vendredi 21 décembre 2012

une grande expo a l' IMA

L'Institut du Monde arabe presente une grande exposition d'art contemporain intitulee "25 ans de creativite arabe/art contemporain", du 16 octobre au 3 fevrier
Je vous propose ici un petit choix, comme ce serait tres difficile de vous faire voire toutes les oeuvres.

Cette exposition dont le commissariat a ete confie au critique d'art et artiste egyptien Ihab El Laban, a l'ambition, selon ce dernier" de mettre en evidence, de facon precise, les traits constitutifs d'une figure artistique arabe". Elle reunit 40 artistes dont les oevresont ete concues specialement pour la circonstance.
L'art contemporaine arabe, riche d'influences, fait montrer d'une grande pluralite de styles, qui temoignent d'une grande ouverture sur le monde et les profondes boulversements qui affectent celui-ci.

Pour toutes les informations necessaires:

lundi 8 octobre 2012

You can crush the flowers, but you can’t delay spring.

Art historian Bahia Shehab has long been fascinated with the Arabic script for ‘no.’ When revolution swept through Egypt in 2011, she began spraying the image in the streets saying no to dictators, no to military rule and no to violence.
TED Fellow Bahia Shehab sends an important message through her street art in Cairo: “You can crush the flowers, but you can’t delay spring."

A Lebanese-Egyptian artist, designer and art historian, Bahia Shehab studies ancient Arabic script and applies it to modern-day issues. She is the Creative Director with MI7-Cairo, working on projects relevant to cultural heritage. Shehab is also an associate professor at the American University in Cairo, where she has developed a four-year Graphic Design program focusing on the discipline in the Arab world. In addition, Shehab is a TED Fellow and a PhD candidate at Leiden University in Holland.
Shehab notably created a De Beers campaign, which won an International Advertising Association gold award. Her installation A Thousand Times No was displayed at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany, and was published as a book by The Khatt Foundation.
But most recently, Shehab has taken her art to the streets of Cairo, stenciling images in support of her country’s revolution.

You can also follow her talk on TED in less than 6 minutes here:

Bahia Shehab. A Thousand Times No

When you want to deny all of the stereotypes that are imposed on you and that try to define your role in the world.When you want to reject almost every aspect of your reality. When you want to decline every political reality you live under. When you want to dismiss all of the options available to you. When you want to negate all the accusations that go hand in hand with your identity. When you want to refuse to be an imitator or follower of the West, yet you also refuse the regressive interpretation of your heritage. ‘A thousand Nos’ are not enough."

Plexiglass curtain. 2.5 m x 6 m, and 1016 page book documenting the research.

This work is a research-based tribute to the wealth, diversity and
freedom of expression in Islamic art.
It is a rejection of conformity and repression that often plagues
the Arab and Islamic cultures. It traces the history of one letterform
the Lam-alif (which means NO in Arabic), and repeats it a thousand
different times to illustrate the common Arabic expression: “No, and a
thousand times no!”. The book by the same title and also designed for
the installation, is a visual documentation of the different lam-alifs,
their origin, placement and medium chronologically, published by
Khatt Books in Amsterdam, 2010.

dimanche 7 octobre 2012

from the Lahd gallery's blog of Wednesday, 3 October 2012

We are delighted to announce that Lahd Gallery is participating in View 2012, a charity event dedicated to raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.  View 2012 will consist of two auctions including artwork generously donated by artists to aid Marie Curie.

This event is taking place at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery, London, that houses works by some of the biggest names in contemporary art. The Saatchi Gallery has kindly been working with Marie Curie to raise awareness of an incredibly important and beneficial charity.

Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of the foremost charities in aiding cancer sufferers, and the support of this charity is vital in providing quality care for those affected by the disease, and to fund research into treatments and ways to help prevent cancer from afflicting future generations. View 2012 in particular is also providing funding for Marie Curie's art strategy that aims to use art as a means of improving it's hospices.

At the event there will be a silent auction of contemporary art and a live auction of "money-can't-buy experiences." Lahd Gallery is very proud to be a member of the Marie Curie Art Event Committee, and several of our artists' work are being featured in the silent auction.  Our artists include Kuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin, Turkish sculptor Ugur Caki, French Arabic Calligrapher Julien Breton and Greek/Arabic mystical artist Irini Gonou.

