AMMAN- After spending six weeks in Amman for an art residency, we met up and collaborated with Lizzy Vartanian Collier from Gallery Girl LDN on a couple of cool projects. Lizzy visited the Hangar exhibition at Amman Design Week and wrote up a highlights list for you to check out. Here are her top picks in random order:

Faissal El-Malak:

Faissal El Malak’s installation at The Hangar exhibition

Fashion designer Faissal El-Malak’s installation comprises textile, ceramic and cement, inspired by traditional techniques from Palestinian embroidery. El Malak originally commissioned the designs to be made by Studio Kawakeb in Beirut, which have been re-commissioned as a textile print made by Alexandra Saadi and in ceramic by Xeina Al Malki. The bright pink colour gives it a modern twist, with the composite piece working as an exploration of Levantine space, culture and tradition.

Amman Ya Amman:

Amman Ya Amman exhibition view courtesy of designers.

Designed by Sama El Saket and Nadine Zaza, Amman Ya Amman the narratives of real young people who live in Amman today. The stories recount the lives of everyone from Syrian refugees who can’t afford dental surgery to young women subjected to catcalling on the streets of Amman. The final image is a composite story of all the lives depicted within the series. The detail in the illustrations is beautiful, with each work comprising subtle touches of gold that really life the image. 

Bananatopia:

Exhibition view of Bananatopia as seen at the Hangar

Farida Khaled’s project Bananatopia beautifully maps the city of Cairo using the price and variety of bananas to explore segregation and social differentiation. The banana was chosen as it is consumed by all classes of society, with the price of banana being an indicator to access to food, water, and education. The eye-catching design aspect of the pink-yellow project with its maps and postcards adds a fun element to a project with a serious message about fairness and equality.

Ramses Wissa Wassef Tapestries:

Lizzy in front of the back of a tapestry made by Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center in Giza.

These stunning tapestries were made in Harrania Village, Giza in Egypt. Its founder  was dedicated to teaching young Egyptian villages unique techniques in tapestry weaving, leading to a tradition of production which has now seen the textiles collected by major museums across the world. The colours and the details in the pieces at Amman Design Week are simply stunning. 

Omar Sartawi:

Omar Sartawi’s Ain Al Ghazal as seen at the Hangar exhibition.

Omar Sartawi’s jameed sculpture Ain Al Ghazal recreates the famous ceramic figures found in Ain Al Ghazal area that can also be found in the Louvre. While the originals were made from plaster, Sartawi’s are constructed out of jameed –hard dry laban, used to make mansaf– proving that food can be used as a means to make art. 

Mike V. Derderian:

Comics Section at the Hagar Exhibition courtesy of Mike Derderian

Artist and founder of Fanzeen, Mike V Derderian curated a display celebrating the production of comics in the Arab world. As well as an exhibition of some of the region’s best-loved illustrated magazines, the display also shows off Derderian’s own magazine, as well as his artistic creations.

Abeer Seikaly:

Exhibition view of Meeting Points by Abeer Seikaly at the Hangar

Abeer Seikaly’s Meeting Points took several months to make with women living in the south of Jordan. The monumental structure is constructed using goats’ hair and is a porous self-structuring tapestry developed as a working prototype for a reconfigurable composite material system.

Taghlib Oweis:

Taghlib Oweis’s display at the Hangar exhibition

Taghlib Oweis’s delicate black sculptures look like little stone children, who have been transformed from inanimate objects into living beings. His small characters each have their own mouths and each represents a unique emotion linked to a concept that he likes to call “ossification”– a process in bone remodeling that lays down new bone material. 

Read more from  Lizzy Vartanian Collier.
All images courtesy of artmejo except where indicated in captions.


Lizzy Vartanian Collier
Lizzy Vartanian Collier

Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a writer and curator based in London, specialising in contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been published by Canvas, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Hyperallergic, After Nyne, the Guardian, Ibraaz, Jdeed, EVN Report, Tribe and Suitcase, along with many other publications. Her recent exhibition ‘Perpetual Movement’, which took place during Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) Festival 2018, was featured in Vogue Arabia and the Art Newspaper, and later traveled to the debut Armenia Art Fair. Lizzy is also the founder of the Gallery Girl. You can follow her work on www.gallerygirl.co and on Instagram @gallerygirlldn, as well as on Twitter @lizzycollier

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