Talking Art: 4 New Book Releases On Middle Eastern And South Asian Art

BY Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh / Aug 7 2019 / 14:53 PM

If art could speak what would it say? Bazaar Art reviews some of the latest tomes on Middle Eastern and South Asian art

Talking Art: 4 New Book Releases On Middle Eastern And South Asian Art
Talking Art: 4 New Book Releases On Middle Eastern And South Asian Art
Courtesy of the author
An inside spread of Visions from Abroad, Historical and Contemporary Representations of Arabia: Mona Khazindar

Pouran Jinchi
The 120 pages inside this ocean-blue hardcover make up the very first monograph of renowned Iranian-American artist Pouran Jinchi. Every page turned is a survey of Jinchi’s 25-year artistic journey, with photographs of her works accompanied by riveting accounts of artistic inspirations. The artist conveys her fascination with language and spirituality through her art using a range of materials such as Plexiglass, light and plinth.

An inside spread of Pouran Jinchi

“The journey continues as she marries sign and design, art and literature, and translates her fascination with nature’s mysterious forces and her memories, emotions and responses to moments of despair and crisis into visual form,” writes Maryam Ekhtiar, Associate Curator at the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Also featured are writings by independent scholar and cultural historian of the Middle East, Shiva Balaghi, and London-based founding editor of The White Review, Ben Eastham. 
Edited by Saira Ansari and Laura Egerton. Published by Akkadia Press. Co-published with Works on Paper, The Third Line.

Jitish Kallat
This 364-page tome is devoted to the expansive works of multimedia Indian contemporary artist and curator of the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Jitish Kallat. The pages brim with extraordinary images of the artist’s multimedia works created over the last two decades, from paintings and installations to enthralling drawings that document his cultural experiences in Mumbai, India.

An inside spread of Jitish Kallat

Edited by curator of the Contour Biennale 8, Natasha Ginwala, this hefty book sheds light on Kallat’s fascinating artistic journey through essays including Ruminations on the Grammar of a Universe: Back to the Future, in which Museum Director Suhanya Raffel evaluates Kallat’s works titled Public Notice (2003, 2007, 2010) and Covering Letter (2012), giving the reader a glimpse of the artist’s focus on the essence of time and the diverse conceptual and design elements used in his art. Featured is an in-depth interview conducted by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, where Kallat discusses everything from personal inspirations to influences such as Indian artists Bhupen Khakhar and Atul Dodiya.
Edited by Natasha Ginwala. Published by Mapin.

Geometry and Art in the Modern Middle East  
Inspired by the geometry that continues to influence contemporary visual arts with a special focus on artists from Islamic cultures, this 166-page tome is filled with awe-inspiring works by 24 artists with a focus on geometry in Middle Eastern art. Accompanying the beautiful imagery are short manifestos that provide an intriguing insight into each artist’s inspirations and the relationship between geometry and Islamic art. “No matter what the end result is, or how complex the final sculptures turns out to be, to me it remains preliminary experiments in learning the secrets of geometry and the universe we live in,” writes Tehran-born artist Sahand Hessamiyan.

An inside spread of Geometry and Art in the Modern Middle East

“My work is an expression of my wonder and the sheer joy of what I am able to create with my own hands.” Featured are works by Saudi Arabian artist Lulwah Al Homoud, German-Iranian photographer-turned-sculptor Timo Nasseri, Dubai-born Emirati artist Zeinab Al Hashemi, Rana Begum, Emirati Ebtisam Abdulaziz, and many more.
Edited by Roxane Zand. Published by Skira editore S.p.A.

Visions from Abroad, Historical and Contemporary Representations of Arabia: Mona Khazindar
Covering over four centuries, the latest 240-page release by curator and art historian Mona Khazindar, Visions from Abroad, Historical and Contemporary Representations of Arabia implements powerful imagery, poetry and art to portray modern and traditional perspectives of travellers in the Arabian Peninsula. Khazindar was listed as co-curator of the first Saudi Pavilion at the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale and has curated several exhibitions over the last three decades.

An inside spread of Visions from Abroad, Historical and Contemporary Representations of Arabia: Mona Khazindar

Drawing on the impressions of artists and writers abroad, this tome explores cities in Hejaz, Saudi Arabia, showcasing Bedouin culture and the alluring charm of Arabia through the eyes of visitors in the region. Mesmerising photographs are accompanied by text from geographers and historians including Moroccan Muslim Scholar, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, and Arab geographer, Ibn Jubayr. The author has collaborated with Saudi’s cultural hub for creativity, King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for the launch of this insightful publication.
Edited by Paola Gribaudo. Published by Skira editore S.p.A Milano.

From the Summer 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Art