On 7 June, Leila Heller Gallery hosted an intimate suhoor at its Dubai gallery in Alserkal Avenue. The evening saw guests dine amidst New York-based Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi’s evocative oeuvre. Entitled Still in Progress, the exhibition is the artist’s first solo show in the Middle East region. The works on display encompass Essaydi’s major bodies of work from 2003 to 2013 and includes Converging Territories, Harem, Les Femmes Du Maroc, and Bullets Revisited. The artist’s poignant work is the result of a complex performance-based creative process involving a mixture of painting, interior and costume design, calligraphy, stage direction, and photography. Such an intricate method of image creation is at the crux of the artist’s art – one which probes the ideas behind Orientalism, its invented fantasy scenes and its historical and cultural relevance today.
Displayed in the gallery’s additional gallery room is Surface Issues, a group exhibition curated by Maximilian William that brings together new works by Coco Capitán, Reginald Sylvester II and Magda Skupinska. Through their diversity these abstract works, each exuding a vibrant synthesis of colour and form, highlight the power of art to simultaneously inform and mislead us. Ultimately, every artwork holds a deeper meaning lying just beneath its surface. Surface Issues also encourages viewers to examine and engage with the cultural and political references in each work.
Both exhibitions run until 15 August at Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai. www.leilahellergallery.com