Marie Curie Cancer Care View 2012 is being held at Saatchi Gallery, London at 7.30pm on Thursday 4th October 2012.

Alexander (2011) - Ugur Caki
The Sheltering Word (2010) - Irini Gonou

Aerial (2011) - Julien Breton

samedi 22 septembre 2012

in the nineteenth century...

Whistler said, "Art happens".

mercredi 29 août 2012

Summer Olympics Art Exhibition

Lahd Gallery is proud to present its Summer Olympics Art Exhibition, scheduled to be held on 1st of August 2012, during the London 2012 Games. The gallery will exhibit and have a sale on the paintings of several emerging artists from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and will form a segment of cultural activities for the London Olympics.

Contemporary art from the MENA region is among the fastest-growing in the world, attracting not just domestic but international art collectors. At the same time, there has been an increasing appreciation in the range and complexities of MENA’s evolving visual arts sector, which is establishing a body of work distinctive from that of the West while also increasingly engaging and drawing upon developments in the US and Europe.

Works on display include Arabic Calligraphy where this genre will be traced to its historical origins and will explore how it has developed into an exacting craft of high aesthetic sensibility. The gallery will also indulge the viewer to a diverse selection of mystical objects, framed by the artist Irini Gonou, a Greek/Arabic artist who seeks to explore the healing power of the written word as a specific cultural idiom and takes the form of a dialogue between the Greek and Arabic cultures.

vendredi 22 juin 2012

Irini Gonou's "A Tale of Two Cultures" | Friday 22nd June, 2012 | Published under Caspian Arts Foundation

The Sheltering Word (v)
Irini Gonou's latest exhibition 'A Tale of Two Cultures' combines Greek and Arabic cultures, highlighting in particular the ancient civilisations with the use of the 'protective written word', amulets, tunics and symbols. Irini wanted to keep the pieces and the exhibition in line with that of a museum, not bringing it out of its context and focusing on that period of time. Although the two are distinctive, they are joined by history and the sharing of the Mediterranean sea, and as Irini has pointed out "..the wider Mediterranean area is charged culturally with supernatural powers" as we can see through her work. 'A Tale Of Two Cultures' is currently neing exhibited at Lahd Gallery in London.

 NM: There is an endearing quality when 2 cultures are used together in some art form, the experience is so enriching. Your work combines both Greek and Arab cultures; what did you want to highlight through using the two together, especially in a period where both are faced with their own crises and going through major changes?
IG: I don't know how some things affect us more than others but old civilizations and especially those that have left their traces around Mediterranean Sea have always a big attraction for me. "Our Sea" joined its people together. The threads of its history are mixed, its memory confused, and that's what I want to highlight in this exhibition. Two cultures, the Greek - the one I was born in, and the Arabic - the one I adopted, with their distinctive indigenous scripts, are here in dialog with their continuous and life-affirming exchanges and their cross-fertilisation influences. Actually, both in social and economic crises, I think they benefit from having a look to their collective cultural memory, as the mirror-shield Perseus used to extinguish Medusa.

NM: What is the story behind your latest exhibition "A Tale of Two Cultures" and what do you want to evoke in your audience?
IG: This exhibition is a "magic" wandering into the healing and protective power of the written word as a specific cultural idiom and as a dialogue between the Greek and Arabic culture. Some objects are inspired from real "magical" objects I have seen in the museums and then transformed in my own way. There are others that I invented totally trying to make them as they would be real. The whole collection is a kind of quasi-museum. When I exhibited some of them at the Museum of Islamic Arts in Athens between the museum's displayed objects, some people were confused thinking them real. Using entirely natural materials such as textiles, fired clay, reeds, leaves, seed pods, eucalyptus bark and linen or cannabis twine, I make my own interpretations of amulets and protective clothing, magic bowls and talismanic objects.

Eucalytpus Leaves

NM: When did you start this project?
IG: This project began in 2007. Some of the objects have been shown at my exhibition "Al Khatt, the magic script" which took place at the Museum of Islamic Arts of Athens in 2008. Others were made in 2011-12.  At The Museum, the written protection was only about Arabic script. For my recent exhibition at the Lahd Gallery, I created a dialogue between Greek and Arabic scripts. In between I was working on the Greek magic objects.

