Shadows of Memory|Fa Gallery

if you know me, you might have predicted that lise allam's work was my favorite there by far. this is a detail of 'hoya', oil on canvas, 100 x 150cm

Although I went to this exhibition four nights ago, I wasn’t too keen on writing about it. And the reason for not writing bothered me more than the fact that I hadn’t written. As I was washing my dishes wondering why I didn’t even bother to upload the photos I’d taken, I came to a realization. Over the past year, I’ve made it my goal to give as honest an opinion as I can about the exhibitions I visited without being hurtful, venomous or catty. With every aspect of my life, because I live in a country which (arguably if you like) is culturally dry, and people pat one another on the back for less than stellar achievements, I try to distinguish between sub-standard, standard and spectacular. And this exhibition, like many before it, was a mix of all three levels. It’s exhibitions like this one which make me question the curator’s ability to discern the difference between strong and provocative artists and artist friends for whom he/she is doing a favor.

ginane bacho, 'series clouds of memories', mixed media on paper, 38 x 28cm. although i liked the installation, i wasn't too crazy about the components.

amira behbehani, 'transfered', mixed media on canvas, 110 x 110 cm. behbehani continues to grow as she searches for her artistic persona

'Still Life Series' by Reda Salem, digital prints on canvas, 60 x 60 cm. the way these are photographed remind me of the studios we used to go to to have our family portraits taken. these photos are filled with nostalgia and look like paintings with a photo-realist quality to them. in other words, photos which look like paintings which look like photos

mutaz elemam, oil on canvas. i'm afraid that's all i know about this painting as i forgot to take a close-up shot of the label. his work is comfortable and i think he and i share a certain aesthetic where our work is concerned. his paintings are quite innocuous and rather pleasing to my eyes

i thought i'd seen these before! mary tuma, 'liberty, unity, voice', three dresses from silk. i hadn't seen these particular dresses but another installation in a book on palestinian contemporary art i once owned. go to marytuma.com for more of her marvelous work. it's so chilling to see these exaggerated dresses, hanging there without a body to carry them yet full of life. spectacular

detail from sina ata's 'who are you 1', acrylic on canvas, 120 x 120 cm

this is ata's 'who are you 1' with the qahwa man, who initially tried to avoid being photographed but i insisted he be part of the photo because his standing there was significant. 'who are you?' 'i am the qahwa man.' no identity, just a shadow who serves us coffee

my favorite. lise allam, 'butterfly II', oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm. allam's paintings are so evocative. i immediately felt a twinge in my gut as soon as i saw her work. i love the contradiction between her keen detail in places and total disregard for certain elements like perspective, and the total elimination of facial features. like tuma's dresses, allam's inanimate objects are seemingly more alive than the people who occupy her canvases

the eponymous subject of allam's painting. the texture of this butterfly's wings makes me swoon. spectacular

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