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The ancient "Arabic Kama Sutra"

Credit: BBC | Joobin Bekhrad

When it comes to lust and literature, there is often a tendency to conjure particular images: shades of grey, a little girl named Lolita, or a writhing Lady Chatterley perhaps, and little birds fluttering about every which way. Far before the likes of Nabokov and Nin, however, and before The Joy of Sex was ever a thing, there was the Kama Sutra, the ancient Sanskrit text attributed to Vãtsyãyana and often considered the sex book par excellence.

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Galleries and programme confirmed for ninth Abu Dhabi Art fair

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Gareth Harris

The new director of the Abu Dhabi Art fair, Dyala Nusseibeh, is making changes to the Middle Eastern event, including a new curated section organised by the high-profile museum curator Omar Kholeif. The ninth edition of the Modern and contemporary art fair,  which launches later this year at Manarat al Saadiyat (8-11 November), is due to include 48 galleries, up from 35 last year. These include regional dealers such as Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Modern Art Gallery and Lawrie Shabibi of Dubai. Notable international names include Sprüth Magers, which run spaces in Berlin, London and Los Angeles, and Sean Kelly Gallery of New York.

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Istanbul Biennial Announces 2017 Artist List

Credit: ARTNews | Robin Scher

The Istanbul Biennial has announced the list of artists taking part in its 2017 edition, which opens September 16 and runs through November 12. Under the curatorship of artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, the fifteenth Istanbul Biennial will address what it means to be “a good neighbor.” Broadly, this will involve work that tackles ideas related to homes, neighborhoods, and other concepts attached to the notion of living in both private and public spheres. Venues will include Istanbul Modern, ARK Kültür, the Pera Museum, the Yoğunluk Atelier, and Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hammam.

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Private museum of Arab art in the pipeline for Beirut

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Aimee Dawson

Lebanon’s surprise museum boom shows no signs of losing momentum. Despite political paralysis and a refugee crisis driven by civil war in neighbouring Syria, there are more than half a dozen museum projects in the pipeline for the capital, Beirut. The latest addition to their ranks is the privately funded Beirut Arab Art Museum, which is set to become the city’s biggest art museum when it opens downtown in 2020. 

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Lovers of Light

By Joobin Bekhrad

A volume of poetry deeply rooted in ancient Iranian religion, imagery, and symbolism.

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Highlighted in Second Biennial of Photography in the Contemporary Arab World

Credit: Harper's Bazaar

After a successful first iteration in 2015, the Biennial of Photography in the Contemporary Arab World returns on 13 September in Paris. Held simultaneously in eight Parisian venues – the IMA, the MEP, the Cité Internationale des arts, the Mairie of the 4th arrondissement, the Galerie Thierry Marlat, the Galerie Photo12, the Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, and the Galerie Binome – the biennial offers a diverse itinerary through the perceptions of the contemporary Arab world.

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Depression and radicalisation: images reveal plight of displaced male refugees

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Gareth Harris

A series of images documenting the plight of male refugees, and the psychological problems they face, are due to go on show in the Education Room at the Saatchi Gallery in London this week (The Lost Men of Syria, 20 July-9 August). The works are by the London-based photojournalist Edward Jonkler, who has chronicled the experiences of men held in refugee camps and asylum centres across the Middle East and Europe.

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Exhibition in Germany offers interactive view of Syria’s Palmyra

Credit: Al Jazeera | Dominic Kane

When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) captured the ancient city of Palmyra in 2015, it partly destroyed one of Syria's most precious archaeological treasures.

But now a new exhibition in Germany is giving visitors an interactive view of what the site looked like before the armed group took over.

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London and New York Sweep Up Asian and Middle Eastern Artworks

Credit: Harper's Bazaar

The New York-based foundation is building upon its Asian art collection – previously constituted solely by On Kawara artworks – by acquiring three works by Lee Ufan and five by Kishio Suga. Fitting into its remit to also continually develop its 1960s and 70s foundation of largely Arte Povera, Land Art and Minimalsm, the two Mono-ha (“School of Things”) artists worked within the Japanese art movement’s emphasis on natural and man-made materials.

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Iran holds Donald Trump cartoon contest

Credit: Independent | Christopher Hooton

A cartoon contest has been held in Tehran, Iran in which hundreds of entrants were invited to mock US president Donald Trump.

Courting controversy, the T in the 'Trumpism' contest's logo was styled like a swastika, with one entry seeing Trump painting a Hitler-esque moustache on the Statue of Liberty.

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Parviz Tanavoli's Lions of Iran exhibition gets green light after Hassan Rouhani’s victory

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Hadani Ditmars

Parviz Tanavoli’s long-planned exhibition, the Lions of Iran, was finally “green-lighted” following Hassan Rouhani’s victory in the June elections in Iran. Almost 1,000 patrons attended the opening at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA) on 2 July for what the 80-year-old artist described as his most successful show to date.

