SIKKA 2012, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority’s (Dubai Culture) dedicated artist-led fair of commissioned work by UAE talent, has unveiled the selected artists and their projects, for the fair’s second edition to be held from March 15 to 25, 2012 running concurrently with Art Week, Dubai’s premier umbrella arts initiative.
The artists were short-listed by SIKKA’s cross-disciplinary Selection Committee, chaired by the Authority, comprising established Emirati creative influencers including artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz, curator and publisher Rami Farook, and architect Khalid Al Najjar, together with Antonia Carver, Fair Director, Art Dubai, and Salem Belyouha, Projects & Events Director, Dubai Culture. The artists were chosen for the concept of their projects, their inspirations, techniques, mediums and know-how of the artists.
The artists who will present their works at SIKKA 2012 include: Mariam Abbas; Mohammed Abualqussam; Shamma Al Amri; Firas Audeh; Mona Ayyash; Khalif Al Banna; Isak Berbic; Nada Dada; Khawla Darwish; Nargis Dhirani; Zlatan Filipović; Mohammed Hindash; Rania Jishi; Abdul Rauf Khalfan; Alia Lootah; Farah Nasri; Martin Pakvis; Atul Panase; Maisoon Al Saleh; Yusra Saleh; UBIK; Sinisa Vlajković; and Lantian Xie.
Salem Belyouha, Projects & Events Director, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “The selected projects for SIKKA 2012 underline the evolving and varied visual arts landscape of the region. These artists have explored a spectrum of topics through mediums ranging from photography to mixed-media installations bringing a rich personal perspective to the work. Their participation will be an inspiration for emerging artists in the country and in turn contribute to enhancing original content creation.”
“SIKKA 2012 will present the direction of evolution of art in the UAE, led by artists here who integrate local ideas with global trends. SIKKA, thus, is the first window to the emerging art scene in the UAE,” he added.
SIKKA 2012 will be held at the historic Al Bastakiya, the vibrant cultural nerve-centre of Dubai.
Karam: A Tribute to Generosity
Black ink on cartridge paper
Karam: A Tribute to Generosity consists of a pointillist illustration that explores local elements and scenarios, typical to Dubai’s rustic neighbourhoods, created meticulously and punctilous detail.
Mariam Abbas is an Emirati artist specialising in illustrations. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication in 2006 and instantly got into the freelance design scene. Abbas raises awareness of the small illustration community, and integrating it into the blossoming art scene of Dubai would be the key themes of her practice. Abbas has exhibited her work at various galleries and exhibits such as, ‘The Lessedra 4th World Art Print’ at the Lessedra Gallery – Sofia, Bulgaria, ‘Exposed’ – ‘Visual Communication and Multimedia Exhibition’, Qanat AlQasba – Sharjah UAE. ‘The Lessedra 6th World Art Print’ at the Lessedra Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria and the ‘New Signature Art Exhibition’ at Business Bay – Dubai, UAE, where she also received an award for her oil paintings.
Faith (El Eman)
Faith (El Eman) is a video projection thatdelves into the realms of blind faith. The Arabic text literally translates to “Allah”; showing the artists’ strong connection with his religion.
Mohammed Abualqumssan is a Palestinian artist based in Dubai. Currently a senior at the Visual Communications school at the American University in Dubai. He employs a simplistic style to his work, aiming to portray an idea with a simple design that connects with minds at different levels, using graphical design as his primary tool. He won the International Advertising Association (IAA) MENA Region Denstu Poster Competition in 2011. And is also co-founder and art director of Hoor Design Co, a freelance graphic design company.
Shamma Al Amri
Photography and Installation
Pinhole camera, photographic prints, video camera, wooden box
Still is a life size installation comprising of pinhole photographs investigating our relationship to time, change and space dislocations.
