2014 Alwan for the Arts Auction and Exhibition Set for Shirin Gallery, 6/26

2014 Alwan for the Arts Auction and Exhibition Set for Shirin Gallery, 6/26

Alwan for the Arts, the premier organization promoting the contemporary arts and cultures of the Middle East in the United States, is pleased to present the 2014 Alwan Art Auction. The exhibition and reception will take place on Thursday, June 26, 2014, from 5 pm to 9 pm at Shirin Gallery, located at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, New York, New York, 10001. Alwan has partnered with online auction house Paddle8 to allow a global collecting community to participate in this benefit auction. The Paddle8 Benefit Auction will be live for bidding from Monday, June 16 to Monday, June 30 at paddle8.com/auctions/alwan.

The 2014 Alwan for the Arts Auction will feature artwork by over 30 world-renowned and emerging Middle Eastern artists, providing an opportunity for established and new collectors to acquire works, while supporting the mission of Alwan for the Arts.

Artists featured in the auction include:
SAMIRA ABBASSY, JAISHRI ABICHANDANI, ETEL ADNAN, ALI AHMAD SA'ID (ADONIS), AMINA AHMED, MOUNIRA AL SOLH, DIANA AL-HADID, SAMA ALSHAIBI, HAIG ALVAZIAN, AMBREEN BUTT, ALI CHERRI, RUBY CHISHTI, ALI CHITSAZ, LINDA CUMMINGS, ROYA FARASSAT, MARIAM GHANI, SERGE HAMAD, MAHMOUD HAMADANI, AIDA IZADPANAH, PAYAM MOFIDI, NAEEM MOHAIEMEN, KEVORK MOURAD, DENISE NASSAR, FARIDEH SAKHAEIFAR, SADRA SHAHAB, NEGIN SHARIFZADEH, KAMRAN TAHERIMOGHADDAM, KATHERINE TOUKHY, KATAYOUN VAZIRI, SHADI YOUSEFIAN, and more...

"There were two central organizing principles for the work selected for the auction. First, a majority of the artists are from the Middle East or its Diaspora," says Negin Sharifzadeh, curator of the auction. "Some have lived outside of their native country for many decades, while others are much newer to navigating the creation of art in a new cultural context."

The works by the artists selected for the 2014 Alwan Art Auction embody the essential between-ness of being in the Diaspora, or even being in exile at home. Their work wrestles with universal themes, avoiding the obsessive recreation of native themes. Yet their roots still imbue their works, in ways both subtle and obvious.

"I have also chosen to include two video works in the show. It is a medium still under-represented within shows of artists from the region," Sharifzadeh says. "I am hoping to help integrate this no longer new medium into the context of the art gallery and as work to be collected, either as video editions or prints made from the work."

"The art included in this auction means to be politically engaged," says Ahmed Issawi, Artistic Director of Alwan for the Arts, citing the work of Marwan Rechmaoui, a Palestinian artist residing in Lebanon, who will be featured in an exhibit at the New Museum in July, 2014. "Artists Ali Cherri, Mounira Al Solh, and Maya Chami, also Lebanon-based, share the same sentiment, in their own ways, of trying to work out norms, habits, and ways of communication in a society that is plagued by perpetual conflict and instability."

Issawi continues: "Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo, Syria, and her architectural work is layered with discrete civilizational references. It is as if to replicate the city of her birth, now engulfed in ruins of many past histories and civilizations, artifacts, and present conflicts. Al-Hadid's work is at once constructed and transparent but has an imaginary or "dream-like" quality. As such, it embodies material labor and a sense of weightlessness. In her sculptures, panels, and drawings there are always a room for the ghost to walk in and breathe, whereas Mahmoud Hamadani, from Iran, uses simple lines and traces in a perpetual search for form."

The Shirin Gallery NY is located at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, New York, NY 10001. Call 212 242 4684 for more information.

About Alwan for the Arts: Alwan for the Arts (Alwan) is a creative space, presenting Middle Eastern arts and culture with a contemporary flair, and commissioning new works that investigate art and cultural identity by providing artists, filmmakers, writers, and cultural practitioners a forum for their creative projects, while actively promoting cross-artistic and cross-cultural collaboration. Alwan casts a critical eye on current events and trends in arts and culture related to the Arab world, the Middle East, and the Arab/Middle Eastern Diaspora, and engages the American arts scene by challenging its assumptions about the Arabs, the Middle East, the profound arts and culture of these peoples and this region, and their representation.

Since 1998, Alwan has played a leading role in the promotion of the diverse cultures of the Middle East, continually expanding its programming to include concerts, film festivals, dance performances, academic talks, poetry readings, panel discussions, theatrical performances, visual arts exhibits, as well as educational offerings in language, dance, and music. Alwan has grown into a cultural and aesthetic hub, curating and producing up to one hundred events each year, with the mission of building a diverse community around the arts that encourages engagement, participation, and dialogue from all its members. Today, Alwan has over 7,000 followers and subscribers, and enjoys the support of a wide array of foundations, governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as private and individual donors.

About Paddle8: Paddle8 is an online auction house, connecting buyers and sellers of fine art and collectibles across the Internet. Paddle8 presents curated auctions of art and collectibles, as well as benefit auctions in collaboration with non-profits. To date, Paddle8 has partnered with over 200 non-profit organizations worldwide to present their benefit auctions online, dramatically expanding the audience of supporters and fundraising results for each sale. Founded in 2011 by Alexander Gilkes, an auctioneer and LVMH veteran, and Aditya Julka, a Harvard Business School MBA and serial entrepreneur, Paddle8 now has offices in New York, L.A., and London. Access Paddle8 auctions anytime at Paddle8.com or through Paddle8's iPhone app, available for free in the App Store.

The 2014 Alwan Art Auction exhibition and reception will take place on Thursday, June 26, 2014, from 5 pm to 9 pm at Shirin Gallery, located at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, New York, New York, 10001. The Paddle8 Benefit Auction will be live for bidding from Monday, June 16 to Monday, June 30 at paddle8.com/auctions/alwan. For more information about Alwan for the Arts, visit alwanforthearts.org.

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