Cuadro Gallery presents three distinct solo shows featuring new experimental work by Ammar Al Attar, Nasir Nasrallah, and Zeinab Al Hashemi — Emirati artists from the younger generation who came of age as the country rapidly advanced and the contemporary art scene developed into the cosmopolitan hub it is considered today. These artists’ distinct practices are linked in their grounding in the United Arab Emirates’ urban landscape.
Ammar Al Attar returns to Cuadro Gallery with an investigative series of self-portraits centered around the act of prayer in Islam and the underlying explanations for each micro-movement of the ritual. This is both a continuation and a plot twist on Al Attar’s previous series ‘Prayer Rooms’, in which he captured empty prayer spaces—fromportamosques, to shopping mall and corporate prayer rooms, to makeshift outdoor areas—taking great care to document the aesthetics and purpose of the spaces rather than the forms of the attending worshippers. Here the act of prayer is isolated, compartmentalized, dissected, and celebrated, as Al Attar presents a project nearly two years in the making.
Nasir Nasrallah grew up in the heart of Sharjah tinkering with spare parts in his grandfather’s antiquities shop in the local souk. His ‘Stores’ series revisits the souk lines in a rigid monochrome palette which compels the viewer to pause and consider the private life of each object that unfolds in the shadows once the customers have gone home and the shop lights have been shut off for the night. The curious influence of Nasrallah’s engineering degree is evident in his ink drawings, which have a mechanical, blueprint-like quality to them—hinting that the artist is also a half-wild industrialist capable of bringing his inventions to life.
Zeinab Al Hashemi further engages with the physical geography of the UAE with new works from her ongoing ‘Urban Phantasmagoria’ series, in which she manipulates satellite images of the UAE to create digital kaleidoscopic tapestries. While all her previous projects have involved collaborations with skilled makers, Al Hashemi served as both labourer and artist as she conceived her new concrete maps—pouring sand-based concrete onto canvas, then imprinting the wet surface with natural objects taken from some of the very environments she has manipulated from above with her digital photography.