This year’s annual collective exhibition at Wadi Finan Art Gallery is an excellent who’s who of the art world in Jordan and the region
On the evening of 17 December, Mixed Palette, the highly anticipated collective exhibition at Wadi Finan Art Gallery, opened. Inside the gallery, people from all age groups and social backgrounds crowded to see the exhibited works. By now, Wadi Finan Art Gallery has become known for providing great Jordanian and regional art.
Wadi Finan Art Gallery was established in 2008. And although the gallery has been around for less than a decade, its effect on the art scene in the Jordanian capital has been profound. Since its establishment, the gallery gained a reputation for including and exhibiting both the works of young artists, as well as pioneering, household names.
Mixed Palette is Wadi Finan’s annual group exhibition, which features an outstanding collection of works by Jordanian and regional artists. This year’s collection is particularly astounding. It includes the works of several well-known names in the art world, as well as an exciting selection by first timers and young comers. The aim of Mixed Palette is to introduce the works of well-known artists to a wider audience, as well as provide a venue for younger artists to present their works.
This year’s artists include a lot of big names, as well as new ones. Of the big names, Ufemia Rizk is one. Rizk is a sculptor, graphic designer and artist, whose work is found in museums and private collections internationally. She is the recipient of many prestigious prizes, including the Medal of the Salon de Paris 3rd International Festival, as well as the Oscar with Gold Medal at the World Biennal of Modern Art. Muhanna Al Dura’s works are on display. Al Dura is widely regarded as a pioneer in introducing Cubism and abstract art to Jordan. Rasmi Khafaji, one of the greatest living Arab artists, has a spot as well. His work was the first by an Arab artist to be displayed at the Napoli Museum for Fine Arts. Riham Ghassib, a prolific artist who has held ten solo exhibitions since 1987 and whose art is an expressive and profound meditation on home, is featured as well. The works of Fares Rizk, whose poetic style and colour palettes are inspired from his travels around the world, are exhibited. Celebrated Turkish artist Fahrenissa Zeid once called him a “Peintre Poète”.
The young artists include Besher Koshaji, whose solo exhibition at Wadi Finan Art Gallery last month was met with unanimous praise, as well as Mohammad Tamimi, a Jordanian artist who takes unique visual approaches to explore the ambiguities of family life, seen from the eyes of a child. A large painting by Fadi Daoud is also exhibited. Daoud’s paintings are strikingly expressionist and psychedelic, reminiscent of both Edvard Munch and Barry Godber. Works by Ibrahim Jawarbeh and Omar Najjar are exhibited as well. Both Jawarbeh and Najjar tease surrealist and dreamy elements from realistic, everyday scenes. Their work is some of the most vital in Jordanian art.
The works on display in Mixed Palette explore the cross-generational ability to describe and convey a sense of place and identity in a rapidly shifting world. Whether referencing an immediate identifiable reality or exploring abstract notions and ideas, each exhibited work encourages the audience to contemplate or decipher. The exhibition deals with a wide range of themes and subject matters, from still life, landscape and collage, to portraits and cellular forms – and it is set to impress and inspire. One comes out of the exhibition with the notion that, to better understand not only our immediate social existence, but our world as a whole, we need to listen and be attentive to what these artists are trying to say.
It bears noting that one of Wadi Finan Art Gallery’s corners hosts Silsal Workshop, which offers technical, artists, as well as monetary support to create a safe, productive learning space for challenged youth. The workshop is supported by Ruwwad Al Tanmeya, a non-profit community empowerment organisation that helps disadvantaged communities overcome margnialisation through youth activism, civic engagement and education.
Wadi Finan Art Gallery takes pride in brining a unique aesthetic to its surrounding time and place. And in its continuous support for young artists, as well as keen delivery of celebrated and well-known ones, it remains one of the most vital art spaces in the capital.
Mixed Palette is open until 30 January 2017.