07 January 2019

Exhibition to Consider the Notion of the “Comfort Zone”

The exhibition, titled “Comfort Zone I (Home)” featuring works by Basma Alsharif, Khalid al Gharaballi and Setareh Shahbazi, will consider the notion of the comfort zone as a place or rather a state of mind, in which things feel familiar and consoling but also as a form of escapism

The Gallery at VCUarts Qatar will host an exhibition titled “Comfort Zone I (Home)”. It will consider the notion of the comfort zone as a place or rather a state of mind, in which things feel familiar and consoling but also as a form of escapism - an (imaginary) place to which people want to retreat from the often-overwhelming reality of their everyday lives.

A panel discussion with the artists and curator will take place at the University’s Atrium at 6pm, before the opening reception at the Gallery on Jan 16, at 7pm. The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Bahaa Abudaya, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Fire Station Artist in Residence in Doha. it will run until Feb 23. 

Both events will be free and open to the public. No prior registration is necessary.

The exhibition aims to highlight the ambivalent relationship people have with comfort, domesticity and privacy. It will shed light on the need for rootedness and belonging as a form of refuge; the banality of comfort but also the escapist idealism that is attached to it and that might lead to isolation, stagnation and loss of agency.

“Comfort Zone I (Home)” brings together the works of Basma Alsharif, Khalid al Gharaballi and Setareh Shahbazi, artists with various artistic backgrounds such as photography, painting and video. “As a child, there wasn’t a single place I could call home,” Alsharif said in an interview with Projectorhead magazine, adding, “In my experience, people build their identities around where they’ve come from or what they are connected, or disconnected to.”

Basma Alsharif is an artist/filmmaker who was born in Kuwait of Palestinian origin, and raised between France, the US and the Gaza Strip. She works between cinema and installation, centering on the human condition in relation to shifting geopolitical landscapes and natural environments.

Khalid al Gharaballi is a Kuwaiti artist who is based in Kuwait City. After first establishing an artistic collaboration with fellow Kuwaiti artist and musician Fatima Al Qadiri based in New York City, he relocated to Kuwait City in 2012 to help co-found the artist collective GCC. His solo work centers on documenting the urban and domestic landscapes of his native Kuwait.

Setareh Shahbazi is an Iranian artist who is based in Berlin. Her solo shows were held at Tarahane Azad, Tehran; Gypsum Gallery, Cairo; 98weeks Project Space, Beirut; Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara; Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg; Montgomery, Berlin and at Karlsruher Kunstverein.

The exhibition has been curated by Daniel Berndt, whose writing has appeared in Ibraaz, Springerin, Aperture and Frieze, amongst other publications. His book, “Wiederholung als Widerstand?” (Repetition as Resistance?), on the artistic (re-)contextualization of historical photographs in relation to the history of Palestine (analyzing works by Akram Zaatari, Lamia Joreige, Walid Raad, Emily Jacir and Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh), was published in 2018 by Transcript.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Bahaa Abudaya, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Fire Station Artist in Residence in Doha. Previously visiting professor of Middle Eastern Art History at the Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. He is also an art critic and has published several essays on Middle Eastern art and several short stories. He was Curator of Modern and Contemporary art at Arab Museum of Modern art MATHAF, Doha, and the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris. His main research fields are Palestinian art and Politics, as well as the history of the Arab art movement.

The panel discussion with the artists and curator will take place on Jan 16 at 6pm before the opening reception at the Gallery at 7pm. Both events will be free and open to the public.

Setareh Shahbazi, Spectral Days Series, 2012, c-type print. Image courtesy of the artist and Gypsum Gallery

Khalid al Gharaballi, Screen_, 2016, 80cm x 100cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Sultan Gallery Kuwait.

Dr. Bahaa Abudaya, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Fire Station Artist in Residence in Doha.

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