Naima Morelli

Archive
Middle East
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.

Here is the link to the interview

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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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Whirling on site at Beit Beirut [Zena el Khalil]

In my research on contemporary art I started to focus a lot on the spiritual values that artists carry with them and let come through their artworks and practice – despite the many hardships they might be facing.

In this sense, the life experience of Zena El-Khalil, a wonderful artist I had the pleasure to interview for Middle East Monitor, is emblematic. We talk specifically of her way of coping with the terrible explosion that has devastated Beirut, and the way art and her spiritual practice have helped her to look for the spring to come.

Kicking off the new season of articles with this interview makes me really proud, warms my heart and encourages me to look at the struggles in life with a different perspective. Hope it will do the same for you:

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For multimedia artist Steve Sabella, these hard times require us to access the potential of our imagination in order to conjure up our collective future. His works of art reflecting the hardships of the Palestinians become universal metaphors for global rebirth.

My interview with Berlin-based Palestinian artist Steve Sabella has just been published on Middle East Monitor.

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The webmagazine Al-Monitor has just published my article on the exhibition “Art in the Age of Anxiety” at the Sharjah Art Foundation.

The exhibition (now postponed) looked at online technology and communications feeding existential angst. It seems more relevant than ever today amid the global fears due to the coronavirus outbreak and the extensive information available.

Here is the link to the article

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