Naima Morelli

Archive
Interview

“The Visual Arts Forum started in the streets with the idea that art is an important tool for transformation,” explains Deema Ershaid, the Visual Art Forum’s Executive Director. “Palestinian artists felt a strong sense of responsibility during that phase, a feeling that they had to do something; they wanted a say in what was happening; they longed to be a part of people’s lives.”

I have interviewed Deema and artist Rafat Asad for Middle East Monitor, to talk about the development of the art school Visual Art Forum in Palestine.

Here is the link to the interview

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There is a sincere enthusiasm when Mulyana speaks about his work and his intention of producing works on a larger scale, as I speak to him in Yogyakarta alongside Fragile Ecologies’ curator, New York-based John Silvis.

The playful and joyous elements of Muluyana’s practice have much deeper roots. At the beginning of his art practice, Mulyana knitted his works by himself and viewed it as a meditation; a way to unite with a greater force animating the universe.

Here is the link to the piece

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Nameer Qassim, “Enough”, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 100x100 cm [Courtesy of The Palestinian Museum US]

Curated by Nancy Nesvet, head curator at the Palestine Museum in the US, the exhibition “From Palestine With Art” features 19 Palestinian artists from Palestine and across the diaspora.

“This is the strongest Palestinian presentation ever,” said Faisal Saleh, director of the Palestine Museum US. “In terms of the size, and the boldness of its pieces, it is a very significant, strong presentation. I think this is going to have a very big impact and get the Palestinian name out in a big way.”

I have reviewed the show for Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the piece

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Cambodian artist Pen Robit’s work constantly bounces between figuration and abstraction. In the unpredictability of his style and subjects, he shows a willingness to explore and expand his understanding of reality through his artistic practice.

“I paint to discover the world, history, and reality through colour,” he tells me from his home studio in Phnom Penh. “I don’t care if what I’m doing is seen as contemporary art or not – my approach to painting is very classical, and I constantly look for a way to connect with the history of art.”

I have interviewed the artist for Plural Art Mag

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Courtesy of Dia Mrad and Zawyeh Gallery

“The Road to Reframe” by Dia Mrad is a photo series capturing local architecture after the explosion at the Beirut port on Aug. 4, 2020, and one of the most interesting works that has been presented at Art Dubai.

I have interviewed the artist for Al-Monitor

Here is the link to the interview

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Podcasts have been my constant companions since their inception, so I was thrilled when artist and journalist. Joana Alarcão interviewed for her “Insight of an Eco Artist” podcast.

In the interview I spoke a ton about researching Southeastasian contemporary art, my writing about art in the MENA region and even a little about my graphic novels, so the interview was divided in two parts.

Here is part 1 of the podcast

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“Dinh Q. Lê: Photographing the thread of memory” at the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris marks the first comprehensive introduction of Lê’s weaving work to a European audience.

The show comprises three different bodies of work from the 1990s to present day. The first section, “Light and Belief”, is focused on Vietnam, with reference to the Vietnam War and the experience of the Vietnamese diaspora. “Splendor and Darkness” looks at the genocide carried out by he Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Lastly, “Adrift in Darkness” utilises images of migrants to reflect on the tragedies of crossing the Mediterranean by boat.

I down with the artist for CoBo Social, to talk about the themes of his new show and his weaving process.

Here is the link to the piece

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Farah Saleh in What My Body Can/t Remember (2019) © Chris Scott , courtesy of the artist

Where does a refugee find her homeland? Perhaps in unexpected places; a memory of the country might emerge through the most mundane gestures, or even from a simple interaction with certain objects.

I spoke about this subject with Palestinian dancer Farah Saleh for Middle East Monitor. Farah is preparing a new interactive live performance installation called PAST-inuous for the upcoming Dance International Glasgow.

Here is the link to the piece

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Joseph Kai

For my new piece for Al-Monitor I speak with a comic book artist and a photographer/editor about the queer community in Lebanon – and in Beirut specifically – and how it has changed over time.

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Plural Art Mag has just published my interview with Italian artist Giacomo Zaganelli, who has created a project called Somset Art Centre for the second edition of the Thai Biennale, held in Korat.

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Can machines create value? And do objects have meaning if there are no humans around to experience them?

These are the questions that Singapore artist Gerald Leow has been grappling with in the past few months. If you’re based in Singapore, you might have seen his latest work while walking by Marina Bay Sands. Called Perpetual Motion, it’s a series of column-like sculptures with reflective surfaces that appear to be in constant dialogue with the skyscrapers on the bay.

I have to say that Gerald is one of my favourite Singaporean artists, and I have been following his work since 2015. Plural Art Mag has just published my article on his new exhibit:

Here is the link to the piece

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Hani Zurob

My latest piece for Middle East Monitor explores the work of Paris-based Gaza-born artist Hani Zurob.

In his latest series, “ZeftTime” the artist uses tar and broken glass to harrowing effect, as a metaphor for a shattered society. The works seems to suggest that amid tragedy there is no time to think and make up a narrative around what is happening; there is only the absolute presence of the emergency.

“This is the law of time,” Zurob points out. “Every passing moment is a new opportunity for a complete change.”

Here is the link to the piece

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