Exploring art as a subversive practice amongst contemporary MENA artists at the Guggenheim
It was an uncomfortably hot and typical Brisbane afternoon as I made my way across the concrete courtyard from the Gallery of Modern Art to its big sister, the Queensland Art Gallery. There is something rather exciting about the potential of Middle Eastern art in Australasia, although its relative invisibility has been something problematic; the Asia Pacific Triennial is one of the few large-scale exhibitions in the southern hemisphere featuring artists from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, and Southeast Asia. Entering the gallery, I was still slightly agitated from the humidity, and as I moved forward through the much cooler interior and the sparse, slowly moving crowd, my senses suddenly awakened. It was an unexpectedly frantic space, every single inch of it: the floors, walls, and ceiling were smothered in a full-scale recreation of Rokni Haerizadeh’s studio in Dubai, which he shares with his brother, Ramin, and their friend Hesam Rahmanian. The entire first gallery, in fact, was dedicated to their collaborative installation, All the Rivers Run into the Sea. Over./Copy. Yet, the Sea is not Full. Over.