Rania Matar (Galerie Tanit)

The Art Fair Exploring the Cross-Cultural Impact of North African and Middle Eastern Art

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Rania Matar (Galerie Tanit)

Art has always had a way of exerting a universal impact on place and time, influencing cultures and societies as well as collective memory. A new virtual art fair is exploring exactly that, putting particular focus on art’s cross-cultural influence, from Morocco’s Gnawa music heritage to Iranian subcultures.

Brought together by Intersect Art and Design, 14 art galleries from nine countries in the region are being put on the spotlight for the exhibition, alongside six Southern Californian galleries. 

Egyptian art platform Art D’Egypte is set to present select artworks from their latest exhibition ‘Technocrats’ as well as featured videos from past projects. Amongst them, Egyptian artist Dina Jereidini’s series ‘The Things We Hold’ of pastel-drenched acrylic paintings exploring femininity and sensuality will be on display.

Of course, Saudi Arabia’s leading Athr Gallery is also on the roster with London-based artist Aya Haidar’s ‘Tolteesh’ series as part of the show. The embroidery on cotton pieces address gender-based harassment, calling out men for offensive lines they use in public to approach women. 

Dina Jereidini's The Things We Hold (Art D’Égypte)
Dina Jereidini’s The Things We Hold (Art D’Égypte)

Aya Haidar's Tolteesh series (Athr Gallery)
Aya Haidar’s Tolteesh series (Athr Gallery)

You can also discover Yemeni-Bosnian artist Alia Ali’s ‘Borderland’ series that taps into the notion of home and exile and the significance of textiles in time and culture. Her portraits celebrate characters wrapped up in layers of colourful traditional fabrics from all over the world.

With a total of 21 galleries participating, Intersect 21 is also moving beyond artworks to host online panel discussions for seven days.

Leila Heller, founder and president of Dubai-based participating gallery Leila Heller Gallery will be joining Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani and British-Iranian art collector Mohammed Afkhami in a panel entitled ‘How A Middle Eastern Artist, Gallerist, and Collector Navigated the Pandemic’. They will be addressing the importance of art as a survival medium during the pandemic.

Alia Ali's Borderland (Galerie SINIYA28)
Alia Ali’s Borderland (Galerie SINIYA28)

Serwan Baran (Saleh Barakat Gallery)
Serwan Baran (Saleh Barakat Gallery)

Touching in on the notions of memory and history Lebanese artists Chafa Ghaddar, Hiba Kalache and Afaf Zurayk will be in discussion for a panel entitled ‘The Passing of Time and Place and the Art of the Levant’. 

Middle Eastern photography will also be celebrated in the panel ‘A Window into Art and Documentation of Time and Place’ bringing together Iraqi photographer and professor at University of Arizona Sama Alshaibi, founders of Cairo-based Tintera gallery Heba Farid and Zain Khalifa, and more.

Marwan Sahmarani (Leila Heller Gallery)
Marwan Sahmarani (Leila Heller Gallery)

Rania Matar (Galerie Tanit)
Rania Matar (Galerie Tanit)

Intersect 21 will run between February 16 and 22.


Main image: Rania Matar (Galerie Tanit)

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