Nadine Kanso: Future Of Yesterday

Nadine Kanso, Bil Arabi, Future of Yesterday, Dubai
With her latest exhibition at DIFC’s Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, entitled "Future of Yesterday", award-winning jewellery designer Nadine Kanso returns to her first love: photography

“I strongly believe an artist never really leaves behind his first calling,” Nadine tells Bazaar. “Over the years, my jewellery label Bil Arabi has taken the spotlight. I guess that’s because fashion by nature, is always at the forefront and on covers, but I’ve never stopped taking photographs.” 
Future of Yesterday is an ode to Dubai, the city that the Lebanese artist/designer and her family have called home for the past sixteen years. Depicting its dynamics of growth, constant change and evolution before our eyes, Nadine contrasts the derelict with the optimistic and the gritty with the refined. Within the 30 frames of Lambada print and collage work, Nadine builds a dream for the future and reflects on her appreciation and understanding of the Emirate.
An image from Future of Yesterday
“These images represent what I see day in day out,” she says of the structures and buildings that form a narrative from the past as she uses collage work in colour to deliver the future. “The collage of the black and white images forms part of the ever-evolving history of this city, and tells my story along the way.”
The coloured images feature cut out circles from the Arabic version of the book My Vision by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to highlight that ambition, vision, future and change. “The coloured frames are optimistic of our city’s ability create a better society.”
An image from Future of Yesterday
Since she moved to Dubai in 2000, Nadine has garnered repute within the local arts scene through her alternative take on life in the UAE. In 2006, Nadine was invited to exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of a group exhibition entitled Arabize Me. Later that year, she adapted the exhibit for a solo show in Dubai, with a collection that included a series of portraits depicting Arabs from across the region with an eclectic mix of artistic, creative and cultural milieus entitled Who I Am (or Meen Ana in Arabic). Since then, she has actively showcased her works, first at Gallery B21 (now known as Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde) and at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery since 2011.
“In the wake of 9/11, I wanted to express an alternative vision of what it meant to be an Arab in the modern world,” she says of her V&A exhibit. “I wanted to show people there was more to this region and its people than what was dominating the headlines.” Through Meen Ana, Nadine explored her love for Arabic calligraphy which she later turned into gold with her jewellery label Bil Arabi.  
Nadine at work in her studio
With this latest exhibition, Nadine the artist asserts ownership over her two creative outlets. - Pratyush Sarup
Future of Yesterday runs at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery until June 26. All images courteys of the artist


Nadine Kanso, Bil Arabi, Future of Yesterday, Dubai