Samah Shihadi and Michael Halak: Terra (Un) firma

Magpie, March 5, 2021

This was originally intended to be a solo exhibition for Samah Shihadi at Cromwell Place in London but as the UK moved into lockdown the exhibition has evolved in what the gallery describes as “unexpected ways” – first as a digital showcase, now with a physical exhibition in Dubai that includes a body of work by fellow Haifa-based hyperrealist, Michael Halak.

Shihadi’s contribution is divided into two segments, The Living and The Landwhich take the artist’s personal narratives and feminist outlook as a starting point from which to explore issues faced by women, across cultures, in the contemporary moment.

While Shihadi’s art is often rooted in the past or observe the present through the lens of fantastical-realism Halak’s paintings are fixed firmly on the preset. His art follows western traditions of photo-realist illusion but features content that conflates local and global realities. This combination opens up the opportunity for multiple readings of his work and urges the viewer to consider more closely the contents with which they are presented.