91-93 Great Portland Street
Monday to Friday: 11am - 6pm
Saturday: 1pm - 5 pm or by appointment
Chant Avedissian - Ayman Baalbaki - Tagreed Darghouth - Hassan Hajjaj - Fathi Hassan - Susan Hefuna - Batoul Shimi
Re-Orientations II is the second installment of an ongoing group exhibition project that launched in 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels. During that political gathering in the heart of Europe, Rose Issa Projects was invited to curate an exhibition of artists from the Middle East and North Africa who explore their conceptual, aesthetic, political, social and philosophical concerns through their artworks. Re-Orientations inspired another exhibition series called Arabicity, which debuted in 2010 at the Bluecoat Art Centre in Liverpool, and traveled later that year to the Beirut Exhibition Centre, where even more artists joined the visual discussion.
Today, after more than a year of dramatic political and social upheaval across the region, the themes presented in Re-Orientations are more relevant than ever before. In his Icons of the Nile series, the artist Chant Avedissian transforms the man on the street, performers and past political leaders into idealised images, perhaps because of the lack of role models today. In Ayman Baalbaki’s Wake Up his experience of continual displacement and fleeing for his life is explored, while Tagreed Barghouth’s series Brighter than a Thousand Suns presents the continual atmosphere of threat, nuclear and otherwise. A world at risk of exploding is shown in Batoul Shimi’s Un Monde Sous Pression, while Fathi Hassan’s Haram Aleykum expresses notions of shame, honour and disillusion, past and present.
But Re-Orientations is also about love – whether a love of music, as in Hassan Hajjaj’s video, My Rock Stars Experimental, Volume I – or a love of life, of nature, or of one’s country. Any anxiety about the future is redeemed through colour, humour and the human need for beauty and inspiring images.