Emirati artist Shamma Al Amri is currently completing her masters in Culture and Creative Industries at the Higher Colleges of Technology. Amri’s work has been exhibited at Art Dubai 2011, Third Line, Tashkeel and Ara Gallery. Amri’s art is multidisciplinary, ranging from mixed media to installations. Her signature pinhole photography work has received much acclaim. Amri is the co-founder of nbx2010 “The Nomad Box Project”; a transformed shipping container that tours the city presenting contemporary local arts to the public.
Modified washing machine, electrical cable, cable reels and switch box
Displacementis an installation that cohesively frames all the artwork exhibited in Al Bastakiya. This project aims at strategically placing an old washing machine that is running off balance on a continuous spin cycle at the end of the exhibition route. It is a highly kinetic installation that asserts its presence through the rickety sounds and vibrations it propagates throughout its surroundings. The washing machine connects to a power source that is several hundred feet away using a vintage cloth encased electrical wire that runs through all the exhibiting venues of Al Bastakiya. While acting as a visual escort to visitors of the exhibition, the wire (red and white) projects the visually imposing presence of its reason-d'être, a violently spinning washing machine. This violence is not a mere manifestation of the machine’s off-balance spin cycle, rather it derives itself from the displacement the machine suffers by being an object that is utterly out of place. An object that is angry with Al Bastakiya for being a plastic environment that has ended its existence as a town village and remanufactured itself into being an exhibition space. This work seeks to bring to attention the contemporary crisis of displacement that seems to permeate our geographical context.
Firas Audeh is a Palestinian Architect who was brought up in Dubai. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Sharjah and is currently a practicing architect in the UAE. While grounded in the field of architecture he is engaged in spatial and formal research.
Digital Photography on Lambda Print
Portrait is a series of photographs that document the use of imagery and text on shops signs in Old Dubai– home to various communities that are not visible in the other, ‘glamorous’ parts of Dubai.
Mona Ayyash is a Palestinian photographer that was born in Kuwait City in 1987. Her interest in photography developed during her freshman year of university at the American University in Dubai. She took an analogue photography course and chose to specialize in darkroom. She usually likes to examine her society and surroundings in her art practice. She has exhibited her work in various well known Dubai based art galleries such as Art Space, Ayyam Gallery, The Empty Quarter and The Third Line. She has also had various exhibitions in New York and Arizona, USA.
Knight without a Horse
Khalid Al Banna
Fabric and paper collage
Knight without a Horse is a series of framed fabric and paper collages that address the degradation of morality as a result of blind ambition.
Artist Ahmed Al Banna started his artistic journey by joining the Emirates Fine Arts Society. Hence, Banna went on to produce many works using etching techniques, as he explored the realm of monochromatic colours, textures of papers; and attempted to introduce new techniques, extracting countless spectrums and colour gradations. His work is known for using techniques of collage with paper and fabrics. His notable exhibitions include; the U.A.E Embassy exhibition, Montgomery (2011), ‘Emirati Expressions’ in Gallery One, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2009), Cultural week of Emirates in Berlin, Germany (2008), Sharjah Biennial 2005, UAE, GCC Annual Exhibition, Kuwait. Apart from this, Banna has also had group exhibitions in Best Gallery, The Jamjar Dubai, Salwa Zeidan Gallery, and Qibab Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi. Banna was also juror in the Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Award for Children Creativity.
D.M., The Arabian Gulf Chapter
From the D.M., The Arabian Gulf Chapter is an additional part to a long-term project, where the artist stages the life history of an individual, whose account unfolds into current global politics. Engineer D.M.’s work, as an expert on thermo stable materials for the production of industrial chimneystacks, has taken him and his camera through Libya, Lebanon, East Germany, Italy, the Non-Aligned, and Africa dating from the 1970’s. This continuing chapter, The Arabian Gulf, unfolds his travels in the Gulf during the 1980's. Complicating the binary of fiction and nonfiction, this installation combines archive material, technical photographs, documentary images, tourist snapshots and text, speculating on the visualization of histories, culture, as well as the political and aesthetic production of memory.