NM: I am interested in your "exploration of the protection of written words". This is very mystical and actually, in mysticism, we are taught that the power of words; both written and spoken orally are in fact very real and once something is written or spoken, it is forever there. What did you discover in the power and protection of written words?

IG: I think for me everything began the day I discovered in the British Museum, two extraordinary tunics - the batakari tunic adorned with amulets, and the rigan yaki talismanic tunic both "made" for the Ashanti people of Ghana, inscribed with Quran verses and magical diagrams. I was completely amazed and consider these two pieces to be my initiation into the "magic world". The Arabic words, letters and numbers are considered in the Islamic world to be of a divine essence and the written word to provide protection. The protective properties of small pieces of paper composed by the marabou in West Africa in order to protect his patient are generally well-known. Likewise Ethiopian magic scrolls and Greek magic papyri, to report only some examples of an unending list. So the written word, in the larger Mediterranean area, is charged culturally with supernatural powers and linked mystically to the elements composing the universe. Actually in our contemporary societies we are also attracted to the word and its magic power in many different ways. Words are everywhere. We are definitely the composers of our own magic universe. Writing down our intimate thoughts, spelling the lyrics of our favourite song - the enchantment is there!

Big Protective Tunic

NM: Do you personally believe in the protection amulets and symbols contain?
IG: I believe in the healing qualities of nature and I also believe in the power symbols are charged with through collective memory and cultural and traditional process, as well as the "animation" of shaped object through hand made work. Nature's respect, patience, and the amount of time spent on each one of these objects are operating positive emanations.

NM: The more we can embrace each culture, showing them side by side, as we see in your work, it is very clear that the essence of it can never be threatened or erased. Cultures, especially when combined together, can play a large role in the healing process in a world where so much turmoil is present. What are your thoughts on this?
IG: I think that we artists, like medicine men, marabous or Bamana priests of our contemporary societies, have to revisit the symbols again in order to reactivate ancient bonds to stimulate the healing process in our societies in turmoil.

NM: Now, on to more technical questions. I saw a lot of natural materials being used in the various pieces. I hear a lot of different artists who work with natural materials and stone say how much they feel a connectedness to the earth and our planet in general. What are the reasons for you?
IG: Truth is that working with natural materials you are feeling the pulse of nature and this process provides you with a long lasting feeling of well being. The more you delve into exploring nature's secrets the tougher are the challenges, because you are in an immensity of new experiments with "magical" properties. Working on my magic bowls, amulets, protective talismans and charms, I used fired clay, reeds, eucalyptus leaves and barks and calabash seeds. I also made my own natural inks and decoctions. None of these materials could be bought and everything had to be found and made from scratch. Same for my inscribed magic scrolls and protective tunics. Working on these raw materials, I was at the same time meditating on their medical-magical-protective properties and symbolic meanings.

NM: I saw a very interesting piece using cannabis strings, which you told mentioned that they came from China. You also used calabash seeds and Aloe Vera dried flowers. What made you decide to use these? What made you get the cannabis strings from China?
IG: I found cannabis string at a Chinese cooperative society in Paris and I was attracted by the mythology of this drug and medicine plant. I made my amulet-tunic at my studio in Naxos Island, tying knots of this cannabis string every day for a month during the sunset. I needed at this time to experience a ritualistic way of working. In the end I attached to it some calabash seeds for their fertility properties and dried Aloe Vera flowers, the well known plant for its healing and soothing properties.

Amulet Tunic

NM: Can you explain a bit about the scripts and how they were shown in the form of tunics? Why were they shown in the form of tunics?
IG: As I mentioned previously this concept comes from the Ashanti tunics and "inscribed" talismanic cloths. These clothes were a "written" shield protecting the owner - especially soldiers or chiefs - from dangers of all kinds. On my protective tunics verses are Adonis poetry verses in Arabic script and Elytis poetry verses in Greek script, in order to emphasize the healing properties of art in modern societies.

Sheltering Word (viii)
NM: What is the significance of the numbers you showed in the sheltering word ii and viii?
IG: These are the magic squares, arranged in a three by three grid pattern whose sum of the numbers in each row, column and diagonal is 15. Magic squares were inscribed, painted, embroidered or engraved on textile, clay or metal bowls and worn as talismans to ensure long life and prevention of diseases. It was always considered a very strong talismanic arrangement.

