Naima Morelli

Among the different research I’m currently conducting around different themes and places in contemporary art, one of the interest trail in Italian colonialism in North Africa.

I have written some pieces about Italian colonialism in Libya, and now I looked at Ethiopia and Eritrea with Eritrean-born artist Dawit L. Petros.

He has focused for over a decade on a critical re-reading of colonialism. His artworks aim for an introspective and textured analysis of the historical factors that determined migrations, and his practice always includes extensive research on the field.

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Middle East Monitor has just published my interview with Lena Merhej, Karen Keyrouz and Barrack Rima, members of the Lebanese comics collective Samandal

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It’s always a privilege to be able to interview cultural figures I have been admiring for a long time. Since my first inception to Singapore, I wowed at the green architecture of the firm WOHA.

Thanks to a virtual show at Gajah Gallery, I have found out WOHA’s founder Richard Hassell is also an art lover and collector. He curated the show Complex Humour highlighting works by I GAK Murniasih and Yunizar.

Both artists present humourous works overlaid with much more difficult themes, as well as tribal elements.

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My interview with illustrator and comic book artist Andrea Serio has just been published on the Italian webmagazine Art a Part of Culture.

I have been admiring this artist for many years, and is no exaggeration to say that his art influenced my way of looking at the landscape.

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The webmagazine Global Comment has just published my interview with Silvia Moresi and Claudia Comito, authors and curators of the book “Arabpop”, a deep dive into the cultural manifestations, shades and consequences of the Arab Springs.

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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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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