Generation ز Young Arab Artists Exibition
Oct 17 – Dec 19, 2018
This inaugural exhibition brought together seven Arab artists into a converted historic nightclub in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking district. As part of the New York Arab Art & Education Initiative, the exhibition explored Arab culture, politics and tradition, as seen from the point of view of young artists. Using satire, humor and self-analysis, the art ranges from oil paintings, immersive installations, videos, photography and prints. Curated by Kuwaiti artist Razan Al Sarraf, the show included artists from Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, each with their own distinctive approaches, as they attempt to reclaim the image of “being Arab.” Whether through potent visuals, a subtle revealing of the beauty of tradition, or a candor towards the “now,” these artists act as archivers, witnesses and pioneers of a new era of change.
Generation ز or “Z” in Arabic, can also be translated to “good.” These uncensored and uninhibited artists employ their creativity to discuss the nuances of good and evil, defining the changing times they are in while engaging with social media and easily accessible mediums like photography and video.
The artists include Ahaad Al Amoudi, Balqis Al Rashed, Zahra Al-Mahdi, Razan Al Sarraf, Samer Fouad, Farah Salem, and Tareq Sultan.
Ahaad Al Amoudi is a Saudi-based visual artist. A daughter of an artist and art-instructor mother, Ahaad’s love for the arts was evident from a young age. Ahaad was continuously surrounded by artwork and materials. She is primarily interested in the correlation between people’s methods of self-expression through different mediums, and how it affects their mindsets and lives. Ahaad is currently studying Visual Communication at Dar Al Hekma, after a brief but inspiring few years living in England.
Balqis Al Rashed was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and raised in Beirut, where she lived for sixteen years graduating from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. She returned to Saudi in 2009 and co-founded Qabila Apparel, a homegrown Khaleeji clothing line. Her prolific activity and presence online led to a March Meetings Project Residency at Sharjah Art Foundation where she exhibited her first large-scale installation Once, we fell from the sky and landed in Babel. Al Rashed has been featured in various media platforms and has recently been selected as Nike ambassador. Her work is focused on ritual-making, magical thinking, and personal demon-slayin’.
Zahra Al-Mahdi, born 1989, is an English Literature graduate from Kuwait University, College of Arts. She's an artist, writer, and filmmaker, primarily known for collage work using ink sketches layered over photographs, animation on live action, and installations that deal with dissected anatomical figures. Science fiction, Post-colonialism, and Post-structuralism are leading themes in her oeuvre. Her most notable works include her debut graphic novel titled We, the Borrowed (2016), and an online mockumentary mini-series titled Bird Watch (2017).
Razan Al Sarraf is a Kuwaiti-born visual artist based in NYC. Through painting she covers the social, religious and political climate of the Middle East. She recently graduated with honors from the School of Visual Arts in New York, with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts. Razan is the recipient of the Ministry of Higher Education of Kuwait Merit Scholarship, SVA Alumni Society Scholarship & Award, as well as multiple Kuwait Culture Academic Merit awards. She has exhibited internationally, participating within solo and group shows in New York City, New Jersey and Kuwait.
Samer Fouad is an artist, photographer, and graphic designer based in Seattle. He has a Bachelors in Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Graphic Design and a minor in Art History. Fouad’s work has been featured in galleries and magazines spanning from New York to Tokyo, including +81 Gallery, Project for Empty Space, the AIGA, Design Sponge, Ad Week and Pantone™.
Farah Salem is a visual artist from Kuwait, and currently based in Chicago. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications and is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counselling program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In her studio practice, she works with various mediums including photography, video, performance, installation, projection/light and other mixed media materials. Working in both urban and natural landscapes, the artist uses these landscapes to engage in conversations with captured frames, performances, and installations.
Tareq Sultan (Kuki Jijo) is a visual artist living in Kuwait. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and continued his studies at Parsons The New School for Design. Most of his artistic work uses modified forms of re-appropriated imagery, pop cultural and religious iconography, and an arguably degraded hybrid of colloquial Arabic and English as parts of its core communicative instruments. Tackling subjects such as gender identity, human sexuality, pop culture, and idolisation within the scope of self expression and censorship in Middle Eastern media.