Sharjah: His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and Sovereign of Sharjah, today opened an art exhibition titled The other side of silence by Hrair Sarkissian at the Sharjah Art Foundation. Dr Sheikh Sultan also visited the exhibition titled Illuminated letters, by Emirati artist and calligrapher Mohammed Mandi at the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum here today.
The exhibition, organized by the Sharjah Art Foundation in cooperation with the Galerie Bonnier Constellation in Stockholm and the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, the Netherlands, is Hrair Sarkissian’s first investigative exhibition and will run until January 30, 2022. .
Dr Sheikh Sultan visited the exhibition, where he listened to an explanation by Hrair Sarkissian on his work over the past 15 years, which takes the visitor on a photographic journey to the squares of Aleppo, Latakia and Damascus, and to across the sky of Palmyra and the snowy landscapes of contemporary Armenia.
The inauguration of the exhibition was attended by Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sheikha Nawar bint Ahmed Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Dr Abdulrahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, Mohamed Obaid Al Zaabi, chairman of the Protocol and Reception Department, and a number of officials and artists.
At Illuminated letters exhibition, Dr Sheikh Sultan toured the exhibition halls, listening to an explanation by the artist, Mohammed Mandi, about the works on display, highlighting their artistic significance which reflected his vision and inspiration from sayings and national occasions, among others influences.
The exhibition chronicles Mandi’s journey of passion for calligraphy and art through his teaching of calligraphy and the implementation of a number of works that testify to his achievements, including the design of texts for the outer cover of Emirati passport and writings of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Possibilities of the photographic medium
The exhibition examines the stories of disappearance, the architecture of violence and the possibilities of the photographic medium. It is based on two main commissions, a photographic installation titled Last seen (2018-2021), commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation, and Bittersweet (2021-2022) commissioned by Bonnefantin.
Sarkissian entered the world of photography thanks to his father’s photography studio Dream Color in Damascus. He then traveled to the Netherlands to study the visual arts, where he continued analog photography, taking it as his primary medium and testing his abilities through his tireless quest to elucidate unseen narratives in conflict.
The photographs Sarkisian produced using a large format camera developed and continued to produce throughout his life, embodying his concern for the role of “chance” in capturing hidden narratives – such as if he was both an excavator and a storyteller.
Tap into individual and collective memory
In addition to her work on using photographic methods to evoke scenes revealing historical trauma, her works draw on individual and collective memory, delving into stories that archives and official sources cannot tell. Such methods allow the viewer, through preconceived scenes, to reflect on the formal aspects of the image and to assess the possibilities of what lies beneath its surface.
Mandi’s exhibition will witness, throughout its duration, accompanying programs and events, including a virtual live encounter with artist Mohammed Mandi. In addition to various workshops on calligraphy and design.
It is noteworthy that Mandi was born in 1953 and started his artistic career in 1975.
Sharjah Calligraphy Museum holds exhibitions of calligraphers and artists from all over the world every year. This year’s exhibition is a continuation of the exhibitions it presents, with a set of accompanying events.