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Narratives from the Middle East

  • BBA Gallery Köpenicker Straße 96 10179 Berlin Germany (map)

22.02. - 22.03.2019


  • Mariam Abbas (UAE)
  • Fadi Attoura (Syria)
  • Houssam Ballan (Syria)
  • Majd Kurdieh (Syria)
  • Omar Najjar (Palestine)


  • Fann A Porter Gallery

Fann A Porter Gallery from Dubai presents emerging artists who were selected for their ability to capture human experiences and to offer a tangibility to the idiosyncrasies of life. Their works convey themes of love, friendship, hope, tragedy and family life through referencing observations of their surrounding realities in styles ranging from Op Art to Fantastic Art to Realism on paper and on canvas.

Narratives from the Middle East is a group exhibition that allows the real stories of the wide and varied region to shine through. So often pigeon-holed into stereotypes that are limiting, this selection of artists was chosen for their ability to shed light on the lesser known narratives.

Through unparalleled use of the humble pencil, Mariam Abbas draws every day urban scenes from her native Dubai, quite literally providing a window into the unseen aspects of daily life and also documenting the older parts of the city, which are under constant threat from urbanisation. From Syria, Fadi Attoura’s light, playful and bright work is quite the opposite to the view many people have of art from this war-torn nation and Majd Kurdieh masterfully uses childlike and innocent imagery to lift the spirits of his audience, whilst still responding to the crisis. Both these artists manage to show positivity in spite of the darkness cast across the region by conflict. Through the expressive eyes of his subjects, Houssam Ballan’s paintings capture the daily life of Syrians but his figures are emotive rather than realistic and thus capture the nature of memory and perception. Palestinian Omar Najjar uses broad brush strokes in his paintings, leading to a bold, expressionist style. His colour-filled and abstracted works reflect a kind of structured chaos with subjects ranging from personal experience as well as events and histories that others can relate to.

Together these narratives combine to show just one side of the richly nuanced story that constitutes the lives and experiences of those living in the Middle East. They also underline the importance of the traits that make us all human and lead to cultural connections and exchange no matter the nationality of the artist or the audience.

Fann A Porter is a contemporary art gallery based at The Workshop Dubai that represents a diverse selection of emerging international and regional artists. The gallery aims to nurture the burgeoning and dynamic contemporary art scene through quality exhibitions, non-profit events, auctions, and an active community program.

The exhibition is part of the Cultural Exchange Project between BBA Gallery and Fann A Porter Gallery, which is sponsored by Lufthansa and supported by the AHK German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce.


Earlier Event: February 5
Poetics of Change I
Later Event: April 27
BBA Artist Prize 2019