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In a Phone Booth in Times Square: Immigration Stories Come to Life in Aman Mojadidi’s ‘Once Upon a Place’

Credit: ARTnews | Carolyne Twersky

When Aman Mojadidi came up with the idea for his big public installation piece in the heart of New York City, he never thought it would be so relevant to the current political climate. But now his three phone booths placed expectantly in Times Square have become an element in a fight for immigrants’ rights.

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Artnet’s Fifth Sale of Middle Eastern Art

Credit: Harper's Bazaar

Led by head of Middle Eastern department Bibi Zavieh, since its inaugural sale in February the online auction and price database has devoted itself to promoting art from Arab countries. At just 16 lots, the current sale is once again small by auction standards but includes a selection of paintings, prints, and photographs by eminent artists from the region, including Erol Akyavas, Nasrollah Afjei, Youssef NabilLalla EssaydiMohammad Ehsai, and Pouya Afshar, among others. The current sale features a majority of artists who now live and work in the West – a fact that ponders the East/West duality of artists working in the globalised world.

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Turkey protests Berlin art installation targeting Erdogan

Credit: Reuters

Turkey on Tuesday condemned as incitement to violence an art installation in front of the German Chancellery that portrayed President Tayyip Erdogan as a dictator, a few days before he is due to attend a G20 summit in Germany.

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Touraj Daryaee: Uncovering the Splendor of Ancient Iran

Credit: Huffington Post | Jahandad Memarian

With the goal of harnessing the untapped potential of Iranian-Americans, and to build the capacity of the Iranian diaspora in effecting positive change in the U.S. and around the world, the Iranian Americans’ Contributions Project (IACP) has launched a series of interviews that explore the personal and professional backgrounds of prominent Iranian-Americans who have made seminal contributions to their fields of endeavor. We examine lives and journeys that have led to significant achievements in the worlds of science, technology, finance, medicine, law, the arts and numerous other endeavors. Our latest interviewee is Touraj Daryaee.

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Qatar blockade tests cultural relations

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Aimee Dawson & Gareth Harris

The diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, which has resulted in the partial blockade of Qatar, has raised fears that cultural institutions and partnerships in the region could be destabilised. 

In June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt cut off trade and diplomatic links with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which officials in the oil-rich state deny.

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The invited work: Farideh Lashai

Credit: Museo Nacional del Prado | Madrid 5/30/2017 - 9/10/2017

The Museo del Prado and the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado are presenting the last work by the Iranian artist Farideh Lashai (Rasht, 1944 – Teheran, 2013), When I count, there are only you…but when I look, there is only a shadow (2012-13), a video installation inspired by Goya’s Disasters of War. Farideh removed the figures and modified the images in this iconic print series in order to present them accompanied by animated images which are projected onto them from a moving spotlight.

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Lens on the Middle East: British Museum acquires photographs by artists documenting refugee crisis and Syrian civil war

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Gareth Harris

The British Museum has acquired photographs by nine Middle Eastern artists tackling topics such as the fallout of the Syrian civil war and the tragic plight of refugees. The UK charity, The Art Fund, supported the acquisitions as part of an ongoing initiative launched in 2009 that facilitates collecting Middle Eastern photography at both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

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Iranian composer among Canadian Immigrant Award winners

Credit: Mehr News Agency

Canadian Immigrant magazine has announced winners of its ninth annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards which chooses and celebrates the success stories of Canadian immigrants who have made an influential contribution to Canada. The award is sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

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New York art museum seeks to counter Islamophobia

Credit: Al Jazeera | Gabriel Elizondo

Home to some of the world's most famous art spaces, New York is known for its cultural diversity. Yet, the US city had not had a museum dedicated solely to Arab and Islamic art.

A new museum, the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, is seeking to change that by providing a platform for artists and scholars to exchange ideas and promote cultural dialogue between voices in the United States and Arab and Islamic countries.

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Shubbak has become a key moment in the arts calendar of the UK and the Arab World, bringing new and unexpected voices alongside established artists to new audiences every two years. This year’s festival takes place in London from 1 – 16 July 2017. Tickets are on sale now and the full programme is available to downloador view online. Follow us on social media or join our mailing list to follow the latest festival news and announcements.

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Credit: Farhang Foundation

The Freedom Sculpture, will be a “Statue of Liberty” for the West Coast -- A crowd-supported public monument that will be gifted to stand in the heart of Los Angeles.  It is inspired by the humanitarian ideals of freedom, respect for cultural diversity and inclusiveness that originated with Cyrus the Great of Persia 2,500 years ago and which have been enshrined in the U.S. Constitution for all by the Founding Fathers. The Freedom Sculpture will be officially unveiled in a citywide celebration on July 4th, 2017. It will stand from that day on as a reminder of the universally shared values that truly make America great.

