Self-funded art in Dubai

Breaking boundaries for art’s sake

“The Big Picture” contemporary art exhibition was hosted by the Gallery of Light at Dubai Community Theatre & Art Centre (DUCTAC) on the weekend of 6 – 8 June 2013. It explored multifaceted artistic creations, featuring paintings, photography, sculpture, digital art, performance art, installation as well as audiovisual arts.

The Big Picture is an independent art exhibition that was self-funded and organized by some of the participating artists. The concept was inspired by a fast and busy society that often magnifies minor issues and gets caught up in the details of a demanding daily schedule, while ignoring the vision and the essence of where we are all heading as collectives or individuals and neglecting the significance of the journey and the overall process we each follow.

We live in a vast world; let us look at art from outer space, let us look at the big picture, no matter how big it gets, or small it might need to be” said Ram Nath, the co-organizer and curator of The Big Picture. Nath’s exhibited work reflected childhood memories that have been complicated and overwritten by time and the ever-changing society. In his piece called Clown, we see that he used the nostalgic technique of Pop Art to portray a laughing clown, whose cheerful colors are slowly fading by as time passes by.


The Big Picture exhibition showed more than 30 different artworks using different media. As for the performances, it started with the artist Abdullah Abd Al Karim, aka Dokhan, painting live on a classic Dodge car that was presented by Union Cars Club. Behind him was a screen that showed a video by VJ IS who demonstrated various clips of black and white adverts saturated by consumerism, which were taken in the early 20th century and that do not differ much from our times now.

The varied colors and media used to make the other artworks inside the gallery space were what gave a vibrant and positive feeling and atmosphere to the space. Entering the exhibition, you would have seen Amjad Aljoukhdar painting live, on speakers’ covers given by Libratone, his own imaginary characters, one of which was an angel turning to a devil that was painted and drawn on a canvas inside the exhibition.


Co-organizer Roba Hamadeh’s work was a four-piece graphic design that gave the audience a glimpse of what goes inside an artists head from subjects of love, hope, sadness and life. As for the biggest piece, it was that by Nashwa Zakaria who managed to present a full and colorful survey of the culture and heritage of Dubai. Shoak Taher showed two paintings portraying the situation in Iraq via her own primitive and spontaneous mean of expression. Another artwork that was also outstanding was that of Anji Abbas’, who expressed the speed of thoughts via characters born from her own creative thoughts on 9 connected canvases. This is only a


The Big Picture aims to demolish boundaries and give the artists the freedom to express their interpretation of this message in a simple method, freeing it from art politics, galleries’ profitable guidelines or fame-driven market, while emphasizing the importance of it via large pieces. It was an exhibition that did not limit the artists with the commercial factors rather allowed them to concentrate on art for art’s sake.

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