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Middle Eastern Artists: Express And Impress

Middle Eastern Artists: Express And Impress

Picture of Danielle Wood
Updated: 24 April 2017
Contemporary Middle Eastern art has become one of the fastest growing markets of the art world. Interest has expanded from a few galleries and individual artists to international auction houses, art fairs and famed art galleries staging works from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut. The Culture Trip has been intrigued by the rocketing influence Middle Eastern artists hold so we took a deeper look at the London galleries influencing their growth.

The Park Gallery

The Park Gallery specialises in modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art, boasting both in-house exhibitions and global art fairs. Its founder Robin Start’s interest for Middle Eastern travel sparked his passion to meet with Middle Eastern artists, collectors and museums from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria – and the list goes on – in order to bring a deeper understanding of their background to London’s current art market. The Guardians exhibition is currently showing until the 29th of November at the Leighton House Museum. Artist Adel Quraishi was asked by the Governor of Medina to base the exhibition on photographic portraits of the remaining eight ‘guardians’ of the Prophet’s Mosque. Quraishi was the only man permitted to photograph the subjects at the time when all guardian’s were alive; three of whom have since passed. The exhibition is handled with fragility and technicality demonstrated through the deep perception of Quraishi’s delivery. The Guardians sheds light on the crème de la crème of contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Janet Rady Fine Art

The emergence of Middle Eastern artists has never been stronger and Janet Rady Fine Art focuses on the discovery and representation of cutting-edge talent from the Middle East. The specialist gallery works between London and the Middle East with participation in international art fairs and events. Janet Rady Fine Art at ArtBahrain 2015 concluded this month and gave an open voice and platform to Middle Eastern artists who celebrate all things ‘beautiful and exciting.’ One of Janet Rady’s artists Patrick Altes is taking part in a collaborative exhibition Algerianism Part I – The ‘Art Of’ Being Algerian until the 8th of November 2015 at Nour Festival of Arts. The exhibition gives life to a ‘new’ Algeria; one of personality and identification by exploring their budding contemporary art scene.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Patrick Altes © Patrick Altes | Courtesy of Jane Rady Fine Art
Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Patrick Altes © Patrick Altes | Courtesy of Jane Rady Fine Art

Bonhams

Over a decade ago collectors began to show interest in regional and global Middle Eastern artists, and ever since Bonhams has continued to support their development stemming from the inaugural sale of modern Middle Eastern art in Dubai in 2008. This year alone Bonhams have held a flurry of auctions which have featured Middle Eastern artists: Islamic and Indian Art, and A Century Of Iraqi Art And Modern And Contemporary Middle Eastern Art. To top their involvement, Bonhams has been recognised by claiming the world records for Iraqi, Egyptian and Iranian artists in Middle Eastern art sales.

The Goldsmith by Faeq Hassan (Iraq 1914-1992) |Courtesy of Bonhams
The Goldsmith by Faeq Hassan (Iraq 1914-1992) | Courtesy of Bonhams

The Mosaic Rooms

The Mosaic Rooms is a non-profit gallery dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary Arab arts and culture in London; this gallery is facilitated through their free contemporary art exhibitions, events, art residencies and learning engagement programme. As one of ‘London’s hidden gems’, The Mosaic Rooms partners with larger establishments, such as The British Museum and London Design Festival, to reach a wider audience and introduce the diverse works of Arab artists. Presently until the 12th of December 2015, the exhibition Not Towards Home, But The Horizon by Syrian artist Marwan is a solo show celebrating the 81 year old’s career and works. Globally known, Marwan has selected pieces from his early works in 1960 to the present day in order to show his stylistic journey.

Untitled (2009-2010) by Marwan | Courtesy of The Mosaic Room
Untitled (2009-2010) by Marwan | Courtesy of The Mosaic Room

The rising popularity of Middle Eastern artists could be down to the acceptance of an audience willing to understand the turmoil endured in the region or the artists desire to give a first hand account of what goes on in the countries. Either way, audiences are responding to the sought after Middle Eastern art exhibitions and collections which are expanding across London.

By Danielle Wood

Danielle is the art editor for the London hub of The Culture Trip. She has a fascination with living a life full of creativity. Theatrical soul. Cinematic admirer. Champion frolicker. Avid foodie. Sunset enthusiast.