Ali Acerol – March 2017

Ali Acerol, who was born in Bursa, Turkey in 1948 and died in Los Angeles in 2007, became a kind of legend in the Southern California art world for his stunning maps of countries and continents, his invented and satiric postage stamps, and his brick furniture— as well as for being stubborn, impossible, and brilliant!

This first posthumous exhibition of works is drawn primarily from the collection of Richard Hertz, author of two influential works on the local art scene: Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia and The Beat and the Buzz: Inside the LA Art World.   The show includes Acerol’s magnificent eight by twelve-foot World Map that has not been seen in public for over thirty years.

The World Map, covered with sign language that names the countries and cities, was originally Acerol’s MFA thesis project.  Like all his works, it does not speak in simple terms.   As critic Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe wrote, Ali’s art is about parallel meanings and mutual incomprehension — “lots of little hands where there should be words, a symbolic code unfamiliar to most…”

Ali arrived in California in 1975 after seven years in Paris and enrolled at Cal Arts, then in its fifth year of existence.  Soon he became close friends with such well-known artists as John Baldessari and Michael Asher, the godfathers of the art program, along with many colleagues such as Diane Buckler, Dana Duff, Mike Kelley, Laura Lasworth, Stephen Prina, and Christopher Williams.

In the late 1970s, Acerol and his then wife, Klobie, hosted a salon in an industrial live/work space on Euclid Avenue in Santa Monica which became a legendary hangout for the Los Angeles art world.  He is survived by his ex-wife and two daughters.

Michael Nelson – October 2014

The Exhibition: Mother Egypt / Golden Nubia the World of the Nile from the Mediterranean to the Sahara is an exhibition of stunning photographs by award-winning news photographer Michael Nelson.  These images of life, art, and architecture along the great river document both the rich and varied ancient cultural and the modern Islamic heritage of two countries / regions which have lived in a symbiotic relationship for millennial.  Of unique interest are Nelson’s photos of the special art created by Nubian women, who as brides are expected to decorate the front of their new homes.

The Photographer: an international photojournalist who has spent more than 30 years shuttling between the Middle East and the United States, Michael Nelson started his career with UPI in Beirut, Lebanon in 1981 and has been posted in Beirut, Brussels, Cairo, and Los Angeles.   Among the stories Mr. Nelson has covered are the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf Wars, the Palestinian Intifada, the Israeli Invasions of Lebanon, and famines in Ethiopia and Darfur as well as US presidential campaigns, the World Cup, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and the World Series, and the Oscars.

Malika Sqalli – June 2013

The Project: Latitude 34 is a visual project that grows out of Moroccan-born photographer Malika Sqalli’s first encounter with Los Angeles in 2010. Despite vast differences from her home town, Rabat, LA seemed familiar. Learning that both cities are on the 34th parallel North, she was seized by the idea of photographing along this imaginary demarcation line around the globe in order to share what she could learn about the similarities and difference in human cultures.

The Exhibition: To date Sqalli has shot images in Morocco, the US (Georgia, Los Angeles), Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and China (Xian). She has begun a parallel project along the 34th South, visiting Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

The Places: Along with landscapes and cityscapes, Sqalli has created especially for Sharq a series of works in which photos are overlaid with a mosaic screen pattern called “Masharabiya” in Arabic. This kind of screen is part of Moroccan tradition and widespread throughout the Middle East. It acts as a way of filtering culture, history, and experience.

The Artist: Malika Sqalli attended the Ecoles de Beaux Arts in Montpelier, France. Her photos have been exhibited in Morocco, several European countries, and Korea. Parts of Latitude 34 were shown last year in both Rabat and Atlanta, Georgia.

Youth Art Express – December 2012

YOUTH ART EXPRESS 2012 showcases the works of a new generation of visual artists whose roots lie in the culture of South Asia. Working in a variety of styles and media, they explore the contemporary realities of South Asia, America, and our globalized world.

Three Artists / Many Worlds – April 2012

Ashen Ovsepjan was born in Armenia and emigrated to Germany where she taught, worked, and exhibited as a designer, photographer, and artist before coming to Los Angeles. A world traveler, her mixed media works begin with the captured images of her memory, using sources such as photos and mixing them with other artistic media. This technique, she likes to say, mirrors the different cultures in which shes grown up and the many different languages she speaks.

Khalid Hussein was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in both the Middle East and the US, and received a BA in Fine Art and MA in Islamic Studies from UCLA. He works in a variety of media, focusing on representations of race, identity, history and violence. His paintings, exhibited in art galleries and cultural centers in California, imitate the cities of the ancient world, superimposing multiple images, styles, and cultural referents, collapsing barriers between past and present, east and west.

Noah Haytin was born in the Bay Area and earned his MFA from California State University at Long Beach. He won a Fulbright grant to Morocco, has traveled and exhibited internationally, and now splits his time between Marrakech and California. Interested in the fluid nature of identity, he creates collages in what he calls a menagerie of lost and found imagery from traditional drawing and painting and the digital domain, juxtaposing the modern and the ancient.

