Serwan Baran’s recent body of work extends the formal and political preoccupations of Fatherland, the solo exhibition with which he represented Iraq at the Venice Biennale in 2019. In addition to a large series of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, he has produced a work of staggering proportions to complement his equally monumental painting from the pavilion, entitled The Last Meal. In his current exhibition, Baran provides a counternarrative to the artworks he was obligated to produce as a war artist in the Iraqi army. While he was instructed to represent the nation and its leaders as beautiful and triumphant then, he now seeks to show the destruction that is absent is such state-mandated political propaganda.
Serwan Baran (b. Baghdad, 1968) received a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Babylon in Hillah, Iraq. In the 1990s, Baran’s work was shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Iraq. He was awarded a youth prize in Baghdad in 1990, and the first and second prizes of the Baghdad International Festival of Plastic Arts in 1994 and 1995, respectively. In 2001, he participated in the Ayloul Summer Academy, a residency program led by artist Marwan Kassab-Bachi at Darat al-Funun in Amman, Jordan. He moved to Amman in 2003 during the American invasion of Iraq and, since 2013, he has
A Harsh Beauty
14 February - 18 April, 2020
Hassaan el Samad, a former hunter, has produced a large installation of small-scale still life paintings of dead birds. Taking the figure of the hunted bird as his starting point, he presents a taxonomical survey of the richness and multiplicity of bird species in Lebanon which have been increasingly decimated under lenient hunting laws. This work extends the themes of el Samad’s first solo exhibition which was presented at the onset of the garbage crisis and focused on waste management as it manifested in everyday life.
Hassaan el Samad was born in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. He graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts-Raoucheh, where he studied with artists such as Abdelhamid Baalbaki, Mohammad El Rawas, Ali Shams, among others. He has had solo exhibitions in Lebanese recently at Art Space Hamra (2016), and at Safadi Cultural Center in Tripoli (2015). He has participated in group exhibitions at Beirut Art Fair (2016), Art Space Hamra (2015), and Mark Hachem Gallery (2014). He is currently the chair of the department of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University’s third branch, and a member of the Art Collections Committee of the Ministry of Culture.
Memorial to Wildlife
21 June – 25 July, 2019
Training the Gaze
25 January - 28 March, 2020
Waleed R. Qaisi’s exhibition grew out of a collaboration with the distinguished writer and poet, and recent winner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Prize, Charbel Dagher. As an enduringly ardent reader of Arabic poetry, the artist produced twenty-three objects that were the fruit of translations from word to image. For each individual work, Qaisi adapted a poem from Dagher’s collection of works, entitled ‘I’raban li-Shakl, into a visual landscape of lines and colors extending across several planes of a three-dimensional object.
Waleed Qaisi was born in 1963 in Baghdad, Iraq. After his graduation, Qaisi was conscripted into the Iraqi military service. During this period, he participated in the local Iraqi art scene in solo and group exhibitions, and he won several awards. Having served in the Second Gulf War in 1990, Qaisi’s approach to art changed dramatically. He left Baghdad for Amman, Jordan, where he entered the industrial field of ceramics and established a factory. He also founded a ceramics studio for the Orfali Gallery and taught ceramics courses at this studio and at a private secondary school. He had several exhibitions in Amman in the 1990s where he showed works that were influenced by his experience of the war. In 2001, Qaisi moved to Qatar where he taught youths ceramics courses at an art center. He participated in numerous international group exhibitions in the USA, the UAE, Germany, Spain, France, China, Australia, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, Qatar, England, and he has had solo exhibitions in Qatar