'ARAB ART AND  CALLIGRAPHY'  AN EXHIBITION BY PETER GRESSMANN

28.04.2021

(Saju Nair, Dubai) There is no better example to demonstrate the quest towards flourishing creativity than the event that took place on 11th April 2021 in The United Arab Emirates. April 11th was the next day after the completion of the 4-day long Regions Largest Affordable Retail Art Fair -World Art Dubai 2021 wherein 2000 plus artworks created by 250 plus artists from more than 27 countries were exhibited. The very next evening, the art world witnessed the opening of a month-long exhibition by the famous Art Historian, Curator, and the founder of artforumuae, Mr. Peter Gressmann. I had ensured my presence in all 4 days of WAD 2021 and every single day Mr. Peter and I left the venue together at around 10 pm. To beautifully curate an entire event in collaboration with Artistic playground by Pullman by associating with 4 women artists deserves a huge appreciation. After 4 days of extremely busy schedule in World Art Dubai, Mr. Peter Gressmann went the extra mile to host a successful event on the very next day and this is a clear demonstration of how committed he is to the art world and how he truly appreciated and loves all that art has to offer.

Moments from the event

The month of Ramadan is one of the most important periods in Islam as the community comes together and dedicates themselves to regular prayers and engages in spreading the message of love and extending their helping hands to the needy. The holy month of Ramadan also practices Self-discipline, to control emotions, enhance family relations, and to spread the message of equality. Here, in UAE, exhibitions during Ramadan are quite common but in view of the current pandemic, there are several restrictions in place by the authorities to ensure a safe and healthy atmosphere. Consequently, the opening of any event is now restricted to limit the number of people gathered to ensure that proper social distancing is maintained. This is one of the reasons why the number of exhibitions during this period has reduced but despite said restrictions, there are multiple events being organized by various galleries with limited participation and high precautionary measures.

Exhibited Artworks

A month-long art exhibition titled 'Arab Art & Calligraphy' was set up for VIP preview on the 11th of April 2021 @ The Artist playground in the majestic ambiance of The Lounge by Dilmah, Pullman Dubai Creek Hotel. Eighteen magnificent artworks that includes Six photographs and Twelve fabulous paintings by four international artists and a guest artist adorned the walls of the venue gifting a truly magical evening to the art fraternity. The disciplined construction of Arabic letters that were created in the most beautiful color combinations in various canvas sizes, striking abstract creations, and the wonderful lively captures indeed set up a wonderful opportunity for the community to embrace the beauty of art during the month of Ramadan.

Mr. Peter Gressmann, who is one of the prominent and respected public figure in the global art scene who is also the curator of the event says "It was a bit stressful to open and organize an exhibition on the topic of RAMADAN right after World Art Dubai on April 11, 2021, in the Artist Playground of the Pullman Creek Hotel - Deira City Center as three of the exhibiting artists also took part in WAD 2021. But organization is everything, it was a challenge for me as a curator, especially since I didn't know which works of art awaited me until the exhibition was set up, but the selected artists, Nada Al Barazi, Rubab Zahra, and the sisters Shiba and Farah Khan fulfilled my ideas with their works of art Exhibition on Arabic Art (Heritage) and Calligraphy. My special thanks go to the artist Rubab Zahra from Pakistan who made two large-format calligraphy especially for this exhibition - a challenge for every artist! Rubab's works show calligraphy with an abstract background in Arabic patterns. Really great works of art! The great works by Nada Al Barazi and Shiba Khan stand for heritage in the Arab world and the outstanding photographs by the photo artist Farah Khan enriched the exhibition, which is well worth seeing. The local artist Sultana Kazim surprised me with her work as a guest artist. Her small but fine work of art shows that the artist is also at home in calligraphy. I am impressed by the meaning of the written word which means 'Horizon of Hope' and fits perfectly into these difficult times. As a curator, I would like to thank all participating artists for their uncomplicated collaboration in creating a remarkable exhibition!".


