Naima Morelli

Artist and curator Alia Zaal

Responding to Impressionism, UAE artist Alia Zaal studied the natural landscapes of Vétheuil, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, both in their natural and artificial ecosystems, finding connections between her own UAE landscape and the impressionist one. The artist reimagines familiar scenes of the sea, the desert and the city lit by the sun, the moon and street lights.

I have interviewed Alia Zaal for Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the piece

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Finally my piece on the Venice Biennale 2022 has been published by Plural Art Mag. While the piece was written in the aftermath of the opening, it came out just now, given the webmagazine’s editorial schedule.

The article is a report, as well as an overview, and it is focused on the Southeast Asian presence, which this year was much smaller compared to previous years.

Here is the link to the piece

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Two Libyan women walk past graffiti depicting Muammar Gaddafi

My first article for Al Jazeera has just been published. It’s called “The writers retelling Libya’s history through a feminist lens” and tells how Libya’s women novelists (but not exclusively them) are reframing the country’s stories in a post-Gaddafi era.

I worked on it for a long time, and it was very satisfying to get to write a longform piece with a bit more of a narrative style. Also, I got to know this county a little deeper, not just through its visual art but also through literature. For the piece I have interviewed, among others, writers Kawther Eljehmi, Maryem Salama, Manuela Piemonte Mahbuba Khalifa, and Mariza d’Anna, and publisher Ghassan Fergiani.

Here is the link to the piece

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There is but one truth spoken in many different languages. This belief lies at the core of Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto’s practice. With his artworks that examine the cultures of Europe and Java, he signals to us that while the forms, protagonists and settings of each culture’s mythologies differ, they ultimately convey similar fundamental truths about humanity. 

Over the years, Eddy Susanto has reframed how the East and West meet. The Jakarta-born, Yogyakarta-based artist is on a mission to uncover the culture and seminal texts which are the patrimony of the Javanese. However, some of these have been forgotten over time, due to reasons such as the limits of oral transmission, the impact of colonialism and, later on, mass culture.

I have written about Eddy Susanto’s show I have curated in Venice for Plural Art Mag.

Here is the link to the piece

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It has been such a long time since I last indulged in some personal reflections on this blog, and let you readers know what’s up with my life and my different practices. I felt it was high time, so I have started writing this personal essay on the train ride from Naples to Venice, and I have finished it in my hometown Sorrento, in preparation for being back in my turf, Rome. 

The train journey from Naples to Venice was six hours, which I usually spend reading, listening to music, podcasts, and calling friends sometimes. But six hours of uninterrupted trip, crossing Italy from South to North, are a gift of sorts. You are launched at full speed in a beautiful landscape, there is movement and stillness, a precious time to gather your thoughts, in preparation for a fresh start. A time for aimless pleasure, for allowing reflections to form. What will come will be the time for activity, and both the leisure – the otium of the Romans – and the action-filled, execution part, need to be appreciated fully. If you train your sensitivity, you’ll know when and how to flow from one state to another. This is ultimately the sense I’ve been sharpening these past few months.

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In this video Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto talks about his work for his solo show in Venice. Called “Allegory of Hell, from Borobudur to Dante from July 28th to September 4th at GAD, Giudecca Art District. The exhibition was sponsored by Artsociates, and I co-curated it with Valentina Levy.

More info here (in Italian)

More info (in English)

Giudecca Art District website

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One of my favourite Southeast Asian artist, Eddy Susanto, is currently having his first solo show in Europe, and it’s in Italy, Venice, in parallel with the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale. Called “Allegory of Hell, from Borobudur to Dante ”, the show is taking place in Venice from July 28th to September 4th.

This is particularly relevant, considering that this year Indonesia doesn’t have its own national pavilion, so we thought of Eddy as a representative for the country. The show was sponsored by Artsociates, and I’m glad to say that I co-curated it with Valentina Levy at GAD, Giudecca Art District.

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I’m really happy to share this incredibly interesting interview with curator Patrick Flores, whose curatorial work and research I greatly admire, and never fails to expands my imagination and understanding of the role of contemporary art.

Also, it’s my first collaboration with ArtAsiaPacific. Being one of the most authoritative magazines about contemporary art in Asia, it’s a pleasure and an honour to have contributed with my writing!

Here is the link to the interview

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One of the most recognised contemporary Mongolian artists, Mugi has presented at the Venice Biennale a show titled “A Journey Through Vulnerability” exploring the concept of samsara, compassion, and healing.

I have interviewed the artist at the Mongolian Pavilion in Venice for CoBo Social.

Here is the link to the piece

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Filipino curator Patrick Flores really likes the word “complicated.”

He actually uses it a lot as a verb: “complicating.” I find this lexical choice so compelling that sitting across him at a Formica table in a bare room in Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice, I can’t help but ask, “You use the word ‘complicating’ a lot. Is it for you a good thing, a bad thing, or a neutral thing? Tell me about it!”

For a little bit of context, we are speaking at the Venice Biennale, during its opening days. Taiwan’s National Pavilion – which is actually not a national pavilion at all, but instead an ‘official collateral show,’ since Taiwan is, of course, not considered a nation – is being presented at the Palazzo delle Prigioni.

I wrote about the Taiwanese Pavilion for Plural Art Mag.

Here is the link to the piece

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Rula Halawani

“I believe in destiny. And indeed the way I began with photography was a complete accident,” says Palestinian artist Rula Halawani: “It was just something that came to me.”

Born in Jerusalem in 1964, Halawani is influencing generations of young artists and photographers, both with her rich oeuvre, exhibited in shows, Biennales, and art fairs around the world, as well as her role as an art teacher and professor at Birzeit University in Palestine. I spoke to her for Al-Monitor.

Here is the link to the interview 

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In this handout image provided by MD Beast, MDL Beast Festival - the Saudi Soundstorm has arrived, wowing over 130,000 fans on its first day on Dec. 19, 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“Escaping from the dark ages” is how many Saudi artists refer to the country’s emergence from a period of cultural obscurity. Following a similar strategy to neighbors such as the Emirates, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to diversify the economy which has been mostly reliant on oil and gas revenues.

Saudi’s main cities of Jeddah and Riyadh are the center of the new art scene. I wrote about it for Al-Monitor.

Here is the link to the piece

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