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Credit: Art Dubai

Currently hanging at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary art is Jackson Pollock’s Mural on Indian Red Ground, a 180 x 240 cm masterpiece by the late abstract expressionist artist. Acquired in the 1970s by Her Majesty Farah Pahlavi, wife of the Shah of Iran, the 1950 painting is part of priceless collection of post-war works from the West amassed by the former Empress for the museum, which opened in 1977. Other works acquired in the same time include those by Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, René Magritte, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Max Ernst and Donald Judd, among many more.

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Syrian refugees to be trained to rebuild Palmyra and other heritage sites

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Anny Shaw

The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is launching a £500,000 scheme to train Syrian refugees living in and around the Zaatari camp on the Jordanian border in traditional stone masonry. The aim is to develop skills so that cultural heritage sites that have been caught in crossfire or destroyed by Isil can be rebuilt once peace is restored to Syria.

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In pictures: the 'remarkable, powerful' works of Khadija Saye who died in Grenfell Tower blaze

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Anny Shaw

Artists, critics and museum directors have been hailing the work of Khadija Saye, the 24-year-old photographer who died with her mother Mary Mendy in the Grenfell Tower fire in West London last week. Saye’s work is currently on show in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in a presentation curated by David A Bailey featuring emerging artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. 

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This Arab Photography Duo Turns Lookbooks Into An Art Form 

Credit: Vogue | Khaoula Ghanem

Carhartt WIP (Work in Progress) is the tailored streetwear version of the rugged, hunter-appealing Carhartt (which was conceived out of a need for durable railroad-worker overalls 128 years ago) that is gaining mainstream momentum. In fact, it has recently been embraced by Vetements, which churned out haute Carhartt WIP as part of its nearly 20-label collaborations for its Spring 2017 ready-to-wear show. With a few successful years in Europe behind it, the store has finally opened its doors in the Middle East. Shortly after its jam-packed opening in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall in May, the clothing brand unveiled its first Middle Eastern campaign, lensed by pseudonymous photography duo Chebmoha and Chndy in Kuwait.

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Blockade of Qatar threatens cultural institutions

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Gareth Harris, Aimee Dawson

The diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, which has resulted in the partial blockade of Qatar, is likely to destabilise cultural institutions and partnerships in the region. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have cut off ties with the oil- and gas-rich state, accusing it of supporting terrorism. “These countries have banned everything from Qatar,” says Mohamoud Abdalla Mohamed, a representative from Sotheby’s Doha office. “I am sure the situation will affect cultural relations.” 

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This Syrian Artist Wants World Leaders To Know What It Feels Like To Be Refugees

Credit: BuzzFeed News | Anup Kaphle

"Maybe they will feel what it feels like to be vulnerable," said Abdalla Al Omari, who created a series of paintings that show prominent world leaders as displaced civilians.

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New Iranian Artists in New York

Credit: Sotheby's | Roxane Zand

NEW YORK – For some years, two Iranians in New York have introduced the work of new Iranian artists to a public who rarely sees contemporary works from Iran - the art sold at auction mainly centres on modern masters. Roya Khadjavi and Massoud Nader act as a true primary market in discovering new talent and showcasing it to audiences in North America. "For Your Eyes Solely" is a solo show by Ali Kourehchian whose sculptural configurations in the shape of masks, have already made a strong impression locally. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has acquired pieces, and extensive press coverage has made the artist's work well-known in the region. An architect by training and profession, Kourehchian is adept at three dimensional representation of poetry and mysticism.

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FAHRELNISSA ZEID | Exhibition at Tate Modern

13 JUNE – 8 OCTOBER 2017

Trained in both Paris and Istanbul, Fahrelnissa Zeid was an important figure in the Turkish avant-garde d group in the early 1940s and the École de Paris (School of Paris) in the 1950s. Her vibrant abstract paintings are a synthesis of Islamic, Byzantine, Arab and Persian influences fused with European approaches to abstraction. Many of her abstract works are monumental and demand attention.

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German-Iranian artist Anahita Razmi’s work 'The Paykan Project' addresses cultural contexts in the group exhibition 'Woanders' at the Staedtische Galerie Nordhorn

Credit: Harper's BAZAAR

Always one for a bit of intellectual play, performance and video artist Anahita Razmi is garnering attention for her body of work that highlights identity and gender issues through the lens of national, cultural and artistic appropriation. Reworking past and present popular culture into a contemporary Iranian context, The Paykan Project is yet another example of Razmi’s subtle, playful take on “glocalisation.” However, this work runs deeper, serving to reveal poignant observations and raise awareness of the double-edged sword of mobility and today’s migration crisis.

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Abraaj Group Announces Myriam Ben Salah as Curator for Abraaj Group Art Prize 2018

Credit: Harper's BAZAAR

Over the last several years, Myriam Ben Salah has been responsible for coordinating special projects and public programmes at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris where she has focused predominantly on video and performance art as well as publishing initiatives. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the international edition of Kaleidoscope Magazine.

