Axis of Light: Arts from the Middle East
Presenting up-and-coming Asian artists at the state-of-the-art Miller Theater (former Magazine B), The Rising Stars of Asia Series provides a platform in Hong Kong to showcase emerging talent. The Spring 2012 showcase presents the documentary Axis of Light , directed by Pia Getty. Pia Getty will be joined by artists Golnaz Fathi, Rachid Koraichi and Mona Saudi for a discussion on contemporary Middle Eastern art. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Melissa Chiu, Director, Asia Society Museum, and Senior Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs, Asia Society.
Axis of Light — Eight Artists from the Middle East
Director: Pia Getty
Axis of Light is a journey across borders and histories into the work of eight eminent artists all closely attached to the Middle East and North Africa. From Jannane Al Ani's beautiful yet haunting marked landscapes to Ayman Baalbaki's large-scale paintings of war-affected buildings to Mona Saudi lovingly watering her stone sculptures or Rachid Koraïchi's homage to years of human mark making, viewers are transported between history, politics and poetry.
The histories unfolding are marked by war and exile — yet, as Baalbaki serenely notes, "It is difficult to put into words, but nonetheless [war/destruction] is something which becomes very natural, it makes up a part of your life." Throughout the film, nothing is presented sensationally: Shirin Neshat speaks of conflicting forces in her work, Mona Hatoum positively refers to "identities in flux" and Etel Adnan talks of a close by age when "the country will be the computer" while Youssef Nabil goes from exile to paradise. Interwoven with graceful calligraphic titles by Golnaz Fathi, the works are beautifully filmed and the artists have been subtly directed as to express themselves generously through accounts that seem a perfect balance between personal and universal.
Pia Getty's film projects include a series of filmed conversations, of women in search of peace, from around the world, which was followed by China Power — Art Now After Mao. Her most recent work is Axis of Light. A passionate filmmaker and environmentalist, she studied Art History at Georgetown University.
Golnaz Fathi was born in 1972 and lives and works in Tehran. She studied Graphic Design at Azad Art University (Tehran) and was one of the very few women in Iran to spend six intensive years mastering classical calligraphy at the Iranian Society of Calligraphy. She finds inspiration in poetry and present-day Iran. Taking her mastery of traditional calligraphy as the departure point for her work, she transforms it into the realm of the contemporary and the personal, releasing "that within myself which cannot be put into words." Her work has been featured in collections including Brighton & Hove Museum, England; Carnegie Mellon University Doha, Qatar; Islamic Art Museum, Malaysia; Asia Civilisations Museum, Singapore; the British Museum; Davi Art Foundation, India; and Farajam collection, Dubai.
Rachid Koraichi was born in Algeria in 1947, and now lives and works in Tunisia and France. He first studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Superior National School of the Arts in Algeria, before moving to France to continue his studies at the National School of Decorative Arts and the School of Urban Studies in Paris. His sculptural explorations extend across an impressive range of media, with his installations including ceramics, textiles, various metals and painted work on silk, paper or canvas. Koraichi's work has been exhibited internationally, including in the 47th and 49th Venice Biennale; at the British Museum; National Museum for African Art, Washington; the Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha; Haus de Kunst, Germany; and the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.
Mona Saudi was born in Amman, Jordan, in 1945. She is one of the few Arab women artists to work primarily in stone, creating large-scale sculptures. Also a poet, and an art activist, she was educated at Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and was influenced by Brancusi, but her work also reflects an engagement with Islamic and ancient Middle Eastern artistic traditions. Her artwork has been featured in solo and collective exhibitions in the Arab world, Europe, the United States and Asia, and her sculptures are found in private collections and museums worldwide.