a car, and starting to approach a new martial art called Systema, along with deepening my yoga practice I started 5-years ago.

On a professional level, the process looked like bringing to fruition my third book, a monography on a Malaysian artist I have been working with for a prestigious gallery in Southeast Asia. I have been writing with more heart and stylistic freedom that ever – slowing down consistently on the journalism to devote to the book only. And – quite crucially – I have been publishing under my own imprint “Red Naima” my “origin” graphic novels from 2009 to 2011.

But, just like everyone was stopped in their tracks by the pandemic, I was forced to go back to my hometown Sorrento, where risk was mitigated. The feeling was initially confusion. Then I went finally back in Sorrento, I was taken over by a wave of excitement for the change the unknown. Then I settled into a new routine, adjusting to the new working demands, conditions, and spaces in the house. And since Italy has started to re-opening again, I’m getting back into my regular work, treasuring the lessons and discoveries from these 50 days of stillness.

Read More

For multimedia artist Steve Sabella, these hard times require us to access the potential of our imagination in order to conjure up our collective future. His works of art reflecting the hardships of the Palestinians become universal metaphors for global rebirth.

My interview with Berlin-based Palestinian artist Steve Sabella has just been published on Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the interview

Read More

The webmagazine Al-Monitor has just published my article on the exhibition “Art in the Age of Anxiety” at the Sharjah Art Foundation.

The exhibition (now postponed) looked at online technology and communications feeding existential angst. It seems more relevant than ever today amid the global fears due to the coronavirus outbreak and the extensive information available.

Here is the link to the article

Read More

From dirty riverbanks to the shores of Venice, Yogyakarta-based artist Handiwirman Saputra tells us the story of our objects.

My interview to Handiwirman has just been published on CoBo Social.

Here is the link to the interview

Read More

The exhibition at Palestinian Museum “Glimmer of a Grove Beyond” aims to outline the links between landscape representations and historical circumstances, through the medium of political posters.

Such posters came to prominence in Palestine between the mid-1960s and late-1980s as a means of motivating and mobilising political support in the national movement and revolution, and its armed struggle.

Here is the link to the article

Read More

The webmagazine Middle East Monitor has just published my interview with Ethiopian artist Aida Muluneh, an artist whose work I deeply admire.

Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aïda Muluneh left the country at a young age. Her global upbringing helped her to develop a multiplicity of viewpoints. Inspired by Ethiopia, she transcends it, making her subjects universal metaphors.

Here is the link to the piece

Read More

The Australian webmagazine Artshub has just published my new piece titled “Why Singapore is the new gateway for the Southeast Asian art scene”

I had a steady collaboration with this amazing platform in the past, which started when I was actually living in Melbourne and carried on throughout the different changes of base.

It was interesting to connect my three years of research on the Singapore contemporary art scene with what I could appreciate last month during the Singapore Art Week.

Of course, my piece is very positive because it’s no mystery that I love Singapore and I have a lot of faith in the way things are developing there.

Here is the link to the article

Read More

How to talk about spiritual matters in a highly secularised, hyper-pragmatic society? This was the question artists exhibiting in the show “Pneuma: Of Spirituality in Contemporary Age” at the Stamford Art Centre in Singapore grappled with during the 2020 Singapore Art Week.

The webmagazine Qantara has just published my piece on the show.

Here is the link to the piece

Read More

I had the privilege to write the curatorial essay for the catalog of Neapolitan artist Sergio Fermariello’s new show “Warriors” opening tomorrow, 7 February, at Richard Koh Fine Art in Singapore. The piece is titled: “Hitting God’s Head with a Hammer Until It Breaks” – a poignant metaphor courtesy of genius Fermariello himself.

As a side note, when I first started working with the art scene in Southeast Asia, back in 2012, I could only hope more and more ties would create between my native Italy and that part of the world.

It has been incredible to see how these exchanges unfolded, and even more beautiful to see Italian artists experiencing the Southeast Asian art world, that has been so open and kind to me.

Read More