Ms. Sultana Kazim is one of the most respected names in the art and fashion industry. A pioneer artist and fashion designer who always leads from the front when it comes to supporting art and culture. Ms. Sultana, being an inevitable invitee for almost all events is also a good orator and an inspirational speaker in addition to being an amazing artist. This Ramadan exhibition also witnessed a truly surprising element and that was a special artwork created by Ms. Sultana just one day before the opening of the event. "To tell you something about my work, I'm a very moody but at the same time a very spontaneous painter. The speed with which I work depends directly to the subject at hand. When I found out that the amazing curator, Peter Gressmann was planning an homage to the holy month of Ramadan, I was very excited about it. I got very much motivated and pulled out my canvas and my brush in hand, looked at the sky and I said let me see what is the one word that everyone will be praying for this holy month. It's a word called 'Hope' which everyone is praying for and I am sure that this horrible period that we are going through will pass and better days would be here again. So, I wanted to highlight the word 'Hope' and looking at the sky and talking to god to help us achieve this. Brush at hand and colors of the sky and the cloud are then turned to paint and I wanted something very simple and very powerful and in Arabic calligraphy form, that's how I decided to portray 'The Horizon of Hope'. Due to Covid and due to my age, a lot of restriction is placed on my movement so I knew that I would not be able to physically take part in this amazing show. It would be a good idea to simply paint and give it to Peter and present him to see if he could consider me as a guest artist because I had not really planned this. Cause all the time not knowing if he would accept it at this late stage and what his reaction would be. To my surprise, Peter was delighted to have that painting in his show and wanted to hang it in the hall. I was very flattered of course that I was so well received and so happy that the press and the onlookers admired it so much. I can't tell you how happy I am. The message that I want to put across is do not despair, look at the sky, talk to god, pray and ask that better days would be there for us." Says Ms. Sultana Kazim, renowned artist, fashion designer, and Representative and Co-coordinator of Museum of Americas,

Rubab Zahra is known as one of the best calligraphers in the UAE art scene as the artist uses every theme to delve into the deeper aspect of art and to emerge with striking creations. A mix of abstraction synergized with the disciplined construction of Arabic letters portrayed on a huge canvas always brings up a sense of deep spirituality in the hearts of the onlookers. "Ramadan is a holy month and a month that teaches us to be more disciplined, Patient, Pious and Self- controlled and being an artist, I wanted to reflect my love for Ramadan through my art. My artworks will bring joy and a positive aura, moreover, through my art, I wanted to grab the viewers' attention and develop their interest in Islamic Calligraphy." says Rubab Zahra. In this exhibition, three of her creations were exhibited, the first titled 'Names of Allah', second 'The Verse of Throne', and third titled 'The Sublime'. The artists has spent an approximate of 60 to 70 hours on each of her creations and the hard work she has put in is clearly visible in the quality of her works. The canvas of 250 x 150 cm was created with a fusion of both traditional and modern Calligraphy art. The artist has also taken great effort to incorporate 6 different calligraphy fonts in one artwork. It is extremely challenging to successfully accomplish this as the artist must ensure that the fonts go in line with the theme and overall décor of the artwork whilst simultaneously making sure that the multiple fonts don't distract the viewers from the original meaning of the artwork. Rubab has not only succeeded in accomplishing this but she has done so in an absolutely spectacular fashion making her artworks unique and pleasant.

It was indeed the love and affection towards art that prompted Nada Al Barazi to be a part of this event. Nada, also participated in the 4-day long World Art Dubai as a solo artist who was also commercially successful as a couple of her creations were owned by art enthusiasts during the fair. The artist is inspired by nature and she ensures that an element of nature is always present in her creations. Vibrant colors and dynamic sequences in her creation spreads positive energy to the onlookers and she always works with a mission to encourage the community to love and admire the beauty of nature that is a gift from god. "To be a part of an event curated by Peter Gressmann is always something that I don't want to miss, that is the main reason I decided to participate in this event even when it was just the day after WAD 2021. In this event, I have exhibited two of my artworks under the title of 'Heritage'. Being a nature lover, the way I think and process always has a big influence on the way I view and feel the  beauty around us. In the holy month of Ramadan, where we dedicate our time in prayers to thank Allah - The most merciful for gifting us this wonderful life that we enjoy and cherish, so, my artworks are a humble acknowledgment to the beauty that we see around us, that's how I decided to create some artworks which have the design of antique but using vibrant color tones like blue turquoise that will mix and match between the old and modern equally. I have used palette knife to create the old texture in both artworks with adding gold matte to blue. By adding many layers to the work with different shades of blue then adding the gold matte color using the palette knife gave it the heritage and antique style. I would like to wish Ramadan Kareem to all the readers of TV2 and may god accept all our prayers and hope this Ramadan brings all of us happiness, joy and wealth." Says Nada AlBarazi.


