EAST - EAST vol 2: UAE meets Japan

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To mark the occasion of their opening, CHI-KA hosts 'EAST-EAST vol 2: UAE meets Japan'; an exhibition that explores the ways young voices of the Emirati art scene choose to regard cross-cultural contact with the arts of Japan.  The exhibition aims to draw parallels between Japanese and Emirati culture as both traditional societies strive to keep a balance between heritage and futurism in our contemporary world. East-East vol 2: UAE meets Japan also intends to challenge and expand the idea of what “global art” means to artists, curators, and viewers alike in our increasingly globalized world. With an opening reception on November 13th 2016, East-East vol 2: UAE meets Japan showcases specially commissioned works by 4 Emirati artists including the names of Khalid Mezaina and Al Anood Al Obaidly, both recent recipient of the prestigious The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship.

Bridging the UAE to Japan seems like a bold move but as curator Sophie Mayuko Arni explains: “I wanted to break the overused and overheard ‘East-West’ terminology by turning it on its head. Why always look to the West, when we can look Eastwards? I hope for East-East to align with recent initiatives aiming to develop new models of global contemporary art making and exhibition practices.”

The 4 artists featured for the exhibition are: Khalid Mezaina, Al Anood al Obaidly, Amna al Maamari, Ahmed al Anzi.

Works on show explore the similarity in both countries’ fine balance between rooted tradition and expanding modernity. Themes as Nōh and Bedouin mythology, spirituality and repetition, weaving and knotting, Zen Buddhism and the desert’s connection to materiality, traditional and ceremonial dress, will be contrasted to overwhelming consumption typified by plastic materials in such chain stores as Daiso. The exhibition as such combines the artist's established styles with Japanese stylistic elements in a contemporary socially-aware context. Four years ahead of Dubai and Tokyo hosting the internationally acclaimed Expo and Olympics respectively, the occasion seems fitting to celebrate these two cultures together.