Isak Berbic is a photography, video and performance artist. He studied photography, film and electronic media at the University of Illinois at Chicago and currently teaches at the College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah. Berbic has exhibited his work in the ‘Singapore Biennale’ (2008); ‘Dojima River Biennale’ (2009), Japan and Jatiwangi Art Festival (2008), Indonesia. His research deals with histories, politics, tragedy, memory, humour, exile, and the limits of representation.
How to be An Emirati Artist?
How To Be An Emirati Artist? is a satirical lecture on the state of artists in the UAE art scene and a quick look at successful and commercial art, drawn from the artist’s personal experiences in the art industry and significant art events in the country.
Nada Dada is an Emirati performance artist, writer and photographer. She is stylistically drawn to contemporary art and uses self-portraits as her crucial device to document and shed light on the problems of the UAE art scene, the personal tragedies of the Arab women and the demise of good food, music and religion in the present age. Her artistic journey began with expressionistic paintings and drawings. She studied at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Sharjah establishing herself as a conceptual and self-critical artist. She adopts the last name Dada as homage to the cultural phenomenon of the early 20th century, the Dada Movement.
The Language of the Hearts
ECG machine, gel, wires
The Language of the Heart expands on the artist’s previous series titled In Memory of the Departed Beloved Ones and
The Garden of The Hearts, which stem from her own experience following the loss of her loved ones due to a cardiovascular disease. This installation of multiple threads simulates various readings of Electrocardiography exams – granting them spaciousness and pulse.
Emirati artist Khawla Darwish studied at the Zayed University Dubai, College of Art and Design. Darwish is a member of ADMAF "Abu Dhabi music and arts foundation" and is a key member to curate the Zayed University show at the 53rd Venice Biennial. She received the "Young Artist Grant Award 2010" from Emirates Foundation, and was selected for the Emirati artist in residence for DUCTAC at Mall of the Emirates in 2011, and was even shortlisted for the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award in 2012. Darwish has exhibited her artworks in a number of exhibitions throughout the past five years, most notably at the 53rd edition of the Venice Biennial in 2009, and Art Dubai in 2010. Darwish has developed her own style and created her own slogan "the cardiovascular heart" based on her personal experiences, such as losing her father and brother to cardiovascular disease.
Home is an installation based on the idea that our environment moulds our cultural identity; how there is a certain sense of unfamiliarity that arises in expats before they grow accustomed to their new homes in Dubai.
Nargis Dhirani is a fine artist currently based in the UAE. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from American University in Dubai. Her work addresses concepts such as fear, comfort, self-representation, cultural and female identity. She works with a wide range of mediums, including soft sculpture, installation, video and photography. Her sculpture work is particularly intriguing and unique as she creates kinetic, interactive sculptures.
Intervention of a Flat Space
Photography on aluminium sheets
Intervention of a Flat Space consists of a panorama of the viewer’s surroundings.
Lebanese artist Farah Nasri is a recent graduate of American University of Sharjah with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. She was shortlisted for the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award in 2012. She considers photography as an essential medium to explore; employing reoccurring theme in her work, which include the study of space and spatial elements, perception, and transience through a machine; her camera.
Peak Oil is a site-specific mixed media installation, comprising of various elements and symbols relating to the environment; namely its’ complex processes and the transformation of matter. The work can be seen as a translation of multiple of observations – a spatial diary – providing the viewer with a physical manifestation of the artist’s thoughts.
Martin Pakvis is a Dutch conceptual artist that graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Hague. His project, “Spatial Diary” was displayed at various galleries in the non-commercial sub scene in Europe and North-America. Pakvis has done several artist-residency programs, living the life of a nomadic artist. Moving to New York proved to be a pivotal point in his career, as he witnessed a big social intervention, the collapse of the Twin Towers, leading to a tremendous impact on his work making it impossible for him to produce anything relevant anymore. Pakvis later moved to the UAE where he is the assistant of an older artist Anna Boghiguian during the Sharjah Biennial, where he truly has an epiphany as an artist. A few months after this encounter, he rediscovers himself as an emerging artist ready to produce art that matters to him
SIKKA 2012 VISUAL DIARY
Live sketching on location
Digital Sketching Tablet
SIKKA 2012 Visual Diary is an on-the-spot sketching project that depicts and records the flow of people and activities within SIKKA, as well as the architecture of Al Bastakiya.
