Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar
Art & PhotographyThe Arts

Gulf Artists’ Collective Celebrates Positive Unity

A bright city rising swiftly as the sun and a firm handshake of peace beside a crystalline lake are two of the auspicious emblems created by nine Gulf artists to celebrate the positive impact of cooperation. Working together, often via the net, these artists are emissaries of a cleanly luminous aesthetic that transcends history, class, and other social frictions.

Their collective—consisting of Nanu Al-Hamad, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Aziz Al Qatami, Barrak Alzaid, Amal Khalaf, Fatima and Monira Al Qadiri, Sophia Al Maria and Khalid Al Gharaballi–was established at Art Dubai 2013, and has dedicated itself to spreading its vision and approbation of positive thinking and unity, as embodied in Gulf culture.

Named the GCC in honor of its founding principle of cooperation, its installations combine photography, video, and plastic arts into deft microcosms of harmony, embodying its stated mission: “to effect collaboration, transformation, and inter-connection between Artists in all fields in order to achieve unity between them”.

While the imagery is often simple—a traditional tea-drinking ceremony, for example—it reflects on the deep, reality-altering power of collective optimism. And by adopting indigenous symbols into their productions, the artists highlight the locality of their vision, even as it meets worldwide acclaim, from Switzerland to Beijing and New York.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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