Naima Morelli

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Interview
Palestinian artist Hazem Harb [Hazem Harb]

“Palestinian artist Hazem Harb doesn’t try to define the idea of Palestine in his work. “For me, Palestine just is,” he tells me. “I’m interested in its history and nationalism, but I don’t dwell on them by making straightforward political art. In my work, I’m trying to represent the hidden narratives of Palestine and leave room for individual memories and personal stories to come through.” “

The webmagazine Middle east Monitor has just published my interview with Palestinian artist Hazem Harb.

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The show Rintagan (Resistance) at Richard Koh Fine Art presents works that don’t come from the mind, but rather from a physical involvement with painting materials. They were first inspired by the virtual realm: “I took pictures from Instagram, and then cropped some details,” explains Haffendi. “So it’s going from the virtual, to the IRL, then – being this an online show – to the virtual again.”

My interview with Malaysian artist Haffendi Anuar has been published on Plural Art Mag.

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A collection can represent many different things; it can be a statement, contribution, research, even a love story. In the case of retired German doctor, Christoph Bendick, who has worked in Phnom Penh for 25 years, it’s the story of an encounter with a country whose painful recent history is interlaced with the resilience and strength of its people.

I have interviewed the collector for the Singapore-based magazine Plural.

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Océane Sailly, Founder and Director of HUNNA / هُنَّ in front of Alia's Zaal painting

Many of us have misconceptions and preconceived ideas about the art scene in the Gulf countries. Hence, when we see the work of a gallery like Hunna/ هُنَّ — founded this year and representing eight women artists from the Gulf — we open our eyes in disbelief.

How can these artists possibly talk about such thorny issues, like questions of power or the female body, and get away with it? We speak about it on Middle East Monitor with the founder of Hunna, gallerist Océane Sailly

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Installation view of the Imago Mundi Collection.

My second article for the collector’s webmagazine Larry’s List is an interview to Italian fashion mogul and collector Luciano Benetton.

Dubbed “Imago Mundi”, his collection and world-wide project spans from New Zealand to Burkina Faso, covering 80 countries for a total of over 10,000 artworks.

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Despite a lack of cultural spaces, as well as ongoing political and economic instability, Libyan artists are determined to nurture their diverse arts scene.

I have spoken to a few of these important figures, working from Tripoli, Benghazi or from abroad, for Middle East Eye.

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Radice and Turconi

A couple of months ago I have interviewed for Global Comment two of my favourite graphic novel authors, the creative couple Teresa Radice and Stefano Turconi. The interview has just been published; we delved into the creative process behind their most interesting work.

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Andonowati at home with a work by Tisna Sanjaya in the background. Courtesy of Andonowati.

It was an honour and a privilege to start my collaboration with Larry’s List with this interview with one of the people I admire and respect the most in the art world: Andonowati.

She is not only a extremely savvy collector with a heightened sensitivity for art, but also an accomplished mathematician, a collector, a gallerist, a business person, an art initiator, and entrepreneur and also an incredibly compassionate and kind human.

I first met her through my research on Bandung-based artist Eddy Susanto and learned about her gallery and foundation Lawangwangi Creative Space in Bandung. In 2010, Andonowati launched the Bandung Contemporary Art Award (BaCAA) — one of the most prestigious art awards in Southeast Asia, which I took part of as a judge in 2019.

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The drill is simple, yet it’s one that we can hardly keep in mind. Don’t fool with Mother Nature. And take responsibility for your behaviour towards all species. This is what the pandemic is teaching us, and what Thai artist Ruangsak Anuwatwimon has been speaking about through more than a decade of highly impactful, heartbreaking artworks. 

I have interviewed the artist and the curator Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani for the show Reincarnations III – Ecologies of Life is presently showing at Warin Lab Contemporary, Bangkok. The piece is on Plural Art Mag.

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Saudi artist Moza Almatrooshi

“The magical realism that resonates with me the most is the religious mythology that is born out of the Arabian Peninsula,” she tells me. “Until recently, there were minimal efforts to unearth all the erasure of pre-Islamic mythologies and histories in the region. I became interested in all the negative spaces that were vacant and allowed for a re-imagined social landscape to form.”

The webmagazine Middle East Monitor has just published my interview with Saudi artist Mooza Almatrooshi.

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“Before you start painting, you’re a person in flux, multi-dimensional and colourful. You decide what characteristics you want to embody as a painter prior to entering the studio each day, ” says Ruben Pang from his studio in Sardinia, Italy. 

I have interviewed the artist for Plural Art Mag for his new online solo show at Primo Marella Gallery.

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Tripoli-born art entrepreneur and educator Shatha Sbeta is very clear about her objective. “I want to bring Libyan female artists and their artworks — as well as their stories — out to the world through commerce.”

My research on Libyan contemporary art continues with an interview with Shatha Sbeta for the webmagazine Middle East Monitor.

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