Thursday, 26 November 2009

Paris Photo - guests: Arab and Iranian photography

by our guest blogger: Tamara

This annual show  at the Carousel du Louvre (19 - 21 Nov 09) had a special focus this year on Arab and Iranian photography, old and new that was represented by archival images from the Arab Image Foundation and STATEMENT, a collection of galleries from the region (Lebanon, Morroco, Tunisia, Dubai and Iran)  curated by Catherine David who directed Documenta X in 1997 and directed several shows concerning the region.  A collection from the Arab Image Foundation (in Beirut) leads the visitor into selected space for the Middle East. The images are a selection from Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt of private family photographs such as those of Chafic el Soussi from Saida, film celebrities in Egypt by Chadi Abdel Salam and stylised studio images such as those of Al-Ani from Iraq and Hisham Abdul Hadi from Palestine those ranging from 1860  to 1960.

The STATEMENT show is rich in the subject matter and scope of the artists. The works of Lebanese artists such as Fouad Elkoury, Akram Zaatari (both of who are founders of the Arab Image Foundation), Lamia Joreige and Walid Raad deal with the memory of war (represented at Sfeir- Semler Gallery in Beirut and Tannit in Munich), in images and video installations such as elKhoury’s Place de L’Etoile and Zaatari’s video of a newly realised Lebanese prisoner of war from Israel, Video en 5 Mouvements, 2006-2009.

London based Iranian artist Reza Aramesh (GALLERY B21 DUBAI) uses his photography as metaphor to communicate violence committed by man. He uses historical images, often of war, men abusing men recreated in unexpected settings, forcing the viewer to react to the initially illogical image. Each of his works is captioned with the original image that inspired it, such as ACTION 51: Kerem shalom Israel-Feb 17, 2008 Palestinian Soldiers sit blindfolded on the ground after they were captured by Israeli soldiers.

The work of Katayoun Karami (GALLERY SILK ROAD TEHRAN), The Other Side is a different approach to time and memory where she captures a series of double sided photographs, the front is the same image of her face and the back are changing images of her hair.

Rula Halawani of Palestine (SELMA FERIANI GALLERY, LONDON-TUNIS) is more concerned with identity and territory in her work, depicting abstract concepts through series of realistic images—Intimacy

Farah Nosh (EMPTY QUARTER GALLERY, DUBAI), presents a series of intimate family photographs from her native Iraq to demonstrate the persistence of daily life and ritual despite war and violence outside.

Gohar Dashti (Silk Road Tehran) has a series of a couple’s daily life, sleeping, eating, sitting, set in a battleground, with tanks and soldiers in the background, rendering their lives more fragile and poignant.

Other artists such as the Cairo based Iraqi artist Yasser Alwan focuses on the urban condition, documenting repeated scenes of daily life in Cairo over extended periods while Morrocan artist Yto Barrado focus more on themes of migration. Other artists represented included Bahman Jalili, Mohammad Ghazali, Sadegh Tirafkan, Ramin Haerizadeh, Asim Rafiqui, Malik Nejmi, Wael Shawky, Sama Alsahibi, Raja Aissa, Lara Baladi.


Reza Aramesh

Arab Image Foundation (Hashem al Madani - 1950)
  Arab Image Foundation

Katayoum Karami
Rula Halawani - Intimacy (2004)  

Farah Nosh - Dinner

Fouad el Khoury - Wedding

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