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Shaking up Egypt’s art scene with struggle and despair

Credit: Arab News | Lisa Kaaki

Artist Ali Abdel Mohsen has been shaking up the Egyptian art scene ever since his first solo exhibition “A Voice from the Clouds” in 2010. His latest body of work is also making waves.

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Discovered in a Lab, a New Superblue Has Been Unleashed Upon the World as a Crayola Crayon

Credit: artnet news | Sarah Cascone

When chemist Mas Subramanian accidentally discovered the brilliantly bright YInMn blue at Oregon State University in 2009, he had no idea the bold shade would one day be embraced by doodling schoolchildren everywhere.  Now, the first new blue pigment discovered in 200 years is poised to become part of your kid’s next Crayola crayon box set.

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High profile artists and curators announced for Abu Dhabi Art 2017

Credit: The National | Anna Seaman

A series of high profile artists and curators have been announced as part of this year’s Abu Dhabi Art – taking place in November.

A new part of the fair’s programming involves commissioning artists to make new pieces of work under the Beyond section - an annual exhibition of large-scale sculptures and installations located in and around the fair.

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Has Lebanon banned ‘Wonder Woman’ over its Israeli lead actress?

Credit: Arab News

The latest DC Comics superhero film “Wonder Woman” is set to be banned in Lebanon over its Israeli lead actress Gal Gadot, the state-run National News Agency reported Monday.

The Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade has been prompted to “take the necessary measures” to prevent the film being screened in the country, according to local newspaper The Daily Star.

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Nations must co-ordinate efforts to protect heritage in the Middle East, says expert

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Emily Sharpe

Multinational collaborations are vital in the battle to preserve cultural heritage in conflict zones, says Zaki Aslan, the director of the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, ahead of a talk in London on 16 May aimed at raising awareness about the plight of cultural heritage in the Middle East and examining strategies to protect the historic buildings and monuments in the region as the crisis rolls into its sixth year. 

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Air Arabia Curator in Residence

Credit: Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with Air Arabia announces its first annual open call for a Curator-in-Residence programme.  Deadline: 30 June 2017.

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From chip shop to art gallery: Kazem Hakimi's photographs of his customers

Credit: Independent | Harriet Fitch Little

Kazem Hakimi is showing me a photo he took yesterday. The man on the camera display screen has a red mohawk and a stick and poke tattoo of a skull on his forehead. He’s taken his shirt off, and is standing against a whitewashed wall out the back of Kaz’s fish and chip shop. It’s an intimate portrait and, I suggest, a hard one to set up – his model does not look approachable. Kaz finds my lack of faith amusing: “You’ve only got to ask!”   

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A history of Algeria in seven stops

Credit: Apollo Magazine | Garry Shaw

In 2009, a team excavating at Algiers’ Place des Martyrs in advance of the construction of a new Metro station uncovered a huge archaeological site beneath the square. This unexpected discovery revealed evidence of many centuries of occupation – from Roman ruins and mosaics through to a 7th-century Byzantine necropolis and the remains of an Ottoman-era mosque, all at the heart of the city.

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Behnam Bakhtiar Award set up to promote Iranian art

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Aimee Dawson

A new prize aimed at artists of Iranian descent has been launched in Monaco. The biennial Behnam Bakhtiar Award hopes to promote Iranian art internationally and to counteract “the image of a culture and country that is too often misunderstood and criticised”, says Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar, the Monaco-based Iranian artist who founded the prize.

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The art Donald Trump saw during his state visit to Saudi Arabia

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Gareth Harris

The Saudi Arabian government presented two exhibitions of contemporary art especially for Donald Trump and his wife Melania during their current official state visit. Both exhibitions coincided with the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh where Trump delivered a speech on Saturday (20 May), which focused on fighting terrorism. The General Entertainment Authority, Saudi’s government agency responsible for entertainment and leisure activities, is behind both exhibitions.

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Menil Collection’s Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement Goes to Reem Fadda

Credit: ARTnews | Alex Greenberger

The Menil Collection announced today that Reem Fadda has won the Houston museum’s Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement. As part of the award, which is given biennially to mid-career curators, Fadda will get a $20,000 stipend. She will also give a lecture at the Menil Collection in the fall.

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Artnet’s Fourth Sale Of Middle Eastern Art

Credit: Harper's BAZAAR

Bidding is now live on the sale, led by head of department Bibi Zavieh, and will continue until 24 May. At just 17 lots, it is small by auction standards but includes works by well-known names such as Ayman Baalbaki, Leila Pazooki, Shirin Neshat, Houmam Al Sayed, Youssef Nabil, Halim Al Karim, the Ghasemi Brothers and Mehdi Farhadian.

