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A curated selection of light installations by seven contemporary artsists opens at Cuadro Gallery
Installation view.

DUBAI.- Aptly entitled, Night Light, the show features rare, retrospective light works by renowned Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan and light-boxes by Emirati photographer, Ammar Al Attar. In their debut exhibition at Cuadro Gallery, Iraqi artist, Halim Al Karim, French-Algerian artist, Kader Attia, emerging British artist, William Mackrell, leading Saudi artist, Ahmed Mater along with the Puerto-Rican and South African duo, Christto Sanz and Andrew Weir present an exclusive body of defining works.

External lighting is often the most crucial component of an exhibition. In this case, Cuadro Gallery dimmed its lights, allowing the illuminated art to become the solitary source and object of visual perception.

Bringing together seven distinctive artistic styles and vastly diverse viewpoints, Night Light presents the resonating language of an inventive medium fashioned by talent from around the world.

Manal AlDowayan’s LED and neon works in Arabic script, chosen from pivotal bodies of work spanning the artist’s career, illuminate phrases such as We Were Together Speaking Through Silence and I Need to Pause to Choose Which Path to Take.

Ammar Al Attar frames large format negatives of Middle Eastern Prayer Rooms in four by four inch light-boxes. Each place of worship is cocooned by a seemingly reverent light, which illuminates both its seclusion and tranquility.

Halim Al Karim spent three years hidden in a hole in the southern Iraqi desert to avoid conscription under Saddam Hussein’s regime. An elderly Bedouin woman supplied him with food, water and knowledge of tribal mysticism to survive the plight. His photographic abstractions are inspired by the experimental work of his father, an amateur photographer, meditative spirituality and his harrowing experience of the First Gulf War.

Kader Attia’s minimalist compositions employ shadow as much as light to rearrange our association with common political terms. The artist strains modern life complexities through light fixtures that reflect his own experience of growing up amidst Western, North African and Middle Eastern philosophies.

William Mackrell is influenced by the tale of Sisyphus. He pays homage to the futile yet monumental effort of the mythical character by using repetitive and reflective patterns to test the tenacity of light, marking the exact borders between illumination and obscurity, hope and loss.

Ahmed Mater’s iconic transition light-boxes, critiquing the effects of petrodollar-influx in Saudi Arabia, depict the gradual transformation of an inanimate gas-pump into a somber human reality.

Christto and Andrew, as Puerto Rican and South African expats living in the Middle East allow their multicultural backgrounds to symbiotically inspire complex, stratified works that explore the transformative state of cultural identity.

The exhibition remains open from 14 October – 1 November.

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