CITIES UNDER QUARANTINE - THE MAILBOX PROJECT


Project conceived and curated by Abed Al Kadiri



Conceived and Curated by Abed Al Kadiri
Produced by Dongola Limited Editions
Project Manager Laetitia El Hakim
Artist’s books designed by: Reza Abedini

16 November 2022 - 22 January 2023
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM daily
Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Ain

Participating artists:





Majd Abdel Hamid, Youssef Abdelke, Reza Abedini, Dia Al-Azzawi, Khalid Albaih, Bashar al Hroub, Lulwa Al Humood, Abed Al Kadiri, Mohamed Al Shammarey, Mounira Al Solh, Walid Al Wawi, Heba Amin, Said Baalbaki, Dalia Baasiri, Khaled Barakeh, Serwan Baran, Dia Batal, Taysir Batniji, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Ali Cherri, Ziad Dalloul, Christiana De Marchi, Fatima El Hajj, Tanya Habjouka, Dina Haddadin, Gilbert Hage, Samia Halabi, Hazem Harb, Mohamed Joha, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Hiba Kalache, Mohammad Kazem, Ammar Khamash, Khaled Khreis, Ghada Khunji, Issam Kourbaj, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Ahmad Mater, Kevork Mourad, Leila Muraywid, Moataz Nasr, Mahmoud Obaidi, Mohammad Omar Khalil, Sadek Rahim, Nizar Sabour, Faisal Samra, Mona Saudi, AbdulRahim Sharif, Laila Shawa, Tarlan Tabar, Hoda Tawakol, Mary Tuma, Nazar Yahya, Raed Yassin, Fadi Yazigi, Shawki Youssef, Camille Zakharia, and Hani Zurob.



March 2020, ushered a time of confinement, and the world stood still. Life was suspended in an indefinite pause. Like a held breath, lockdown and isolation forced us all into a state of anxiety, uncertainty, and withdrawal. We had no choice other than solitude. Airline companies were shutting down, airports were closing, borders tightening, offices shifting to homes, cultural events and exhibitions on massive scales all postponed and cancelled in an eerie empty silence.

It was at this moment that Lebanese artist Abed Al Kadiri came across John Baldessari’s quote: “It is difficult to put a painting in the mailbox.” It got him thinking, we could not move, but books could. After a month “Cities under quarantine: The mailbox project” was alive. It seemed to have a momentum of its own, shining as a beacon of light in this long dark tunnel, like a friendly hand extended to mend distances.

In April 2020, handmade and hand stitched blank books, created in-house at Dongola designed with each individual artist in mind by Reza Abedini, were posted to 57 Middle Eastern artists scattered in 19 cities around the world. Artists were asked to use the pages in the books to create work that speculate on our present in order to think collectively along the same lines.

Life and death, certainty and uncertainty, safety and exposure, serenity and anger... all the polarities that had become definitive to our mid-pandemic state were palpable in the artists book making.

Cities under Quarantine: The Mailbox project, was conceived as a direct and immediate response to the recent universal pause and collective panic. The project attempts to link artists from different cities investigating the global impact of recent events and finding a common ground to express and explore this moment in history.

This project leans into the tangibility and interactivity of an artists’ book, making the exhibition an emphasizes on the notion of creating a personal and intimate hand-held artwork that can be viewed outside gallery walls.

The viewer will walk through an extraordinary visual journey expanding through different disciplines and modes of expression. Each artist has completed his book in a critical moment in time either by leaning into their already established practice, or by adapting into new ways of thinking and creating appropriate to the state they were in.

2020 couldn’t be limited to following up on pandemic daily numbers of cases and death, there were other stories to be told. In the midst of the apocalypse, artists were still weaving narratives that portray their emotional and psychological states despite their interactions with the world outside of their studio spaces...

“Cities Under Quarantine: The Mailbox Project” is a letter of friendship, life, and art, in the face of distance and death.

Artists

Mohammad Omar Khalil

Mohammad Omar Khalil

Artist

Mohammad Omar Khalil

Artist

Ali Cherri

Ali Cherri

Artist

Ali Cherri

Artist

Samia Halabi

Samia Halabi

Artist

Samia Halabi

Artist

Nadia Kaabi Linke

Nadia Kaabi Linke

Artist

Nadia Kaabi Linke

Artist

Mohammad Kazem

Mohammad Kazem

Artist

Mohammad Kazem

Artist

Dia Al Azzawi

Dia Al Azzawi

Artist

Dia Al Azzawi

Artist