Sabrina Amrani Art Gallery, based in Madrid (Spain), will participate in the third edition of Beirut Art Fair (5th to 8th July, Beirut, Lebanon). Just a few weeks later after celebrating their first anniversary, the Gallery packs their suitcases to be present for the first time in an artistic encounter in the Middle East.

Image above: Zoulikha Bouabdellah / Two Lovers - La Roue, 2010, Detail / Leds Unique / @ 2010 Zoulikha Bouabdellah

The Beirut Art Fair 2012 is focused especially on artists from the region, North Africa and South Asia, coinciding with the Gallery line. In fact, in her participation in Beirut, Sabrina Amrani (French from Algerian origin) presents art from Morocco to Pakistan through United Arab Emirates. (the MENASA region).

The main body of Sabrina Amrani’s proposal for BAF comprises a reflection on the changes that are occurring in the Arab world by Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Algeria), photographies by Amina Benbouchta (Morocco), the miniature painting update by Waqas Khan (Pakistan) and the conceptual and urban art by UBIK (India). The Tunisian artist Nicène Kossentini, that collaborates in the Fair’s Video Box program will also be present at BAF.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah / Two Lovers - La Roue, 2010 / Leds Unique / @ 2010 Zoulikha Bouabdellah

“With this selection, we are seeking to make come true one of BAF’s premises: to gather art that is being done from North Africa to South Asia. We sincerely think that this Fair is summoned to be one of the reference art fairs on the area and that is why we placed a bet on it. We have a hunch that this will be the edition that confirms BAF in the international scene”, explains the gallerist Sabrina Amrani. “Throughout this year, he have participated in an art fair in Europe, 'JustMad', and another in Africa, 'Casablanca Art Week'. BAF is our first time in Middle East but it is a natural step for us because of the artists we represent. And we want it to make it last after the fair’s doors are closed: we are a young, dynamic and open gallery, looking forward to establish contact with Beirut’s cultural scene”, adds Sabrina Amrani.

Amina Benbouchta / Lointains Interiuers I, 2012 (Triptych, 3 Photographs of 50 x 60 cm.) / Photography Tirage Fine Art Baryte, Ink with pigment / Edition of 3 / © 2012 Amina Benbouchta

Amina Benbouchta / Lointains Interiuers II, III, 2012 (Triptych, 3 Photographs of 50 x 60 cm.) / Photography Tirage Fine Art Baryte, Ink with pigment / Edition of 3 / © 2012 Amina Benbouchta

Sabrina Amrani proposal for BAF includes a lot of inedit pieces. This is the case of the new compositions of the Mirage series by Zoulikha Bouabdellah, where she makes an urgent reflection about the Arab Spring, a process with so uncertain outcome as any other revolutionary process but that will legate-for-sure symbols that will last. The artist has found one symbol of her own: the silhouette of the first Mirage plane from Gaddafi’s air forces to be brought down by the libian rebels. Bouabdellah has placed this in a series of mosaics inspired by the geometric repertoire of Islamic art. Two Lovers – La Roue, is a piece showing the word love (hobb, in arabic), a reflection about the term and how it has been poetically used in arab arts through the centuries.

Sabrina Amrani’s booth also hosts the special universe of Waqas Khan, who gives a twist to the traditional miniaturist technique. He uses a Rotring accurate marker 0.1, to create freehand, point by point compositions seemingly abstract but actually make the viewer to travel through the creative process of the Pakistani artist, a sort of dreamlike trance that requires maximum concentration from Waqas during days, weeks or months. He works small scale miniature in big scale format. Inside the Art Fair’s cultural activities program, Sabrina Amrani will present the book launch of the first artist book to be published by the gallery: ‘Abstraction Contained’. With Waqas Khan’s works, it includes texts from prominent personalities of the Spanish art scene. Waqas Khan will be present at the book launch.

Waqas Khan / Dance In Retina II / @ Waqas Khan / Courtesy of Sabrina Amrani Art Gallery

The gallery from Madrid will mirror the street art section of the Fair bringing the latests works by UBIK, emergent artist who has a strong influence from urban art. The works 'Rant 3# and #4', are part of an ongoing series that takes the concept of an 'anonymous saying' as a departure point to explore the notions of catch-phrases. The aesthetics of the works are modelled deliberately as a 'memorial plaque' to lend some fake authoratative tone. The memorial plaque aesthethics are also UBIK’s way of exploring the idea of legacy for his words. The texts used are mainly open ended absurd statements or questions, and are derived from random snippets of writings from UBIK's journal. At a common area of the Fair, right in front of the press lounge we will be able to see 'Gather yourselves together', made out of 250 helium inflated balloons attached to a crate. The baloons, that will eventually deinflate along the duration of the Fair, carry a message: “Tomorrow is Utopy”. With this piece UBIK describes how the yearning for a better world in contemporary societies evolves: at first, the voices of hope stand strong and united but -slowly and quietly-, they run out of steam, collapsing to the ground like the ballons, surrendered to the anchorage of established power. UBIK will be present in person at Sabrina Amrani’s booth during the Fair.

UBIK / Gather yourselves together, 2011. 250 balloons, silkscreen, crate. Variable dimensions / @ UBIK

Finally, Nicène Kossentini, another of the artists represented by Sabrina Amrani, will present the piece 'Schize' in the fair’s section Video Box.

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