Maraya Art Centre is pleased to welcome their new resident artists Samir Salahov from YARAT Contemporary Art Organisation, Baku, Azerbaijan and Sujin Lee from Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, South Korea. Artists will spend their time in Sharjah to carry out research, build relationships in the region, develop new art works and take part in SIKKA Art Fair 2015.
Sujin Lee is very interested in Sharjah as a city that is still strongly anchored in traditional Arab culture despite having gone through a rapid process of urbanization which has changed the social, economic and cultural situation across the Gulf region. She is fascinated by how Sharjah’s traditional culture and urban space has remained consistent amidst a rapidly changing environment. She is also interested in the interaction between the city and the desert and the UAE’s cultural heritage of a nomadic Bedouin lifestyle and its ethos of hospitality to travellers. Lee works in photography, sculpture installation and video and will create a new installation work during her time at Maraya.
Lee has created a site-specific installation Mystic is at all times nearby in a ground floor room in House 16 in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood as part of SIKKA Art Fair. This work is part of her exploration of the local environment using psychological and emotional perception. She has filled the room with a desert landscape of spices, originating from the home countries of UAE residents. She has taken inspiration from the night sky, indigenous cultural practices and beliefs, and construction sites she has encountered during her residency.
Samir Salahov works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, street art, installation, digital art and illustration. During his residency he is keen to try out new artistic techniques and experiment with new media. He has carried out research into local urbanisation, particularly looking for parallels between the old and new, in both architecture and lifestyle and exploring the cultural impact of oil wealth and globalisation. He is working on several print and mural projects during his time at Maraya, inspired by his experience of living in the UAE.
The two artists are in the region during an exciting time with the opening of the Sharjah Biennial, as well as Accented at Maraya Art Centre and the launch of 1971, Maraya’s new design space on The Flag Island alongside Art Dubai, Dubai Design Days Sikka Art Fair, Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Festival.
Maraya Art Centre’s residency programme is designed to support the development of emerging and mid career contemporary artists and designers. Located in Sharjah, a dynamic arts and cultural hub, Maraya provides a stimulating creative working environment in the Gulf. The aim of the residency is to create an immersive experience and offer a multi-faceted programme of research and networking opportunities with curators and fellow artists and designers in Sharjah and the neighbouring cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The structure of the programme is open ended and geared towards functioning as an extended studio practice with a focus on enriching the artists’ and designers’ existing practices.
As part of a reciprocal, ongoing relationship, Maraya Art Centre will be sending UAE-based artists to YARAT in Baku and Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture for residencies later this year.