Four exhibitions to discover this fall in the Middle East

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The art world in the region is buzzing with emerging and established artists, galleries, and exhibitions, and it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of them. As the summer comes to a close, there isn’t a shortage of art galleries and exhibitions to visit. Here are some of our picks for exhibitions to look out for in the region, ranging from ancient to contemporary art.


Words/Hadi Afif


1) Picasso et La Famille – Lebanon


On view at the Sursock Museum from 27 September 2019 until 6 January 2020. This exhibition is organized with the exceptional support of the Musée national Picasso-Paris in the framework of “Picasso-Méditerranée.”

With the generous contribution of Danièle Edgar de Picciotto and the support of Cyril Karaoglan & with the support of the Ministry of Culture.

Picasso et la famille explores Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) relationship to the notion of the family nucleus, encompassing everything from motherhood to children’s games, from the representation of conceptual intimacy to the numerous experiences of a fatherhood spent under the spotlight. Bringing together drawings, etchings, paintings, and sculptures, the exhibition spans seventy-seven years of creation, from 1895 to 1972, through a selection of works marking notable moments in the artist’s long emotional and family life, whose variety of forms illustrates the constant reinvention of his artistic vocabulary. For Picasso, the word “family” evokes, first and foremost, its Spanish meaning of a restricted, intimate and discreet circle, and a fertile source of inspiration for developing themes such as the love of femininity, the image of the couple, the mysteries of childhood, the simple pleasure of sharing, and the solemnity of private moments. Yet the family is also a means to explore even more universal themes such as the cruelty of war and the passing of time, and to reflect on the history of art and its motifs. Through this lens, the oeuvre of the Spanish master appears in a particular light, independent of periods and styles, rather evoking an immediacy of creation.

Picasso-Méditerranée, an initiative from Musée national Picasso-Paris

“Picasso-Méditerranée” is an international cultural event which is held from Spring 2017 to Spring 2019. Over sixty cultural institutions have come together to conjure up a programme around the work “obstinément méditerranéenne” of Pablo Picasso. Initiated by the Musée national Picasso-Paris, this journey into the creation of the artist and across the places which inspired him, aims at strengthening ties between all the shores.


Picasso Pablo (dit), Ruiz Picasso Pablo (1881-1973). Paris, musÈe national Picasso – Paris. MP1990-36.


2) Zamakan ­– Saudi Arabia


Currently on display in Dhahran at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, Zamakan showcases the work of 11 Saudi-Arabian artists. A fusion of two Arabic words, zaman (time) and makan (place), Zamakan seeks to explore the notions of time and space, and how the two influence people’s understanding of culture and history.

The exhibition seeks to highlight the highly subjective nature of reality, to provide different moments in time and space in a contemporary context that showcase the highly personal nature of understanding the world. The exhibition is curated by Candida Pestana and will run until October 26, 2019.



3) Monir Shahrody Farmanfarmaian: Sunrise, Sunset – United Arab Emirates


Sunrise, Sunset is an exhibition of works by the late Iranian artist Monir Shahrody Farmanfarmaian. Considered one of the most important Iranian artists of her time, Farmanfarmaian’s career spans over six decades. Born in Qazvin, Iran in 1924, she moved to New York in 1945 to study art and fashion, a life event which would influence her work after her return to her homeland in 1957. Eventually exiled to New York after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, she was able to return in 2004.

The exhibition will showcase artworks which explore the combination of “Persian techniques and Western abstraction”, as described by the Sharjah Art Foundation website. More than seventy works will be displayed, including paintings, sculptures, and jewellery. The exhibition will run from October 12 until December 28, 2019.



4) 10,000 Years of Luxury – United Arab Emirates


Set to be exhibited in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, 10,000 Years explores the way in which people have consumed luxury goods since ancient civilizations, highlighting how different time periods transformed and reinterpreted our understanding of the luxurious.

With our broader understanding of luxury today, amidst contemporary concerns around sustainable development and mass consumption, the exhibition seeks to evaluate what luxury means in the present time. 10,000 Years of Luxury is curated by Olivier Gabet and will run from October 30, 2019 until February 18, 2020.