This week I was luck to go to not one or two but three exhibitions. Each one had a unique and distinct flavor and style. Each one has a different mission. Thinking back at what I saw this week I can say that I missed the art scene in Amman which has gone to sleep during the month of Ramadan. I am glad that the awakening of the scene came quickly and intensly. Here are my impressions of the exhibitions:
The first was at foresight gallery it was for a Jordanian artist, Nawal Abdullah. Her work was simple and elegant. Easy to look at, easy to enjoy. Simple in its layered approach to landscape and color. There were two pieces that were very striking for me at this exhibition, even though it was pretty much the same subject but in different colors and scales. The first caught my attention because it was a bigger scale and two dimensional but had very strong colors and was very different than the others in its effect. The second attracted me because it has so much depth, that you wanted to dive into the picture knowing it was endless. We didn’t spend much time at the gallery and it an easy exhibition to visit.
The second visit was to Jacaranda where there is an exhibition of Australian art. I have been there twice and still need to go again and again to fully absorb the beauty of the art and what has been displayed and what we were being exposed to. There are numerous artists presented at this exhibition and in total 40 pieces are on display. Talking to the gallery owner she explained to us how this art is a form of storytelling and to become such an artist you have to be initiated into the art form. At the gallery you can also find books discussing the art and a small booklet put together about the works and the artists. I really enjoyed this exhibition because it spoke to the aesthetic as well as the intellect by exposing us to a new culture and a new forms of expression. A great learning experience, I would like to go again and try to understand more about the symbolism and the meanings and thus the culture.
Finally today I was at Darat Al Funun to look at Mona Hatoum’s exhibition. The artist is Palestinian living in London and her work revolves around taking everyday objects and making statements with them. Some of these statements were very strong and powerful, others though beautiful were hard to relate to. I found it difficult to understand the use of hair as she did in her various installations. She tried to bring the ordinary into another dimension and her use of these everyday items though powerful, was unclear to what she wanted to say. I always struggle to understand artists who are from the region but live in another cultural paradigm, our relationships with the same things are so different. Hatoum’s works dated back to 1985 and in my opnion were one dimensional from the perspective of the subject matter she was presenting. The works were all related to Palestine, occupation, and war. The pieces were not reflective of her growth as an artist and to that end I would have loved to see more of her other work. Explanations of the pieces were poor, which mean there was no cohesion to the exhibition, perhaps if they were presented chronologically and built up to her latest works it would have been a less disjointed effort.
I think it’s irrelevant whether I like the art or not, what’s more important is that Amman has become a place where you can enjoy art from around the world. Indulge in a form of escapism through someone else’s perspective, and that brings the world to you when you cant go out and meet it head on.