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Paul Guiragossian (1926-1993) is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Arab World in the 20th century. Paul Guiragossian (1926-1993) is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Arab World in the 20th century. Born to Armenian parents, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, he experienced the consequences of exile, first as a child, and later on as a young refugee from Jerusalem arriving to Beirut in the late 1940s. In the '50s Paul started teaching art in several Armenian schools and worked as an illustrator. He later started his own business with his brother Antoine painting cinema banners, posters, and drawing illustrations for books. Soon after he was discovered for his art and introduced to his contemporaries after which he began exhibiting his works in Beirut and eventually all over the world.
Showcasing 26 internationally acclaimed artists and art collectives from the Gulf region and the world, and directly referencing John Berger's seminal 1972 eponymous text on visual culture, this publication invites the viewer to actively engage with the artwork, and to explore the ways by which artists assign forms and concepts that seem familiar with renewed appearances and meanings.
This title is centered around the theme of storytelling, new works by twenty-three artists with roots in the Arab world. Twenty-three both established and emerging artists have been commissioned to produce a new work, ranging from painting, drawing and sculpture, to photography, video and mixed-media installations. Through a comparative analysis of these works, the curators highlight a process of constant transmigration, resulting in a diversity of cultural and aesthetic references.
A selection of fifteen well-established artists from across the Maghreb, Levant, and Gulf in conversations moderated by experts on contemporary Middle Eastern art. Historically, artists have been known for their ability to understand emerging trends of thought and emotions before they become clear to the society at large. Yet, outside the art world, artists have rarely enjoyed opportunity to share their ideas. As revolutionary movements challenge decades of authoritarian rule across Arab countries, Conversations with Contemporary Arab Artists is the first book to give voice to artists from across the region and makes their thoughts accessible to a wide audience. Its purpose is to record for future generations these artists' thoughts as they bear witness to revolutionary currents sparking deep transformations in their political and social landscapes. Rather than providing a comprehensive analysis of the "Arab Spring," this book simply aims to provide readers with snap shots of the states of mind of intellectually engaged Arab artists. It is aimed at curators, art historians, artists, sociologists, political scientists, citizens of the Arab world and students of art, art history, and the Middle East.
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