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Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 16:19 UK
Arab culture explored at Bluecoat
Chant Avedissian, society
Society by Chant Avedissian one of the works displayed at the Bluecoat

The experience of Lebanon's civil war, the realities of daily life for Palestinians and the democratic flowering of Egypt in the 1950s are all depicted at a Liverpool exhibition.

Arabicity: Such A Near East, at the Bluecoat arts centre showcases the work of six artists from the Middle East.

The display, which opens on Saturday, 3 July, 2010 is timed to coincide with the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival.

Curator Rose Issa says she has picked artists covering a mix of viewpoints.

"Since this exhibition coincides with the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festivals, I wanted to choose artists whose work represents different concerns in the Arab world," she said.

Palestinian artists Basel Abbas, Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Raeda Saadeh display alongside Lebanon's Ayman Baalbaki, Egyptian Chant Avedissian and Sudanese-Egyptian artist Fathi Hassan.

The annual week long Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival begins on Friday, 3 July and takes place at venues across the city including the Bluecoat, FACT, World Museum Liverpool and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Ayman Baalbaki, Ya illahi (God!!), acrylic on panel with brass, steel, gold leaf and light bulbs. 210x127x8cm, 2008
Ya illahi (God!!) by Ayman Baalbaki part of the Bluecoat display

The troubled recent history of the Middle East is depicted in many of the work's in the Bluecoat's exhibition.

"The younger generation, represented here by the Palestinian artists Basel Abbas, Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Raeda Saadeh, transform the relentless difficulties of daily life at home and the painful burden of history they have inherited into poetic - and in Raeda's case often poignantly funny - works of art," Rose Issa explains.

"Similarly, Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki expresses his experience of civil war, invasion and destruction into vibrant yet subtle oil paintings, suggesting that something meaningful, beautiful and touching can emerge from the worst circumstances.

"Baalbaki's commissioned installation is being created during a residency at the Bluecoat."

Rose Issa has worked to promote art from the Arab world for almost 30 years living in Iran, Lebanon, France and London.

For the Bluecoat exhibition she has assembled works that chronicle the development and change in the Middle East since World War II.

"Chant Avedissian's work is full of warmth and wit, a celebration of Egypt's social and political heyday in the Fifties and early Sixties, a time of secularism and democratisation," Rose Issa said.

"Famous and glamorous faces appear alongside pharaonic and Ottoman decorative symbols and everyday objects, from bus tickets to thermos flasks - the human figures represent the birth of a nation, while its objects convey its essence.

"He started producing such images during the first Gulf War in 1991, terrified that everything he held dear would disappear.

"Fathi Hassan's installation of names of places and people who have inspired and influenced him is both a celebration of his Nubian heritage and the nature of identity itself.

"From the moment we are given a name we are identified with it, grow into it, and just as Arabic names all have a meaning, a further layer of meaning is added to the story of ourselves."




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