Al Noor Mosque

Have you ever had the urge to go back to a place where you’ve left unfinished business?

Inspiration called me this morning to head up to Sharjah, to finally put an end to what seemed to be my obsession since last Friday night.  The Friday, when for the first time, I managed to get myself into a taxi and said:

“To Sharjah!”

“Where exactly, Ms.?”  Asked the driver.

“I don’t know…drive me in that direction till I say stop.”  “Please.”  Smile.

That warm evening while on Corniche Street, I noticed Al Noor mosque with the most amazing sunset kissing its roof good-bye for the night.   The white walls were stained orange and I knew that’d be only for a brief moment.  I cried out:  “this is my stop, thanks!”

Al Noor mosque

I knew then, I’ve made a big mistake for leaving my watercolors at home….till this morning.

I found myself again, sitting on the spot where I had admired the beauty of this structure.  Looking for shade, I sat on a bench.  I was in the place I wanted to be.  I was once again outdoors, fascinated by the many wonders of the place I now call home.

 

Getting ready to sketch

 

The end result of my study….

 

Al Noor mosque

And the final touch….

 

Artist signature

Alserkal Avenue

If you have ever thought people exaggerate when they say:  “life in Dubai is exciting,” they’re not lying!!!  I wake up everyday hungry to start my day.  Everyday brings another opportunity to either meet interesting people (from all over the world), or learn something new, be it something about the city, or just life in general.

Today was a day to have a small taste of the art scene here in Dubai.  My neighbor (and a friend I feel I’ve known all my life) and her friend (a new friend I also feel I’ve known for ages!) invited me to come to Alserkal Avenue.

Alserkal Avenue is a cluster of warehouses that over the years have been converted into art galleries, art studios and other creative shops.  Alserkal Avenue oozes creativity, culture, knowledge…emotions!  It is not wonder why this place has evolved into being an interesting art hub in the city.

Overwhelmed and tired, I have come home to write about my favorite pieces.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Tony Cragg in Leila Heller gallery:

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Tony Cragg

Safwan Dahoul in Ayyam gallery:

Angelica Dass and her project Humanae…which goes beyond skin tones.  It touches the very core of human existence, who we are and how we define ourselves.

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And since today is valentine’s day, I thought I would include a love story piece.  Unfortunately I cannot recall the name of this photographer.

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And last but not least..

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A memory captured on a piece of art:  priceless!

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Working…

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And us, the art lovers : )

The Locarno Film Festival has arrived once again!!!

It is hard not to get lost in the enthusiam of the Locarno Film Festival when one sees the making of the tents in “La rotonda,” the village at the round about of Locarno.  One can hear shouts, laughs, the sound of hard work despite the heat and the baking sun.  I love it; the town is once again, alive!

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“La rotonda,” the village of the film festival.

 

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“Piazza Grande,” the big open cinema!

Things aren’t just happening at the big round-about.  The Locarno film festival also transforms our already beautiful town’s square, the “piazza grande,” into a massive movie theather!!  We see movies under the stars…what more magic can there be?

Well, there is plenty of magic to around, you’d be surprised:  this year’s guide is full of activities prepared by local galleries, museums, and the like.  We, culture enthuthiasts, prepare our own spaces to wow the masses!

I won’t lag behind.  This year, at my studio, I exhibit the work-in-progress of 12 talented Asconese students; hours of manual work dedicated to make a puppet show where the viewer can understand the importance of Ticino in the life of a well known artist in 1900’s:  Marianne Werefkin.

The exhibition consists of 15 puppets, behind the scenes photographs of our fun memories, a short cartoon film, and the opportunity to play with the puppets themselves!

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It is a fun activity for the big, and small in you!  You can find me at my studio in Contrada Maggiore 6, Ascona, from the 8th to the 12th of August, 09:00 – 11:30.  Can’t wait to meet YOU!!!

DUBAI’S INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART AWARD FOR VISUAL ARTISTS

Just a quick and exciting entrance:  I’ve been shortlisted for the 4th International Emerging artists award!!!!

My entrance:  “Between the green leaves.”  A painting depicting the beautiful forests of Val Bavona, Ticino, Switzerland.  However, the painting is not only a representation of the the tall birch trees, but of the summer sunlight and the cool breeze under the big giants.  “Between the green leaves,” is a painting that provokes feelings of comfort and tranquility.  I am so glad it is part of the shortlisted work in this phenomenal competition!

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Anothet Mr. Blok (my own Mr. Blok).

November 30th – the end of the month and the end of many hours of work, sittings, and polishing my little Italian!

This year I chose not to make a case study of a person I know but of one I have only seen in town:  a friendly local chef working a door down the gallery.  His name is not Mr. Blok, neither his first name is Jozef.  Yet, you must wonder why I’ve called this piece “Another Mr. Blok,” and the answer to this question is the story behind this painting.

It was about 4 years ago when I became obsessed with the works of Van Gogh, one of my favorite painters.  I remembered I used to know only his later work:  the starry night, wheat fields, and sunflowers (dead and alive), and his self portraits – the famous Van Gogh’s ear.

Though Van Gogh’s work wasn’t always colorful.  In fact, his early work was gloomy, earthy toned, and on the dark side.  The first transitional – from dark to color- work, is a portrait not many of us know, yet of great significant:  Mr. Blok.  It is a portrait of a black bearded street book seller Van Gogh knew in The Hague.

Jozef Blok *drawing  *5-11-1882  *38.4 x 26.2 cm

It was 3 years ago when I discovered my own Mr. Blok here in Ascona:  a bearded local chef who used to pass by my window on his way to work.  I always wanted to ask him to sit for me but never really had the “nerve”to ask a stranger for such a strange request.  This year I finally did.  I was lucky he didn’t find it unusual to have an artist beg to paint a portrait of his.  He agreed.

“Another Mr. Blok” isn’t a study  of my subject or sitter, but of Van Gogh’s philosophy.  In his eyes, everyone – the postman, the bookseller, the doctor, the prostitute – were of equal value.  With this study, I too stand by this belief.  Not matter where one comes from, what title one holds, what one does…there is always a special story behind a face.

The evolution:

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My own Mr. Blok

It is once again, the time to make my annual portrait.  This year I wanted to make a study of someone whose face automatically transports me, no matter where I may be, to the core of the place I call home:  Ascona.

Without-further-ado, here is the beginning of a few sitting hours so far!

The first sketch.

The first sketch.

Watercolor try number one.

Watercolor try number one.

My new work in Gallerie Schortgen, Luxembourg city.

A further view.

A little girl happily floating on lake Maggiore.

Literally, fresh from the oven, my new work which combines little sculptures with oil painted backgrounds, are pieces many say: “haven’t seen before.”  Like Lydia, from Gallerie Schortgen in Luxembourg city, elegantly puts it:  “the scenery is not extraordinary, but the emotions these pieces steer, are very complex and meaningful.”

A young boy writing on sand.

A young boy writing on sand.

A closer look.

A closer look.

Close up

Close up

My new works are representations of scenarios I have seen in my very own town, Ascona, Switzerland.  They are of kids enjoying themselves on the shores of lake Maggiore; some are playing on the sand, some are writing on the sand, some contemplate life purely by floating on the lake, and looking at the small waves of the water.

Three kids playing on sand and digging a hole in it.

Three kids playing on sand and digging a hole in it.

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A boy sitting on a small port overlooking his reflection.

A boy sitting on a small port overlooking his reflection.

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Top view

Top view

The details.

The details.

Top view

Top view

Joy is where you least expect it…in my work, joy comes from the most simplest scenarios.