"Through my paintings, I want to convey the message of peace, prosperity, happiness, forgiveness, pray and to consider our actions to others." Says Shiba Khan the participating artist. Shiba Khan is a familiar name in the art industry as she is also the Founder of Funun Arts, one of the leading art galleries in The United Arab EmiratesAn Indian born who has considered UAE as her second home has always played a vital role in keeping the art activities moving in UAE. She has taken the lead when it comes to conducting regular art exhibitions, Art talks, Workshops in addition to the events to support charity services and to encourage hidden talents to step out into the limelight by providing suitable platforms for differently abled students, professionals, young artists and many more in addition to her regular participations in mega events like World Art Dubai, Ras Al Kaimah Fine Art Festival etc. An artist who possesses a positive and optimistic attitude always believes that art is the best way to express and being an abstract specialist, she ensures the incorporation of special techniques in her paintings that always contains a great story to be told. Inspired by the works of S.H. Raza, Kandinsky and Hans Hofmann over the years she has participated and curated numerous events and she always remains as the forefront of her artistic career on all facets of her undertaking. Being an experienced artist, she still takes the courage to experiment and to inculcate her signature style in all that she creates. Her work is a mix of styles and colors and she experiments with different textures in abstract style and refines them through the years. She has developed her series 'City of Hope', 'We-3 Remembrance', 'Women', 'Shifara' and 'Doors of Hope'. The paintings exhibited in the Ramadan exhibition are a portrayal of her inner thoughts and feelings in response to her surroundings. Bright colors, bold strokes and different textures shows positivity, patience and happiness which is the true message she wishes to deliver in this holy month of Ramadan.

Capturing the most mundane moments of life through a lens, the Indian photographer based in Dubai, Ms. Farah Khan, has exhibited still images that radiates life in several exhibitions. Her passion is not limited to photography, she also enjoys a proven track record in beautifully stringing together meaningful words to create brilliant works as a poet and as an author. Her interest in exploring more avenues and sharing her experience with others has also made her an active blogger. Foodbatuta and Dubaiculturevulture are her pages dedicated to sharing her love towards what she sees and experiences. Being the co-founder and creative head of Funun Arts, one of the leading art galleries in The United Arab Emirates, her contribution in supporting artists has always been eulogized by the art industry. Being an ace photographer, her interests is spread over in different areas but her mainstream subjects are doors, windows, alleys, heritage structures and so on. This event is graced with six of her limited edition photographs that narrate the story of simplicity, patience, sympathy, kindness, Love, and Humanity. "I am happy to be part of an event curated by the amazing Peter Gressmann and also with other fellow artists. Photography is an art that I will always keep close to my heart, as an enthusiast I always observe my surroundings to find the moment that calls to me because I feel that spontaneous clicks are the ones that often turn out to be the best. Ramadan Kareem to all the readers of TV2." Says Ms. Farah Khan

Exhibited Artworks

IlTelevisionario2 is proud to be an invitee to this Ramadan Exhibition curated by Mr. Peter Gressmann and I, Saju Nair along with the founder of TV2, Ms. Alessandra Giorda congratulate the curator and the participating artists for all their hard work in putting up a great show. Exhibition will continue till 13 th of May @ Pullman Hotel, Deira City Center and a visit is sure to give you a sense of deep satisfaction and positivity during the holy month of Ramadan. Kindly follow us to receive regular updates on the art events from The United Arab Emirates.

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