Naima Morelli

Archive
Middle East
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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“For me, there is always a visceral element to how I create,” tells me Suha Araj from her home in Brooklyn. “That’s why I’m always drawn to the stories of the Diaspora, because that’s where I have the most emotion. I’m interested in how people survive, and the clashes of living between two cultures.”

My interview with Palestinian-American director Suha Araj has just been published on Middle East Monitor. It was a wonderful conversation that opened up to me new learning not only about Arab cinema, but also about how one becomes a director.

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In the last couple of years I have been developing a growing fascination with the complexities of Libyan culture. While in my past I have been focused mainly on how Italian artists were looking at colonialism in Libya, now I’m starting to delve on the voices of Libyan artists themselves.

And what a better way of approaching the subject than interviewing Najlaa Elageli for Middle East Monitor. She has greatly contributed to spread the knowledge on contemporary Libyan art in the country and abroad.

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Artist, director and poet Hind Shoufani insists that her Palestinian-ness is a political act. “It is a choice to be on this side of history,” she tells me, “whether we triumph or not, whether I carry some piece of identification paper with blue colours on it, or green colours on it, or rainbow glitter tie-dye on it.”

Middle East Monitor has just published my interview with Hind Shoufani.

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Middle East Monitor has just published my interview with Lena Merhej, Karen Keyrouz and Barrack Rima, members of the Lebanese comics collective Samandal

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The webmagazine Global Comment has just published my interview with Silvia Moresi and Claudia Comito, authors and curators of the book “Arabpop”, a deep dive into the cultural manifestations, shades and consequences of the Arab Springs.

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