Indian artist, Atul Panase enjoys working with myriad mediums on canvas such as watercolours, inks, pastels and acrylics. He enjoys creating a wide range of artistic styles including, portraits, landscapes, compositions, sketches, cartoons and photography. He has been part of Tashkeel Gallery’s “Portrait of a Generation” exhibit and ‘Kaleidoscope’ exhibit held by the Indian Embassy in Dubai (2009)
Background music by: Nicola Angiolucci
Video and Sound Installation
Seeds is a series of animations that features a character moving choreographically along a track of domestic sounds, as she explores the built environment of Al Bastakiya, giving the area a new life, as it was long abandoned by its’ original dwellers.
Susy is a Saudi-Italian artist who was born in Rome, brought up in Jeddah and is currently living and working in Dubai. She was educated first as an Architect and then as an Urban Planner at the American University of Sharjah between 2001 and 2011. Her art revolves around documenting the intimate relationship she has with both her domestic situation and society at large by use of vignettes that are rigorously drawn using black drafting pens on white paper. Her latest involvements in the art scene of the UAE include: the customization of MEGA for the Project MEGA exhibition (2010), a series of five vignettes produced for and published by Art Dubai in “Project Space” (2010) and a solo exhibition at Art Connection in Dubai (2010).
Archival Inkjet Prints
Bathers in the Storm, Ajman
Archival Inkjet Prints
A Photo Op, Umm Al Quwain
Archival Inkjet Prints
Across the Beach, Ajman
Archival Inkjet Prints
Archival Inkjet Prints
The Umbrellas of Fujairah
Archival Inkjet Prints
Tank Top, Al Ain
Archival Inkjet Prints
Starscape, Ras Al Khaimah
Archival Inkjet Prints
High Maintenance, Ajman
Archival Inkjet Prints
This series of eight photographs is an exploration of the less obvious facets of the UAE’s topography, amalgamating both natural and social elements of the landscape into one ephemeral structure, frozen in time. Using the ‘road-movie’ approach as exemplified by the likes of photographer Robert Frank in ‘The Americans’, film director Wim Wenders in ‘Paris, Texas’ or writer Jack Kerouac in ‘On The Road’, the artist embarks on a journey of self-discovery, hence the resulting images are an attempt to express his genuine interest in the world outside by exploring that which he holds within him.
‘Genius loci’ is a Latin term often used in architecture to describe the distinctive atmosphere or pervading spirit of a place, captured by transcending the limits of conventional senses and tapping into the intuition.
Sinisa Vlajković was born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1969. He graduated from the University of Belgrade in 1994 with a Masters Degree in Regional Planning. In 1995 he switched to graphic design and advertising and has since worked as an art director for major advertising agencies in Belgrade, London, Beirut and Dubai. From 1995 he has been working on personal photography projects. Vlajković’ssolo exhibitions extend locally and internationall, including the likes of: The Pavillion Downtown Dubai, 2011; The Empty Quarter, Dubai, 2009; CZKD, Belgrade, Serbia, 1999; Soho Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia, 1999. Group shows include, FOTO8 Summer Exhibition, London 2008; Photo Paris, 2010; Jacaranda Images, Amman, 2008.
Vlajković’s also has won various awards such as First prize in the ‘Creatives Behind The Lens’, Dubai, 2008; Honorable Mention - International Photography Awards, Los Angeles, 2008; and was a finalist for the New York Photo Awards and FOTO8 Summer Show, London, 2008.
Video and sound installation
Alef (working title) is an interactive installation of cassette recorders and projected images working in concert to describe a meeting between Mehad Hamad and Emmanuelle Riva. Images are appropriated from the seminal New Wave film Hiroshima Mon Amour, in which an unnamed woman from France played by Emmanuelle Riva travels to Japan, where she meets and falls madly and rapidly in love with a Japanese man. Their romance is short lived due to her impending departure and the growing weight of her burden in representing a post-war European psyche wrought with painful nostalgia whilst eager to birth a post-colonialism which inevitably fails.