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Maureen Paley, London


Maureen Paley, London presents a new solo exhibition by Lawrence Abu Hamdan on view through June 05, 2017.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and ‘private ear’ whose projects have taken the form of installations, performances, photography, essays, lectures, videos and graphic works. This exhibition will feature two new works: “Saydnaya” (ray traces), 2017 will be installed in the downstairs gallery, while “This whole time there were no land mines”, 2017 will be shown upstairs. This whole time there were no land mines, 2017 uses found mobile phone footage and audio recordings that were made in 2011 in The Golan Heights. Lawrence Abu Hamdan was born in 1985 in Amman, Jordan. He currently lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.

The exhibition is on view at Maureen Paley, 21, Herald Street, London E2 6JT, UK.

For details, visit:

First major contemporary art institution in Bangladesh takes shape

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Gareth Harris

A new art centre and sculpture park aims to draw international visitors to north-eastern Bangladesh, re-drawing the art world map. Srihatta-Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park is due to open in the rural tea district of Sylhet, around 150 miles from Dhaka, late next year. 

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‘There’s Really No Platform in New York’: The Institute of Arab and Islamic Art’s Director, Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani, on Its Ambitious Plans

Credit: ARTnews | Alex Greenberger

Until the Institute of Arab and Islamic Art opened in New York earlier this month, with a four-woman show of work by Dana Awartani, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Zarina, and Nasreen Mohamedi, the city did not have an institution devoted to modern and contemporary art in that field. For now, it is occupying a temporary location on sunny Howard Street in Nolita, but its staffers eventually plan to find a permanent home in New York. Ahead of the opening of its first exhibition, the IAIA’s founding director and chief curator, Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani, and I met at its current home to discuss his goals and his inaugural show. This conversation has been edited and condensed.

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Vaughan Volunteer Recognition Award presented by Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua

April 27, 2017

Tina Tehranchian received the City of Vaughan’s Volunteer Recognition Award on April 27, 2017, for her volunteer work with McMichael Canadian Art Collection since 2010. Tina has served on the Board of Trustees, as Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, and Founding Chair of the annual Moonlight Gala fundraiser which has resulted in becoming the highest revenue generating event in McMichael's history. Tina is committed and passionate about building and supporting access to the Art of Canada.

Opening: Shirin Neshat at Gladstone Gallery

Credit: ARTnews


For two decades, critics have associated Shirin Neshat’s films and photographs with incisive commentaries on gender relations and violence in Iran, where the artist was born. That makes her latest show, which focuses its attention primarily on America, something of a surprise. The exhibition’s centerpiece is Roja (2016), a film about a woman who tries to find where she stands in a world that seems at odds with her identity. Relying on the disorienting techniques of experimental filmmakers like Maya Deren, Neshat portrays her character’s alienation through stark black and white cinematography. Alongside Roja will be a series of photographs in which the face of the film’s title character is blurred, to make her seem like a stranger in a strange land.
Gladstone Gallery, 515 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.

Reorient Magazine | Joobin Bekhrad and the challenge of promoting contemporary Iranian art

Credit: GRIOT | Celine Angbeletchi

Joobin Bekhrad is the super cool kind of guy everyone would like to meet and have a conversation with. Well, we’re glad to say we did. Other than being an award winning writer and a musician, Joobin is the founder of REORIENT, a publication celebrating the contemporary arts and culture of the Middle East and the surrounding region, and providing a positive, modern perspective on art-related topics.

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Iran's presidential election casts shadow over show organised by country's leading artist

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Hadani Ditmars

Parviz Tanavoli and the Lions of Iran, a long-planned exhibition in Tehran featuring works by the country’s leading artist and artefacts from his personal collection alongside loans from the National Museum of Ancient Iran of objects depicting pre-Islamic lions, could travel abroad, Tanavoli hopes.

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Louvre Abu Dhabi to open in November, sources say

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Vincent Noce

A decade after the €1bn contract was signed to create the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and following multiple construction delays, the museum should finally open this November, if everything goes according to plan. A date in the second half of the month has even been mentioned during talks between officials and the French museum and Emirate, but sources close to the project say this is only a “working date” depending on several technical and diplomatic factors, including the agenda of the new French president. The building’s construction is in the “final stages”, our sources confirm, insisting that the museum “will welcome visitors in 2017”.

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Ali Banisadr at Sperone Westwater, New York


Sperone Westwater, New York is hosting an exhibition “Trust in the Future” by artist Ali Banisadr, on view through June 24, 2017.

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Tunisian Pavilion at Venice Biennale focuses on human migration


Tunisia’s national pavilion at the 57th La Biennale di Venezia, scheduled to begin on May 13 and run through November 26, 2017, will feature interactive performances to inspire further inquiry into human migration issues.