NM: What are the words inscribed in the sheltering word viii?
IG: This is an ancient Greek incantation asking for "a good life, a congenial mood, to be 'right in the head', to have an iron constitution, peace and god". The two letters at the end Ψ and Χ form the phonetic spelling of the word «soul».  

NM: Do you have a favourite piece?

IG: I always change the ones I like but I feel now I am closer to the ‘protective tunics’ and would like to work on them more and make them bigger.

NM: What are you working on now?

IG: One part of my project is the ‘protective tunics’ I just mentioned and I am also working on a big exhibition about Demeter, the goddess of harvest, in an old tower on Naxos Island. In fact the tower is near the sanctuary of Demeter and I am producing work on her. I would like to underline the importance of agriculture today through this exhibition and Naxos is a very agricultural island so this is going to be very interesting. 
Irini Gonou was born on 1955 in Athens. She studied sculpture at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts and after at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs where she has also worked as a workshop assistant for two years at the section of ceramic sculpture. She lived in Paris for eleven years studying at the same time the multicultural dimension of art. From 1980 she has shown her work in thirty two solo exhibitions in Greece and abroad. Her solo exhibition Al-Khatt, the magic script on 2009 was a visual dialog with the Benaki Museum of Islamic Arts exhibits in Athens. She has participated in a numerous group exhibitions in Greece in collaboration with prominent curators of the Greek art scene, but also in France, UK and Belgium. Her artwork is included to the collections of the French Ministry of Culture, to the Musee Ernest Renan in France, to the Museum of Islamic Arts in Athens, to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Florina to the Anthropological Museum of Ptolemais and to The National Bank of Greece Historical Archive, also in Greece, to the Municipal Galleries, private Museums and Foundations, and to a variety of important private collections in Greece and abroad. She lives and works in Athens and in Naxos Island in Greece and teaches Arabic and Byzantine calligraphy at the Museum of Islamic Arts of Athens.

vendredi 8 juin 2012

the sheltering word

 "The sheltering word" is a dialog between two ancient cultures Greek and Arabic, through incantations, talismanic scripts and patterns, magic squares, paper and reed amulets.

Irini Gonou's A Tale of Two Cultures, at the Lahd Gallery, London, 31/5-25/7/2012


lundi 14 mai 2012

A Tale of Two Cultures

Lahd Gallery, in London, is proud to present to you the Arabic influenced Greek artist Irini Gonou in A Tale of Two Cultures. Using her teaching from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Ecole des Arts Décoratifs of Paris, Gonou uses sculpture to portray her research in world culture, and the way in which she explores it. This unique exhibition is an art quest which seeks to address and explore the healing and protective power of the written word as a specific cultural idiom and takes the form of a dialogue between the Greek and Arabic cultures. Using entirely natural materials such as textiles, fired clay, reeds, leaves, seed pods, eucalyptus bark and linen twine, Gonou makes her interpretations of amulets and clothing, magic bowls and talismanic objects whose poetry evoke a new magical language or realm of "written protection". The two cultures, Greek and Arabic, with their distinctive indigenous scripts, are seen in dialogue with a continuous and life-affirming exchange and cross-fertilisation of influences. On this occasion, the team of Lahd Gallery is delighted to invite you to the opening evening of this exhibition, taking place on Thursday, 31st of May 2012 from 7:30pm 

Attached is our invitation please RSVP at or you can call us at +44(0)2074357323.

 Lahd Gallery 92 Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3 1DP London, United Kingdom

samedi 28 avril 2012

Revolution Graffiti - Street Art of the New Egypt

"bansky" graff, cairo
in zamalek, cairo
let it be, cairo
like an ancient greek vase
nasr city
nefertiti, rhoda island, cairo
revolution graff, cairo
tahrir square, cairo
the beauty queen of azatita,alexandria
the eye of the revolution
who protects the tyran?luxor

mercredi 25 avril 2012

ένα απόγευμα οι τοίχοι μου είπαν...

και... αφού άκουσα με προσοχή τις ιστορίες τους, τους ευχαρίστησα νοερά και συνέχισα τη βόλτα μου στα εργαστήρια της Σχολής Καλών Καλών Τεχνών.