Alserkal Avenue

If you have ever thought people exaggerate when they say:  “life in Dubai is exciting,” they’re not lying!!!  I wake up everyday hungry to start my day.  Everyday brings another opportunity to either meet interesting people (from all over the world), or learn something new, be it something about the city, or just life in general.

Today was a day to have a small taste of the art scene here in Dubai.  My neighbor (and a friend I feel I’ve known all my life) and her friend (a new friend I also feel I’ve known for ages!) invited me to come to Alserkal Avenue.

Alserkal Avenue is a cluster of warehouses that over the years have been converted into art galleries, art studios and other creative shops.  Alserkal Avenue oozes creativity, culture, knowledge…emotions!  It is not wonder why this place has evolved into being an interesting art hub in the city.

Overwhelmed and tired, I have come home to write about my favorite pieces.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Tony Cragg in Leila Heller gallery:

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Tony Cragg

 

Safwan Dahoul in Ayyam gallery:

 

 

Angelica Dass and her project Humanae…which goes beyond skin tones.  It touches the very core of human existence, who we are and how we define ourselves.

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And since today is valentine’s day, I thought I would include a love story piece.  Unfortunately I cannot recall the name of this photographer.

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And last but not least..

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A memory captured on a piece of art:  priceless!

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Working…

 

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And us, the art lovers : )

 

 

 

Another Jozef Blok (my own Mr. Blok)

November 30th – the end of the month and the end of many hours of work, sittings, and polishing my little Italian!

This year I chose not to make a case study of a person I know but of one I have only seen in town:  a friendly local chef working a door down the gallery.  His name is not Mr. Blok, neither his first name is Jozef.  Yet, you must wonder why I’ve called this piece “Another Mr. Blok,” and the answer to this question is the story behind this painting.

It was about 4 years ago when I became obsessed with the works of Van Gogh, one of my favorite painters.  I remembered I used to know only his later work:  the starry night, wheat fields, and sunflowers (dead and alive), and his self portraits – the famous Van Gogh’s ear.

Though Van Gogh’s work wasn’t always colorful.  In fact, his early work was gloomy, earthy toned, and on the dark side.  The first transitional – from dark to color- work, is a portrait not many of us know, yet of great significant:  Mr. Blok.  It is a portrait of a black bearded street book seller Van Gogh knew in The Hague.

Jozef Blok *drawing  *5-11-1882  *38.4 x 26.2 cm

Jozef Blok *drawing *5-11-1882 *38.4 x 26.2 cm

It was 3 years ago when I discovered my own Mr. Blok here in Ascona:  a bearded local chef who used to pass by my window on his way to work.  I always wanted to ask him to sit for me but never really had the “nerve”to ask a stranger for such a strange request.  This year I finally did.  I was lucky he didn’t find it unusual to have an artist beg to paint a portrait of his.  He agreed.

“Another Mr. Blok” isn’t a study  of my subject or sitter, but of Van Gogh’s philosophy.  In his eyes, everyone – the postman, the bookseller, the doctor, the prostitute – were of equal value and importance.  With this study, I too stand by this belief.  Not matter where one comes from, what title one holds, what one does…there is always a special story behind a face.

The evolution:

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The beginning.

 

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Taking shape.

 

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The beard.

 

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Background.

 

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The happy ending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art International Zurich

“Your work has been accepted,” were the only words passing through my (tired) brain, the day I discovered the jurors in the Art International Zurich had approved my application to participate in the 16th international art fair they are having this year.  I was over the moon!

Every Autumn, galleries and independent artists from all over the world, like migrating birds, make their way to one of the most important and beautiful cities in Switzerland:  Zurich.  The Congress Hall will house a wide range of contemporary artworks which have been carefully selected by its very own committee.  Exhibiting my work along work of other talented individuals in the heart of the historic centre of Zurich has me feeling very accomplished!

What contents me the most about this event is that I will be representing, through my paintings, the beautiful place I call home:  Ticino.  Without its stunning mountains, historical cities, history, and forests, I think I wouldn’t create the art I create!

The Art International Zurich is open to everyone with a passion for culture and the Arts.  “Reflections of Ticino,” and “Ticino through my window,” will both be displaying on the main floor of the hall, stand K27.

Some of the work in display are:

A series of reflections of the city of castles:  Bellinzona.

A series of reflections of the city of castles: Bellinzona.

Val Verzasca's favorite spot, ponte dei salti.  A reflection of it, on the river's rapids.

Val Verzasca’s favorite spot, ponte dei salti. A reflection of it, on the river’s rapids.

The very famous painting of the reflection of San Pietro and the promenade of Ascona.

The very famous painting of the reflection of San Pietro and the promenade of Ascona.

Morcote's promenade.  Image selected for the Art International Zurich catalogue.

Morcote’s promenade. Image selected for the Art International Zurich catalogue.

An interpretation of a little port, in Gandria, leading to lake Lugano at night.

An interpretation of a little port, in Gandria, leading to lake Lugano at night.

A little rustico (house made out of Ticinese stones) in Bosco Gurin in the winter time.

A little rustico (house made out of Ticinese stones) in Bosco Gurin in the winter time.

The typical local fruit in the area of Ticino:  Castagne.

The typical local fruit in the area of Ticino: Castagne.

The place I call home, and its beautiful houses looked from above.

The place I call home, and its beautiful houses looked from above.

If you are in the area and want to say hello, please visit ART INTERNATIONAL ZURICH for more information.  I hope to see you there!!!

The Red Boat of Gandria, Ticino.

I looked through my journal today, to try to find again, the how’s and the why’s,that gave rise to creation of “Red boat.”  This is what I found:

“Red Boat” will be part of my collection, “Ticino through my window.“  Today I discovered a small red boat in the port of Gandria, Ticino. Its beautiful red color wasn’t the only thing that demanded my attention, but also the gentle motion by which it rocked backwards and forward. A motion that made a squeaky sound to the touch of a tree branch just resting next to the boat.  “It looks as if they’re playing,“ I heard my inner voice saying.  “Perhaps the boat likes to be tickled by the arm of the tree, and that squeaky sound is the sound of the boat’s laugh!“ I smiled big. I walked down to the water, grabbed my glass from my backpack, grabbed my watercolors, and started sketching these funny playmates.

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I unhooked this painting, took one last look at it, and said:  “So long!”

“Red boat is going to Australia to be appreciated and pampered by two happy new owners.  I couldn’t have asked for more!