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British Museum’s ancient Syrian refugee who became king goes online

Credit: The Art Newspaper | Emily Sharpe

A 3,500-year-old statue of a refugee from Aleppo that has not left the British Museum (BM) in nearly 80 years because of conservation concerns is now accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The London gallery collaborated with Factum Foundation to produce precise 3D renderings of the BM’s statue of Idrimi—a refugee from Syria who rose to be the king of Alalakh, in southern Turkey—using the latest photogrammetry and 3D-scanning techniques. The 3D scans and digital model of the artefact are available online.

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Nabila Abdel Nabi at The Power Plant

Sunday, May 14, 2017 | 2:00 PM | Toronto

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Dubai By Way of SoHo: The Middle East Art Scene Makes Way for an Exhibit of New York Lore

Credit: ARTNEWS | Danna Lorch

International press loves to dismiss Dubai as a soulless place devoid of local culture and invested instead in yachts, luxury malls, camel racing, and cheap labor. Just a few miles from the touristy glitz, however, a strong and stable art scene lies in the industrial area of Al Quoz, where artists have been testing conventions and beliefs in the United Arab Emirates since the 1980s alongside pioneering dealers who have sold work to increasingly cultivated collectors for more than a decade. And now a show of works by another community of artists—this one from the historical lore of downtown New York—is on view at the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, a private museum on Al Quoz’s Alserkal Avenue.

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Advanced workshop by Reza Abedini

July 3 - 7, 2017

Credit: Dar El-Nimer

In this intensive workshop, participants are invited to take classic Arabic poems and use them to make a typographic poetry book in Arabic. The approach is based on understanding and adapting the special qualities and characteristics of the Arabic writing system, calligraphy and typography.

This workshop is open to students and professionals in graphic design. Applicants are required to submit up to five samples of their work for review before registration to

Reza Abedini, is an Iranian graphic designer and a visiting Assistant Professor of graphic design and visual culture at the American University of Beirut. He combines modern and traditional themes in his design.

The Home of My Eyes - Shirin Neshat at Museo Correr

San Marco | May 13, 2017 - November 26, 2017

Credit: Artsy | Scott Indrisek

The heart of this presentation is the series “The Home of My Eyes,” which Iranian artist Neshat completed in 2015 as a commission for the Yarat Contemporary Art Space in Azerbaijan. Over two dozen photographic works capture a wide range of the country’s citizens, their portraits overlaid with text culled from interviews by the artist. Also on view is a 2016 video, Roja, which Charlotte Jansen, writing for Artsy, described as having “a hallucinatory atmosphere that’s easy to feel but hard to define; the physical and emotional landscapes are recognizable yet impossible to place.”

When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965)

April 28, 2017 - July 30, 2017

This historic traveling exhibition explores the evolution and history of the Egyptian surrealists and their remarkable legacy, in both Egypt and international surrealist circles.

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Exhibition Launch: Larissa Sansour & Louisa Martin

May 6, 2017 - Jun 24, 2017

Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour returns to Bluecoat with a major solo exhibition of new work drawing on themes of science fiction, archaeology and politics.

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Wassan Al-Khudhairi Appointed Chief Curator of Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Credit: Alex Greenberger - ARTNEWS

After its former chief curator, Jeffrey Uslip, resigned amidst controversy surrounding Kelley Walker works featuring images of African-Americans, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis has found a new chief curator: Wassan Al-Khudhairi. She begins at the museum on August 1, 2017.

Al-Khudhairi is currently a curator of modern and contemporary art at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. Prior to that, she had directed Qatar’s Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and had held positions at the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, the Brooklyn Museum, the British Museum, and the High Museum of Art. This fall, she will help curate the 2017 Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan.

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Joobin Bekhrad’s Review of Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet in the Latest Edition (Issue 103 - May/Jun 2017) of ArtAsiaPacific.

Make sure to get your copy.

The Best Museums in Turkey

Credit: Feride Yalav Heckeroth - The Culture Trip

With its rich history that spans the ages and empires, Turkey’s museums are full of stunning artifacts as well as art. From Istanbul’s renowned museums to the lesser-known yet equally important museums around the country, Culture Trip rounded up the most essential.

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20th Century Art/ Middle East

25 APRIL 2017 | 3:00 PM BST | LONDON

Following the successful relaunch of our Arab, Iranian and Turkish art sales in London in 2016, and the first-ever single owner Iranian Art sale sold at auction, Sotheby's is delighted to announce its next 20th Century Art/ Middle East sale this April.

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Why Don't Canadians Know Any Canadian Painters?

Credit: Grant Gordon - Huffpost Living

A Mainstreet Research poll found that 54% of adult Canadians cannot name a single Canadian visual artist, living or dead. In contrast, the poll also found that 97% of adult Canadians can name at least three Canadian hockey players.

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Exhibition featuring four female artists to launch Arab cultural institute in New York

Credit: The Art Newspaper

Saudi artist Dana Awartani and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian of Iran will show works on paper at the new cultural space in lower Manhattan.

