FIRST EXHIBITION CURATED BY NEW MANAGEMENT Ridha Moumni, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Middle East & North Africa Meagan Kelly Horsman, Managing Director, Christie’s Middle East

From mirrored disco balls to painted diptychs, Christie’s Middle East is hosting a diverse ‘first look’ at some of the contemporary highlights of its forthcoming Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art auctions, on show at Christie’s DIFC from 16 to 24 September 2022.  At the same time, visitors can experience pieces from Robert Devereux’s Sina Jina Collection, underscoring the growing regional interest in African art. Christie’s will hold its online sale of Contemporary Middle Eastern Art, from 12 October to 3 November as well as a live auction for Modern Middle Eastern Art on 2 November in London, supported by exhibitions and programming.  The auctions present iconic pieces from the Arab World and Iran, including masterpieces of Mohammed Melehi, Monir Farmanfarmaian and Etel Adnan.  The auctions also present a more contemporary focus, including both emerging and established artists from the region such as Ali Cherri, Dana Awartani, Ahmed Mater, and YZ Kami.  “Creating and expanding a global platform for the appreciation and sale of artworks from the Middle East has been a key objective for Christie’s since 2005, and we are bringing some stellar sale highlights to the region.  The opportunity to appreciate these works in person and discuss collecting trends with our specialists are among the benefits of Christie’s presence in the market,” said Dr. Ridha Moumni, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Middle East & North Africa

Collectors have the opportunity to see Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s reverse glass mosaic Mirror Ball from the 1970s, examples of which were included in the artist’s 2015 retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York, and one of which was a gift from the artist to her dear friend Andy Warhol.Estimate: GBP £60,000-80,000

Continuing the themes of light and art as a reflection of society, a lightbox by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Mater entitled Evolution of Man (2010) will illuminate the Christie’s showroom, echoing the country’s rapid growth since the discovery of oil.Estimate: GBP £25,000-30,000

The late Palestinian painter and art historian Kamal Boullata’s painting Angelus II-1 (2017) demonstrates his command of colourful geometric abstraction, honed through years of study at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC.Estimate: GBP £25,000-35,000 Also among Christie’s sales highlights in Dubai is Iraqi contemporary artist Hayv Kahraman’s The Interpreter (2016), uniting Asian and European influences, drawing inspiration from many feminist ideologies, and exploring the concept of women burdened by their own culture.(ill. Front page). Estimate: GBP £50,000-70,000 Included in Christie’s online Contemporary Middle Eastern Art sale is Hollyland (2019) by Palestinian artist Hazem Harb, which layers acrylic lettering spelling out ‘Hollyland’ in Hollywood’s ubiquitous squared lettering over an archival photograph of Jerusalem. Estimate: GBP £25,000-35,000 

Follwing the Christie’s collaboration with Gallery 1957 in December 2021 to showcase African art in the UAE, Christie’s Dubai will exhibit works from Robert Devereux’s Sina Jina Collection. The 70-work auction on 13 October in London is anticipated to be the largest single owner sale of contemporary art from Africa and the diaspora as demand continues to expand. Robert Devereux has supported the arts and artists since the 1980’s and began acquiring works for his Sina Jina Collection in the early 2000’s. Taking its name from Swahili, ‘sina jina’ translates as a place with no name, a phrase associated with Devereux’s house on the island of Lamu, Kenya.  

Among the African works being shown is Ibrahim El-Salahi’s The Tree (2003 / above left), an abstract geometric composition, part of a series referencing the native Haraz tree. Born in Sudan in 1930, El-Salahi is one of the most important living African artists and a central figure in the development of African Modernism; his exhibition The Milk of Dreams is currently on view in the Arsenale at the 59th Venice Biennale. Estimate: GBP 20,000-30,000 Christie’s Dubai will also showcase Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso’s The Chief: The One Who Sold Africa To The Colonists (1997 / above right), number five from an edition of eight.  Another work from the edition is in the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.  Estimate: GBP 15,000-20,000

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