For Art Dubai 2023, Tabari Artspace presented three artists from the Gulf - Nasser Almulhim, Ziad Al Najjar, and Hashel Al Lamki - united by a mutual interest in explorations of form and fluidity, as well as inner and external realms.
Emirati painter and multi-disciplinary artist, Hashel Al Lamki, unpacked the relationship between humankind and their habitat, the wild and constructed, through his art. Al Lamki refused the separation of man and nature, underscoring the dependency of mankind on natural resources and their subsequent responsibility for the looming environmental catastrophe. His approach to art fused social innovation, sustainability, and environmental consciousness, drawing inspiration from scientific methodologies and local artisanal processes. For Art Dubai, Emirati visual artist Hashel Al Lamki produced a series of paintings using natural pigment on canvas, capturing an imagined journey from day to night across Al Ain's mountain range. Al Lamki's gestural strokes and luminescent palette embodied an almost psychedelic quality.
Al Lamki mined memory and imagination to produce paintings in contrasting fluorescent and muted palettes, revealing a oneiric universe. This series began in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic when mobility was limited. Confined to his studio, Al Lamki embarked upon journeys of the mind, charting shifts in light from sunrise to nightfall. In Al Lamki's words: "Through absence, I could better understand myself and the environment."
Emirati visual artist Ziad Al Najjar produced a series of two-dimensional works on canvas for Art Dubai, continuing his explorations of the interplay between organic and inorganic forms. Al Najjar infused his symbolically dense work with icons and influences from the natural world. The artist considered the connectedness between the natural, constructed, and spiritual realms and how they related to his lived experience in the contemporary moment. The Islamic miniatures familiar to him during his childhood regularly appeared as motifs within his practice. Al Najjar summoned this world into his art, infusing it with his recent experiences of flora, fauna, or soft shapes resembling cells under a microfine glass. Delicate and sensual organic forms - some representational, some abstract - ungulated across the artist's canvas. Translation and tension - between past and present, structure and wildness - were central to this work.
Saudi painter and 3D artist Nasser Almulhim's practice meditated upon the interaction between geometric and organic forms and their connection to the human psyche. His practice assumed a playful and intuitive approach to art-making, doubling as a therapeutic act that opened what the artist understood to be "the gate of self-healing." For Art Dubai, Nasser Almulhim produced a new sculptural work that materialized the artist's inner child. The artist was fascinated with the emboldened palette characterizing the popular playgrounds in Riyadh. Following the writings of psychoanalysts Jung and Freud, he contended that by establishing a conversation with his inner child, repressed memories or trauma might be unleashed. Almulhim drew influence from multiple movements in art history, from Modernism to Abstract Expressionism; in this work, the influence of Calder's joyful and animated mobile sculptures was palpable.