Peter Bussian – September 2011

Peter Bussian is a photographer and filmmaker who has spent much of the last 25 years documenting refugees and other international development issues. He has worked in more than twenty countries and has been commissioned by aid organizations such as the UN, The International Rescue Committee, CARE, Action Contre La Faim and many others. His photographs have appeared in media outlets including the New York Times, Paris-Match, the Oprah Winfrey Show and Foreign Assistance in Focus, a photography book. He has received several awards of his work from the International Photography Awards (Lucies) and Interaction.  Bussian also frequently works as a media advisor to international organizations such as the UN, NGOs and foreign governments. He received a BA in philosophy from the University of Colorado and studied film at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, NM.

Peter Bussian first went to Afghanistan in May, 2001 when the Taliban gave him permission to “show the world the real Afghanistan.” Over the past ten years, he has gone there every year to document the incredible resilience of the Afghan people, who have known nothing but war for thirty years. The photographs in this exhibition were taken in most provinces of Afghanistan as well as in the border region of Pakistan over this ten year period. Currently, he is developing a feature film project set in Afghanistan.

Albert Friedman – October 2009

When Albert B. Friedman, longtime professor at Harvard and then the Claremont Graduate School, died in November of 2006, The New York Times hailed him as one of the foremost folklorists of his time.  Friedman was also an accomplished artist who worked reclusively over a period of twenty years to develop a unique style of painting, one that merges the free-form of abstraction with the purposeful order of a template or grid.  Sharq is honored and pleased to be the first gallery to exhibit these stunningly colorful works, many of them quietly animated by Far Eastern imagery.

Women in Diaspora – Doris Bittar

May 2008

Doris Bittar’s series “Stripes and Stars” represents the American flag, the most profusely patterned flag in the world, as it encounters the most profusely patterned cultures in the world, those from Islamic lands as seen in matrix, floral, or calligraphic designs. September 11 created in her not only a deep sense of morning and loss, but a feeling that American and Arabic cultures were jarringly merged within her. Bitar’s loyalty, alienation, and anger began to emerge as symbols and patterns layered in her mind. The resulting works embody a dichotomy that is both oppositional and ambiguous, one that seeks an alternate reality or narrative without the use of figuration. “Stripes and Stars” marries seemingly oppositional icons to probe intertwined concepts of loyalty, identity, nationalism, and power.

Doris was born in Baghdad of Lebanese and Palestinian parents who immigrated to the United States when she was a child. She received an MFA from UC San Diego, and has exhibited her work in numerous shows across the United States and in Italy. She is active in Jewish-Palestinian dialogue groups and has written for such publications as Al Jadid. She is a lecturer at UC San Diego and has taught at the American University in Beirut.

Women in Diaspora – Lidia Shadow

May 2008

Lidia Shadow is influenced by Islamic, Indian, and Western abstract art. Her canvases undergo many changes, manipulations and layers until finally the elements settle into harmony much like the Eastern and Western cultures in which she grew up. She works intuitively from memory and imagination, and thrives on the unknown and spontaneity. Her recent paintings are inspired by the drive to her studio in Santa Monica through Topanga Canyon and along Pacific Coast Highway. The heavy textured mountains, plants, flowers and weeds attract her attention, creating magical scenes that inspire her to experiment with textures and lines.

LIDIA was born in Israel to a Tunisian mother and an Iraqi father, and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. She trained as an illustrator and designer, and earned a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Her works have been exhibited widely in Southern California and most recently at Pomegranate gallery in New York.

Women in Diaspora – Nuha Sinno

May 2008

Nuha Sinno is taken by the notion of the Arabic language as art. Her work pays tribute to her love of the language and for the rich legacy of beauty and elegance that is the Arabic alphabet. Her paintings consist of intricate lines and colors that coalesce into abstract renditions of Arabic words and their meanings. She feels that these rich constructions reflect and speak of her life as an Arab woman.

Nuha was born in Beirut and graduated in 1980 from the Lebanese University of fine Arts in Beirut. She worked in Lebanon as an interior designer until she immigrated to the United States in 1984. Her art work has been shown in a number group shows in Lebanon and the United States.

Tal Yizrael – May 2007

Bubblescapes an exhibition of evocative altered photograpic landscapes in which the artist examines the boundaries of art and photography. She has constructed micro-realities that can be interpreted as alternative landscapes.

Susan Moss – July 2006

Peace Pieces, evolved out of “War and Peace” Series.  These sunfilled, color drenched, works are based in tranquility, meditation, influenced by sun, freeways, atmosphere, plants, speed and rest. They celebrate color, love, joy of existence with only hints of a darker time.

Rudick Ovsepyan – June 2005

Passionate Abstractions: Yerevan, Berlin, Los Angeles, Rudick Ovsepyan’s mixed media canvases are contemporary works in which he clips words, phrases and pictures to mix into the richly layered oil surfaces. The result are mysterious yet compelling works, in which meaning is as fragmented as is our contemporary world.

Kamran Moojedi – March 2005

The Fire Next Time consists of photography, sketches, and text that combine ancient and modern philosophies, cultural emotions, ands ideas from both East and West, mixing together tangible and virtual realities, data and information, pigment and pixels. What results are unique mixed-media works – many-leveled, startlingly bold and evocative prints produced in very small editions.

Tahir Fatah – October 2004

Tahir Consciousness and his art have been shaped by his Kurdish identity.  He sees his work as related to the struggle of the Kurdish people in their search for liberty and freedom.  His paintings involve an attempt to use the imagery of nature as metaphor for his own feelings and thought processes.