Weaving an alternate fiction, this work imagines her travelling instead to Dubai in search of her object of affection. Instead, he is nowhere to be found and she finds herself palpably wooed by the songs of Mehad Hamad. Herein, the entire Hiroshima film is cut and discarded with the exception of those shots and scenes where the lady from the West is ostensibly alone or away from her lover in moments of solitary retrospect. His presence is erased and his absence leaves her to wonder whether he was ever present at all. These sequences are then arranged and rearranged randomly in real time so as to never repeat, resulting in a perpetually self-manifesting narrative. In other words, the film never ends or loops and is different with each viewing experience.
Lantian Xie is a diaspora artist currently living and working between Chicago and Dubai. He was born in China and raised between Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. He is an MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the recent winner of the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award.
Artist Collective; Eman Abdulhusain, Mohammed Abualqumssan, Olusegun Dada,
Ahmad Daoud, Nazaneen Naddaf, Meera Lafir, Sharanya Kunnath, Sena Naib, Badr Sadiq, Sandra Wasif
Kalendae is a monumental laser-cut wooden calendar that combines several calendars from different cultures, unified typographically using the ‘tabletto’ stencil developed by a Dutch graphic designer – in which any letterform, number or punctuation can be designed and adapted to any language. Each calendar with all its elements is represented by a ring within a circle, creating an ensemble that allows for multiple readings of time as well as space.
A102 comprises of a group of artists from all walks of life, tied together by what they study, where they study, and how they study; they are graphic designers, fine artists and advertisers at the American University in Dubai. Most were born and raised in the UAE or its’ neighbouring countries, despite hailing from various cultural backgrounds. Ethnically, they cover countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Nigeria. Their various backgrounds and beliefs; whether religious, ethnic or cultural; play a major role in building who they are today. Therefore, they have adapted to the culture of the Emirates whilst their heritage is diluted, but not eroded. Their strengths range from illustration and fashion designing to branding and typography. They seek to combine all their individual unique creative strengths to demonstrate a unified design.
Laminated Digital Print
Dara Series consists of a group of paintings revolving around the mysterious sinking of the passenger liner, the MV Dara in 1961; caused by an explosion on the ship, and the lives tragically affected by it.
Maisoon Saleh is a young Emirati artist and entrepreneur, based in Dubai. She graduated from Zayed University in 2010 with a degree in Interior Designing. Saleh’s work has been exhibited at Art Dubai, ‘Emirati Expression’ at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi and ‘Art Cars’ in Manarat Al Saadiyat. Her art combines the figurative and surreal, portraying her concerns for the modern yet traditionally rooted Emirati culture.
Video Installation; mixed media
On Air is a smart exploration of the impact daily news has on us, each in a different way, and how it infiltrates and affects family relations. The display of this work inverses the role of the viewer – who no longer is a viewer, but the perpetrator responsible for creating this family’s sudden burst and breakup. The artist’s amusing style allows us to directly access our feelings and reflections about the world’s turmoil, the way we relate to the people we love, and our ability to cast all aside to preserve ourselves.
Rania Jishi is a Palestinian visual artist, based in Dubai, UAE. She graduated from the American University in Dubai, school of Visual Communication, majoring in Studio Arts. She boasts a vast expanse of mediums such as painting, drawing, photography, video art, installation, and even uses writing as a form of expression.
Jishi addresses topics that are relevant to the Arab world at a social & political scale. She has been involved with various locally based galleries such as The Jamjar (2009) and was part of the Creek Art Fair Residency (2008).
Abdul Rauf Khalfan
Acrylic on canvas
My Culture comprises of four canvases that portray abstract images depicting the UAE’s culture and heritage, as they are rotated clockwise.
