Zhivago Duncan: Beauty Blocked My View




7 NOVEMBER 2018 - 10 JANUARY 2019


Meem Gallery presents Beauty Blocked My View, a new series of work by multi-media artist Zhivago Duncan.

Using batik, the ancient technique of wax resistant dyeing, the artist has created a series of large-scale works that address his complex identity by layering his fascination with ancient Near and Middle Easterncreation stories with cutting edge science, and existential musings about modern life. Explosive, abstract compositions with evocative titles such as

Astral Bodies and Celestial Cells are made up of floating, circular forms. Recalling planetary rotations and moon phases, these spheres also hint at the science and spirituality behind our own genesis, evolution and DNA.

As a part of a larger body of work that examines physical and metaphysical perception relating to the two distinctive hemispheres of the brain, these batik works draw on references from a wide variety of scientific and literary sources. From The Epic of Gilgamesh to William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell to Zecharia Sitchin’s The 12th Planet, Duncan has assembled his own hybridised mythology in order to make sense of both the physical and spiritual world around him.

Created at his Mexico City studio, the series, Beauty Blocked My View marks the artist’s second solo exhibition at Meem Gallery. Known for his inventive use of unexpected materials, Zhivago Duncan’s artistic practice has been shaped by his unusual background and upbringing. A multi-linguist who has lived throughout Europe and the Middle East, the self proclaimed ‘perpetual foreigner’, is half Syrian and half Danish, was born in the USA and educated in the UK.


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Mahmoud Obaidi: The Cube



4 June – 31 August 2018


Meem Gallery presents The Cube, a series of four stainless steel and glass sculptures along with their accompanying sketches by Iraqi-Canadian conceptual artist, Mahmoud Obaidi. The works were previously included in Hajj: The Journey Through Art at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, curated by the British Museum.

In an exploration of the architecture of the Kaaba, the simple, cuboid building at the center of the holiest site in the Islamic faith, the artist reflects on the elemental qualities of this sacred structure and the enormity of the spiritual weight assigned to it.

Using the cube as the foundation of these theoretical explorations, Obaidi deconstructs the shape down to its six closed sets of geometric forms. Discovering that the cube is the only shape containing multiple smaller cubes in perfect equation, each possessing 48 energy directions who’s force travels upwards in a pyramid shape, resulting in intensified, invisible sphere energy around the shape.

Interpreting these findings, Obaidi captures the four stages of energy in four sculptures titled, The Cube, 1000 Directions of Energy, The Hidden Pyramids Within the Cube and The Invisible Sphere Around the Cube; and questions if these properties play a role in intensifying the spiritual energy in the space surrounding the Kaaba.

Iraqi born Mahmoud Obaidi is based in Toronto, Canada. His work can be found in the collections of Mathaf: Museum of Modern Arab Art, Doha; British Museum, London; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman and Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah. His monograph, Fragments, was published in 2016 including a conversation with Hans-Ulrich Obrist.

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Arab Print: Volume IV


Arab Print: Volume IV

17 September - 30 Ovtober 2018 
Vernissage Monday 17 September, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

In it’s fourth iteration of a series of exhibitions dedicated to printmaking in the Arab world, Meem Gallery presents, Arab Print Volume IV, focusing on the art of printmaking from Lebanon.

Showcasing a variety of techniques such lithography, etching, engraving and the practice of photogravure, works by Shafic Abboud, Etel Adnan, Huguette Caland, Halim Jurdak, Hussein Madi and Mohamed El Rawas demonstrate the diverse styles and methods of printmaking of some of the most renowned Lebanese artists of the twentieth century.

Thanks to the establishment of faculties dedicated to the fine arts at a number of universities in Lebanon during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a generation of artists were exposed to the most current artistic trends and practices, (including printmaking) of the era. Institutions such as Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, The Lebanese University and the American University of Beirut were seminal in the development of the country’s modern art movement, making it amongst the most advanced centers for artistic production in the Arab world.

By the mid 20th century, printmaking had become a mainstay of artists working in the West and beyond. As well as their studies at home, many art students from Lebanon furthered their education abroad in cities like Paris and New York, often adopting the practice made popular by artists like Robert Rauschenburg and Andy Warhol.

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12 March – 30 May 2018
Vernissage Monday 12 March, 6:00 – 8:00 pm


Meem Gallery will be presenting Saqqakhaneh, a rare collection of works by Modern Iranian masters, Massoud Arabshahi, Faramarz Pilaram, Sohrab Sepehri, Sadegh, Tabrizi, Parviz Tanavoli and Hossein Zenderoudi. Previously unseen by the public, this collection of 30 works were created between 1959 -1964.

Credited with the establishment of a modernist approach to a national artistic identity, the ‘neo-traditional’ Saqqakhaneh movement was formed in the early 1960s. The style that initially applied to painting and sculpture and repurposed visual elements from votive Shiite art quickly came to be more generally identified with artists whose work was rooted in traditionally Iranian, decorative pre-Islamic and Islamic elements, and folk art. From the formal, stylised motifs present in Islamic and pre-Islamic courtly art to vernacular handicrafts, many forms were explored and reinterpreted, including calligraphy, miniature painting, textiles, and architectural elements.

Affiliated in some capacity with the Tehran College of Decorative Arts (later known as the Faculty of Decorative Arts), the artists created a modern idiom by realising the affinity between aspects of these indigenous forms and modern Western art movements, most notably twentieth-century abstract art. What resulted was a diverse variety of modern, innovative artwork embodying a uniquely Iranian identity and character that set a standard for future generations of Iranian artists.

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Modern Masters: Iraqi works from the modernist era


Iraqi works from the modernist era

10 January - 28 February 2018

This January Meem Gallery celebrates the start of 2018 with a group exhibition of modernist Iraqi paintings. Including rare works by Faeq Hassan, Jewad Selim, Dia Azzawi, Ismail Fattah, Khadem Hayder and Shakir Hassan Al Said, the exhibition highlights these early masters and second generation pioneer artists, whose careers continue to influence artists in Iraq and throughout the diaspora.

Highlights include an exceptional example of Jewad Selim’s work, a figurative painting from 1957 in light pastel tones, featuring a female figure in a domestic setting. This rare work has not been seen publicly in many years, and is accompanied by an undated work on paper by the same artist. (Press please request image post 10 January as it is not currently included in the dropbox link)

Another highlight is the early work on board by Ismail Fattah from 1961 – produced while he was still studying at the Academia di Bella Arti in Rome. Titled “To Lisa from Ismael” on the reverse in the artists hand, the work features a couple embracing and shows a rare example of his early style*.

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