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Mr. Trump, lovers of Iran would like to thank you for helping our cause

Credit: Joobin Bekhrad on Writing, Donald Trump, and Iranian Arts and Culture for PRI

Reorient Editor Joobin Bekhrad on Iranian arts and culture and 'the Donald'. For those who missed his radio interview with Marco Werman last week on 'The World' (a co-production of the BBC), you can listen to it via the embedded clip.

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Fouad Elkoury at The Third Line, Dubai

Credit: ARTnews

"Fouad Elkoury: Suite Egyptienne” is on view at The Third Line in Dubai through Tuesday, May 16. The solo exhibition, the artist’s fourth in the city, presents documentation of his travels through Egypt since the late 1980s.

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Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

July 14 - 16, 2017

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is accepting applications from visual artists and makers withdisabilities, newcomer and indigenous artists to participate in the new Art EncountersProgram during the 56th Exhibition on July 14 – 16, 2017 at Nathan Philips Square.

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Tooti Tooti interviews Simin Keramati

The Power of Learning.

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The village powered by divine light

Credit: Joobin Bekhrad - BBC (Editor's Pick)

How modern technology brought one traditional village closer to God.

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A New Site Is Helping High-Quality Creatives Find Work—and Get Paid!

Apply to become a part of the Easle community. The platform that puts your work in front of clients from around the world, and streamlines the extraneous processes of a project, leaving you more time to create.

Apply here

Joobin Bekhrad on Filpboard's 10 for Today

Joobin Bekhrad's article featured on BBC has been selected by Flipboard as one of the ten most interesting reads for today!


Exhibition at Fully Booked Art Book Fair

As part of UK/UAE 2017, the Crossway Foundation and the British Council celebrated 15 years of artists’ journeys and cross-cultural collaboration through a unique partnership with Fully Booked, Dubai's first and only art book fair.

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Joobin Bekhrad interviewed on PRI’s The World

Why President Donald Trump is good for Iranian art!


The obscure religion that shaped the West

Credit: Joobin Bekhrad - BBC

Talk of ‘us’ and ‘them’ has long dominated Iran-related politics in the West. At the same time, Christianity has frequently been used to define the identity and values of the US and Europe, as well as to contrast those values with those of a Middle Eastern ‘other’. Yet, a brief glance at an ancient religion – still being practised today – suggests that what many take for granted as wholesome Western ideals, beliefs and culture may in fact have Iranian roots.

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Moment of Glory

Credit: Joobin Bekhrad - Jadaliyya

In an article recently published by The Guardian, the late Iranian poet and filmmaker Forough Farrokhzad (1935 – 1967) was introduced as “Iran’s Sylvia Plath.” While this comparison may have been made with the best of intentions, it is a comparison nonetheless; and, in the case of artists from Iran like Farrokhzad, one might argue, an unnecessary, and problematic, one. Plath’s status as a literary giant is indubitable, but she was who she was in her own right: Plath was Plath – as Farrokhzad was Farrokhzad.

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How Trump is Making Iran Great Again – Through Arts & Culture

Credit: Joobin Bekhrad - Muftah

"For many Iranians like me, it’s difficult to like Donald Trump. As if his views on the Iran Deal and general use of rhetoric regarding Iran weren’t enough, we now have to deal with various attempts to ban us from traveling to the United States."

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Metropolitan Museum’s Persian Carpets Exhibition: An Interview with Dr. Sheila Canby

“Carpets for Kings: Six Masterpieces of Iranian Weaving” is the title of a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Six small Iranian carpets dating from the 16th and 17th centuries – most of them of royal provenance – are on view at the Met through August 27. They entered the Met collections between 1910 and 1951.

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Toronto Arts Foundation’s Creative Champions Network

April 14, 2017

Tina Tehranchian will be a panelist at the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Creative Champions Network panel on diversity and new perspectives.

Toronto has been called one of the most diverse cities in the world – but is this proud reality reflected on our arts boards and in our arts organizations? One of the most urgent challenges facing the arts in Toronto today is building vibrant organizations that speak to the rich mix of experiences and backgrounds in our diverse community.  Presenter Uzma Shakir, Director of Equity, Diversity & Human Rights at the City of Toronto will lead a discussion of the social imperative, benefits and successful practices in expanding diversity, with panel members, Upkar Arora, former chair of the board and Tina Tehranchian, trustee of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

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IMAN RAAD, “Tongue Tied,” at Sargent Daughters

March 18 to April 23, 2017

This is the New York debut of this breakout young talent from Iran, whose brightly colored paintings and installations allow fruits, flowers, butterflies, animals, and other nonhuman subjects to get a life.

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Desert Wildlife in the United Arab Emirates: Pictures

Stunning desert wildlife in the UAE.


