(Above) Chant Avedissian, Society. Image courtesy the Bluecoat.
Arabicity: Such a Near East, the Bluecoat, Liverpool, until September 5 2010
By some reckonings, there are as many countries in the Arabic world as there are in Western Europe. So putting together a show to represent them all was never going to be simple.
Curator Rose Issa and the Bluecoat have plumped for just six artists from the region whose strategies may be familiar to a contemporary art audience, even if their content is not.
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme collaborate on films which fuse images from Palestine past and present to explore differences between memory, reality and fantasy.
Chant Avedissian from Egypt meanwhile plays with local iconography by stencilling famous and less famous faces onto everyday objects.
Fathi Hassan, on the other hand, builds an installation from a list of people and places that have inspired him with 99 small paintings of sand on canvas.
Curator Issa has said: “Contemporary art and culture from the region has been overlooked and undervalued by Western and even indigenous audiences for many decades. I am therefore delighted at recent interest in the area and am so happy that artists from the region are receiving the recognition and rewards they deserve at fantastic intuitions such as the Bluecoat.”
Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki and Palestinian photographer Raeda Saadeh are also included in the show. Saadeh has been called the Cindy Sherman of the Middle East, so really anything is possible.
Admission free. Open 8am-10pm Tuesday to Saturday (until 6pm Monday and 10am-6pm Sunday).