Naima Morelli

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Artist Manal AlDowayan poses ahead of the opening of the exhibition 'The Future of a Promise' in Venice, Italy on June 1, 2011 [Marco Secchi/Getty Images]

I am just back from Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia, where artist Manal AlDowayan has two shows in the context of the Al-Ula art festival.

I sat with the artist asking her about her partecipation at the upcoming Venice Biennale, and about her work based on both tradition, community partecipation and women in Saudi Arabia.

Here is the link to the interview

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In my interview with curator Nadine Khalil for The Markaz Review, we discover the artists on display in Dubai in the exhibition, I Can No Longer Produce the Limits of My Own Body, on view at the Nika Gallery through the 24th of February, 2024.

Here is the link to the article

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Faisal Saleh, founder of Palestinian Museum, speaks during the inauguration of the facility in Woodbridge, Connecticut, April 22, 2018. [HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images]

“A few months ago, the director of the Palestine Museum US, Faisal Saleh, was in a room in Venice with members of the commission for the 2024 Venice Art Biennale. They tried to explain to him why his proposal for a collateral exhibition of Palestinian artists was rejected.

Saleh is not only Palestinian, but also very American in his ethos. So, he told me, when the Biennale spokesperson tried to convince him that art and politics have to be kept separate, he didn’t hesitate to tell them, ‘Well, I may not be as much of an expert on art as you are, but I do know that politics and art are intertwined. You can’t really separate one from the other.’ “

Faisal Saleh, director of the Palestine Museum US has started a petition to have a Palestinian-only collateral show at the Venice Biennale 2024. I spoke with him for Middle East Monitor.

Here is the link to the interview

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Palestinian artist Samia Halaby discusses her latest exhibition,  'Flurrying' | Arab News

“I see the beauty in many places, many times, and I have always wanted to interrupt conversations to point out what I see,” says Palestinian artist Samia Halaby. “I learned not to do so, and share beauty through painting.”

Today in her eighties, Samia Halaby is a pioneer of abstract painting and a central figure in Palestinian art, with an artistic career that started in the late 1950s and was also accompanied by a strong commitment to the liberation of her country. 

I have interviewed the artist for The New Arab.

Here is the link to the interview

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My latest piece for The Financial Times. I have interviewed the Taiwanese artist Su-Hui Yui about his work on collective memories, transgression and technological change in Asian societies that he presented during the Singapore Art Week.

Here is the link to the piece

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I first visited the cultural center Ithra in Saudi Arabia back in April, and I have recently wrote a guide to it for the Uk-based travel magazine Wanderlust.

“Driving up to the centre, in concentric circles around Ithra, is the best way to take in the sleek sculptural silver shape of the building of the cultural center Ithra in Dhahran, in the Eastern Province.

After an initial sense of wonder, curiosity arises about a space fast becoming a leading creative institution, and a bastion for art and cross-cultural experiences in the Saudi art scene.”

Here is the link to the piece

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Along with Jeddah, Riyadh is at the forefront of everything contemporary and trendy in Saudi. The Riyadh art scene is becoming more lively by the day, thanks to an ever-growing calendar of Biennales, festivals, and events.

I wrote for Wanderlust a list of seven of the most interesting art spaces in town, to understand what contemporary art means in a bustling country that is undergoing such rapid social change.

Here is the link to the piece

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I have written the curatorial text for the new show “Descendants of the Dragons” by Singapore-based Kazakh artist Inessa Kalabekova at the Music Box Museum. The show opened on 1 December, and will run until 31 January 2024.

Please find the press release down below.

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Rashed AlShashai, Brand 16, December 2023.

My piece on the light art festival Noor Riyadh has just been published on Al-Monitor.

“Standing in the middle of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh, a swarm of drones creates delicate constellations on the horizon. A virtuoso is playing the piano on a stage, complementing the 3,000-drone performance conceived by Studio Drift — an artist duo formed by Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta — called ‘Desert Swarm’.”

Here is the link to the article

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The Italian Magazine Arabpop has just published my interview with Libyan artist Marwa Benhalim in Italian, with the title “The history of the world in a fist of couscous.”

This issue magazine themed “feast” is now out in the press.

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What is the role of art in times of conflict? I wrote a piece about it for Middle East Monitor, centered on the art light festival, Manar Abu Dhabi, curated by Reem Fadda and Alia Zaal Lootah from 15 November 2023. The festival runs to 30 January 2024.

Here is the link to the article

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The Markaz Review has published my latest article called “My Love for Derna: Interview with Libyan Writer Mahbuba Khalifa”

Mahbuba Khalifa, a Libyan philosophy graduate, is an author and poet from flood-devastated Derna, often called Libya’s “city of poets.” She has devoted her most recent book to the city of her childhood and adolescence.

Here is the link to the interview

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