Joobin Bekhrad Selected as Judge for 2017 Women's Voices Now Film Festival

An award-winning writer, Joobin Bekhrad (BBA, MSc.) is the founder and Editor of REORIENT, a publication celebrating contemporary Middle Eastern arts and culture, and recently served as the Guest Editor of Columbia University’s Columbia Journal.

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Global Art Awards judges include some of the world's most respected art professionals, art collectors, gallery owners, art critics, art entrepreneurs and local emiratie high profile society, including members of the Middle East Art Collector Association.  The Global Art Awards harnesses the insights and talents of more than 10 judges every year.

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Applications for curators for the next edition of the Abraaj Group Art Prize are now open. Experienced international and regional curators are invited to apply to become Guest Curator of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2018, a role that includes curating the group exhibition at Art Dubai 2018 and producing an accompanying publication.
Curator applications close on April 16, 2017.  Apply here.

Silent Frame Interview:  REORIENT's Joobin Bekhrad

Reorient editor, Joobin Bekhrad, discusses his favourite films, books, and artworks in his interview with Silent Frame's John Wadsworth.

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How to discover emerging and young artists?

London, 18 April, 2017

Unproven and exciting – discovering talented emerging artists is one of the most exciting ways to collect art.

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Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco

The 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco, a showcase for independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians from around the world, is inviting the filmmakers from all over the world to submit their films to the next edition taking place in September 2017.

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Pleased to announce that Reorient Editor Joobin Bekhrad's new book, 'Coming Down Again', will be featured at the Farhang Foundation's booth at the upcoming La Times Festival of Books (April 22 - 23, 2017). Make sure to pay 'em a visit!

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13th Sharjah Biennial

The first weekend of the Sharjah Biennial was packed with talks, performances, installations and artist-led tours.


Art Market San Francisco

Art Market San Francisco will return to the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion this April for the celebrated art fair's anticipated seventh edition. Following record breaking sales, city-wide partnerships, and attendance of over 25,000 visitors in 2016, the 2017 edition of Art Market San Francisco is pleased to present a significant selection of contemporary and modern artworks from returning Art Market exhibitors and exciting newcomers.

Get your VIP Pass here


The 2017 McMichael Canadian Art Collection's Moonlight Gala, the signature fundraiser for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, is happening in a year that bears witness to the unprecedented intersection of three important anniversaries: the sesquicentennial of Canada, the end of the 50th anniversary of the McMichael, and the 100th anniversary of death of Tom Thomson.

The McMichael Moonlight Gala 2017 will be chaired by no other than Tina Tehranchian, one of our lead sponsors.

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On January 26, 2017, Projects, in accordance with its mandate of promoting the contemporary arts and culture of Iran and the Iranian diaspora, showcased photographs by three notable contemporary Iranian artists: Azadeh Akhlaghi, Mahsa Alikhani, and Hossein Fatemi.



On Thursday, February 2, 2017, REORIENT Editor and award-winning writer Joobin Bekhrad launched his new book, Coming Down Again at Ben McNally Books in downtown Toronto. Attended by notable writers, members of the press, artists, and politicians, the event saw Bekhrad speak about his book as well as sign copies for readers.



On Thursday, September 22, 2016, art maison projects held its fourth Art Night, in which a number of works by Iranian artist Mostafa Choobtarash were exhibited at its Richmond Hill premises. Hosted by financial adviser Tina Tehranchian – who at one point during the event also addressed the VIP audience regarding art maison’s history, ambitions, and policies – the fourth edition of Art Night was very well-attended and received. Present at the event were members of the press, artists, entrepreneurs, collectors, and art enthusiasts, some of whom supported Choobtarash by purchasing a number of his works.



Coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016, Not to Be Framed presented the works of four young female Iranian artists – Samira Alborzkouh, Leila Fathizadeh, Yalda Khajehzadeh, and Sara Niroobakhsh – who comprise the Matrix artist collective. Sponsored by Tina Tehranchian and by invitation only, Not to be Framed was held at artclub project’s Toronto premises on March 10, 2016.



On November 26, 2015, projects hosted Beauty and Bewilderment, a solo exhibition of works by renowned Iranian calligraphy artist Salar Ahmadian.



On November 19, 2015, we were pleased to co-host ‘Beauty and Bewilderment’, an exhibition of contemporary works of Persian calligraphy by Salar Ahmadian and Farnaz Jahanbin at Artspace Hamra in Beirut, Lebanon.



On July 30, 2015, artclub projects – in partnership with REORIENT and financial adviser/art patron Tina Tehranchian – held the first edition of its Art Night series, a Toronto-based initiative in support of contemporary artists and their works. Art collectors, patrons, and enthusiasts gathered in artclub’s Toronto office for an intimate evening to discuss and appreciate artwork, and meet the evening’s featured artist, by whom a number of mixed media works and a video installation were exhibited.

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