al Mawrid is a research center and archive dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the visual arts of the Arab world. Through a range of activities that include fellowships, research projects, conferences and colloquia, as well as the construction of a unique open-access archive, al Mawrid aims to be a major resource for scholars, independent researchers, and for educational and art institutions.
The center’s archive encompasses the Arab Art Archive, which acquires primary source materials pertaining to modern and contemporary art across the Arab world, and the Akkasah Photography Archive, which documents different histories and practices of photography in the broader region with a focus on the UAE and the Gulf. al Mawrid’s research operation has two arms: one dedicated to formulating new analytic categories for the history of Arab art, and Haraka: Experimental Lab for Arab Art and Social Thought, which takes the intellectual life of the region as a starting point for exploring alternative modes of knowledge production about its societies and history.
The Center is part of the NYUAD Research Institute and works in collaboration with faculty in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences serving faculty research and undergraduate education.
We welcome Dr. Hanaa Malallah as al Mawrid’s Resident Fellow, for the month of May, 2022.
Hanaa Malallah (1958-) is an artist, researcher and educator, based in London. Born in Iraq, she studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad, and later earned an MA and PhD from the University of Baghdad. In her graduate work, she developed a semiotic approach to art, receiving a doctorate in 2005 for a thesis that uses forms of logic elaborated by modern philosophy to examine the art of ancient Mesopotamia.
Malallah left Iraq at the end of 2006 for an artist residency at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris; that was followed by fellowships at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the Chelsea College of Art in London. She has lectured at the University of Baghdad and the Royal University for Women in Bahrain.
Since the early 1990s, Malallah has tried to think through destruction as an essential part of the human condition, by treating the material she works with as found objects that she mutilates or disfigures according to what she came to conceptualize in 2007 as a ‘ruins technique’. This reflection on destruction has drawn on Malallah’s research on semiotics, and on the material culture of ancient Mesopotamia, but more recently it has shifted its focus from objects to landscapes, and it has explored the ‘virtual’ aspects of destruction: the temporality of decay, the survival of material, and the paradoxical appearance of invisibility within the visible. Her research on the virtual has led more recently to examine the relationship between spiritualism and technology.
Stay tuned for more on Dr. Hanaa's program during her time at al Mawrid.
Title: Go East, Young Artists: Creative Practice across the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Bloc, 1950s-1980s
Date: May 18, 2022
Time: 09:30 am -7:30 pm GST
Type: In Person
Location: NYUAD Campus, Room A6-010
This workshop is dedicated to examining Cold War-era constellations of “Eastern” and “non-Western” locations–among them the USSR, Eastern Bloc states, the ex-colonial countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and various cultural platforms devoted to socialist culture–as a site of experimental creative practices. Although art historians have begun to uncover the details of Arab artists’ experiences in European art academies (Rome, Paris, and so on), the experiences of the young artists who looked or moved East remain little studied or understood.
Questions to engage include: How to document and interpret the trans-regional mobilities across and between these several “Easts” of the fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties? What images, objects, persons, friendships or speculations may be said to have emerged from the decades’ institutional frameworks for East-East exchange? Might we read these entities as tuning forks within that vaster transformations that later delivered the global contemporary art world of the twenty-first century? And what fell out of the system? Which artists forged other friendships, claimed other kinds of art objects, or envisioned other norms, and how?
Co-sponsored by al Mawrid Arab Center for the Study of Art and the Humanities Research Fellowship for the Study of the Arab World.