Art Calendar

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Selected works from the
38th Annual Fine Arts Exhibition
June 2012

Mohamed Kanoo
Meem Gallery, Dubai
until 5 July
Meem Gallery is proud to present Mohamed Kanoo’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, displaying his recent work. Fun w/Fen presents the artist’s humorous interpretation of topical issues including religion, culture, politics and popular culture. The exhibition features works such as Abayya Army and the Red Balloon, Noor (Light), and Henna Stop Sign. Many of his recent works also pays homage to a number of artists Kanoo draws inspiration from, such as in works like Allah, which presents four small incisions on a large silver canvas, an immediate interpretation of the pioneering conceptual work of the 1950’s  Argentinian born artist Lucio Fontana; AraMao, which is based on Andy Warhol’s famous portrait of Chairman Mao; and his personal interpretation of Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa, where he replaces Mount Fuji with Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. Kanoo’s first solo exhibition held at Meem Gallery in 2009 displayed his Shemaghart collection.

Mohamed Kanoo

Mohamed commenced painting informally in Abu Dhabi in 1989. Using self-taught modern techniques of Roy Lichtenstein, Mohamed paints in the contemporary Pop art style of Andy Warhol. His first work, executed in this style, was a portrait of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late President and Founder of the United Arab Emirates, an ever present spiritual inspiration to his work. 

Mohamed's works have developed over the years and he has recently started experimenting with other media for his more abstract contemporary pieces. He currently has several categories within which his works can be divided: portraits, automobiles, abstract, applied media, landscape, photography and calligraphy art.

He first exhibited his work in 2004 as part of the Cosmos: A Written Word; Arabic Calligraphy Through the Ages exhibition at the Richard Meier designed Museum for Applied Arts in Frankfurt, Germany. Further exhibitions include Debut in Dubai in 2005; an exhibition of his Sehmaghart concept at Galeria Metropolitana, Barcelona, 2007; Language of the Desert: Contemporary Gulf Arab Artist Exhibition, Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, 2007; and his solo show 3 Icons, Abu Dhabi, 2007. An earlier version of Mohamed’s work Henna Stop Sign (exhibited in Fun w/Fen) featured at Sotheby’s during Shubbak (July 2011), London’s first ever celebration of contemporary culture from across the Arab world. His more recent exhibitions include Korean Eye: Energy and Matter, a joint show held in Abu Dhabi (March-April).

Mohamed is one of the founders of Abu Dhabi’s first art gallery, the Ghaf Art Gallery (established in 2006), where he has curated many exhibitions. He has given lectures on art and culture internationally and has contributed a paper for Global Art’, published by Hatje Cantz in 2009, edited by Irene Gludowacz, Silvia von Bennigsen and Susanne van Hagen, where he looked at the opportunities and dangers of globalized art.

His artistic philosophy is often termed as “being in transition,” an unintentional description of his efforts that he holds very close to his heart. He feels an artist must be continually changing, improving, growing, expanding and should never be caught in a repetitive rut. 

He has also been challenged by perceived artistic prohibitions of his Islamic faith.  Following the tragedy of 9/11, and the resultant negative cultural confrontation by the West, he has focused on achieving a successful artistic platform that presents a position from which he can reflect more positively an alternative view of contemporary Arabia.
Fun w/Fen
recent work of
Red Baloon and the Abayya Army (2012)

Red Baloon and the Abayya Army (2012)
130 * 80 cm. Silkscreen Print on Canvas

Great Wave of Dubai (2012). 130 * 80 cm. Digital Print Fatima Henna Hand Stop Sign (2012). 50 * 50 cm. Silkscreen Print on Wood A Question of Identity (2012). A series of postcard sized digital portraits of contemporary and historical figures