Naima Morelli

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In Southeast Asia, several artists are looking deep into local traditions and narratives, giving the mythical and historical figures obscured by colonialism, patriarchy, and consumerism, their rightful place.

Their works challenge Western-centric and patriarchal narratives, opening up new interpretations for the viewers. Each artist is bringing forth a different yet very relevant narrative.

I wrote about four of my favourite artists from the region working on these themes for CoBo Social, but truly I’m thinking to write an entire book on the subject, or at least curate a show! In the meantime, here is a taste of it.

Here is the link to the piece

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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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art ramallah

Starting Palestine’s first ever art fair during a global pandemic may seem a daunting proposition, but for Ziad Anani and Yusef Hussein, of the Zawyeh Art Gallery, it was a much needed way to bring Palestinians together in testing times.

I reported and wrote the story for Middle East Eye.

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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Desk

The question each one of us who loves art, and perhaps works in the art field must ask oneself is: with much uncertainty still looming in the upcoming year, how do artists, curators, art writers, and art appreciators keep themselves in the loop, not only growing their artistic sensitivity, but also becoming a vehicle for change towards a better society?

Global Comment has published my piece where I detail some strategies and a framework to re-articulate our approach to the art world in 2022 with renewed energy.

Here is the link to the piece

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Singapore-based webmagazine Plural has just published my interview with Burmese painter Richie Nath, also known as Richie Htet.

In the colourfully alluring world of the artist presents us with archetypes fit for our times. His acrylics show us powerful women exuding that hard, action-focused yang energy and male characters not afraid of melting into a softer, more compassionate yin expression.  

Here is the link to the interview

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Lebanese artist Etel Adnan in her home and studio, Paris. Photo: Stefan Ruiz

Sometimes you get the chance to delve deeper into the work of great artists only when they pass away and images of their art starts popping up here and there. This was the case for me with the ouvre of Lebanese artist Etel Adnan. I encountered her work upon her passing, and was mesmerized by it.

I quickly learned she had a life like no others, and at this point I couldn’t help myself writing about it. And I did, for Middle East Monitor. It goes without saying, when you write about art which deeply resonates with you, it’s really a blessing. The pen is aligned with the heart.

Here is the link to the piece

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Khaled Hourani

The webmagazine Al-Monitor has just published my piece on Palestinian gallery Zawyeh founded in 2013 in Ramallah, which recently relocated to Dubai.

Here is the link to the piece

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In the show “I am Libya”, painter Shefa Salem presents outstanding canvases, demonstrating that the public is eager to learn about the ancient history of Libya

What does it mean to be Libyan? How to reconstruct a sense of belonging for the country and its people, starting from the deepest roots of Libyan culture, while preserving diversity?

These are the questions that artist, Shefa Salem, is grappling with for her first solo show I am Libya, which took place a few weeks ago in the Barah Arts and Culture Centre in Benghazi and will travel to Tripoli’s old city at the beginning of December.

I have interviewed the artist for Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the interview

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The Singaporean art magazine Plural has just published my latest piece called “Is there a silver lining to the lack of tourism for the Balinese art scene?”

Here I’m interviewing the directors of three different art spaces, Cush Cush Gallery, Kayu, Ketemu and V-Room, to garner their experience with the pandemic shifts in the art scene, and how this is affecting artists and art spaces alike.

Here is the link to the article

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My fifth piece for Middle East Eye is about a Lebanese comic book which tells forgotten stories of country’s feminist struggle. Called ‘Where to, Marie?’, this comic book distils a century of overlooked feminist battles through the stories of five fictional characters. I have interviewed the authors.

Here is the link to the piece

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Ad-Diriyah Biennale in Saudi Arabia

Middle East Monitor has just published an opinion piece of mine about a new biennale coming up in Saudi Arabia, the Ad-Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale. I question the way and modalities Biennales need to exist in this post-pandemic world.

Here is the link to the article

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