Abdul Rauf Khalfan is an Emirati artist that primarily creates abstract art using oil paints. Khalfan draws great inspiration from media; his subject matter consists of horses, traditional coffee pots and buildings of local tradition and heritage. He won the Dubai World Tennis Club logo competition, and was shortlisted for the Dubai Shopping Festival, Rivoli greeting cards competition.
Tapestry of the Bastakiya
Sound and video installation
Various objects, speakers
Set at the dead end of a narrow sikka in Al Bastakiya near the Mosque, Tapestry of the Bastakiya is an interactive installation combining stencils, sounds, and a series of ten digital prints that will be produced in an accretive manner over the period of SIKKA – one for each day of the fair, through an automated recording and documentation of the visitors’ passage. It evokes a sense of nostalgia through overlaying graphical content by using shadows of objects, characters, symbols of trade, life and lifestyle of the past and complementing it with the sounds of life on the Dubai creek. This tapestry intends to complement the architectural setting that at times feels too silent and enable the viewer to experience ‘browsing through a timeline’ of the Bastakiya and its surroundings.
Bosnian artist, Zlatan Filipović specializes in video art and digital technology. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and a Masters of Fine Arts in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University, NY. Filipović currently works at the American University of Sharjah, and has previously taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. His exhibitions range from a series of prominent local and international events and galleries, namely Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt), Almine Rech in Paris, The Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah and Sharjah Art Museum.
Unees Sau Chauraasi - A Dystopian Qawwali Party
Unees Sau Chauraasi - A Dystopian Qawwali Partyis a sound installation that fuses the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and an audio book narration of George Orwell's 1984 in a traditional Qawwali setting. The piece explores the mystical and spiritual tendencies of Qawwali, drawing parallels with modern day ideologies of propaganda and state control as discussed by Orwell in his seminal work 1984. The site specificity of this project could as well address the historic roots of Al Bastakiya district and the cultural contribution immigrants from Persia and South Asia have bought with them.
UBIK is a conceptual installation artist from Kerala, India, based in the U.A.E. UBIK has had solo exhibitions at various prominent local galleries such as The Jamjar (2009), Zayed University (2010), Shelter (2010) and Traffic (2011), Satellite (2011). Furthermore, he is scheduled to present new projects for Art Dubai (2012), and will debut with a solo exhibition at the Sabrina Amrani Gallery based in Madrid later this year. Ubik’s minimalistic yet thought provoking installations boast a sense of innovation and wittiness that is unique to his art.
Acrylic on Canvas, cotton pads
Revelation is an installation that re-enacts a bathroom setting, displaying a mirror over a sink, namely a framed canvas, portraying the face of a girl and her conflicted emotions as she stares into the mirror in disbelief after removing her makeup.
Mohammed Hindash is an award winning Jordanian artist based in Dubai, U.A.E. Currently, studying at the American University in Dubai, he has drawn great inspiration stylistically from comic books throughout his teenage years and has experimented with mediums ranging from ink drawings and paintings to portraiture. He has showcased his work at various exhibitions including, the Cartoon Art Gallery Dubai’s ‘Genius’ exhibition (2012), Tashkeel Gallery’s ‘FAKiE’ exhibition (2012) and Marsam Mattar Gallery’s ‘World Together’ exhibition. Securing third place for the prestigious Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award for fine arts in 2010, Hindash undoubtedly boasts a promising display of fresh talent in the U.A.E.
Alia Hussain Lootah
Assembly Line explores the ‘tarboosha’, which is made from a collection of threads tied with a knot on one end, and worn on the neckline of the ‘kandoora’. The work alludes to the passing of traditions from one generation to the next, highlighting the concept of an assembly line.
Alia Hussain Lootah is a prominent Emirati artist working in Dubai. She graduated from Zayed University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations & Advertising.. Lootah was shortlisted as the top 50 artists for the Sheikha Manal’s Young Artist Award (2010) and also recently won first place in the Emirates NBD & Tashkeel art competition. In addition, she has exhibited her work at The Ara Gallery for the 40 Poems from The Desert Exhibit. Lootah’s work primarily consists of abstract paintings, yet includes traits of realism created using mixed media.