GALLERY ISABELLE VAN DEN EYNDE Alserkal Avenue
Domestic Affairs is a real pleasure – a quiet, intimate, affectionate show based on the domesticity of everyday life exemplified by textiles, the human body, and those essential objects that make a home and home and a life a life. There’s a hint of gender politics, perhaps inescapable when domestic life is so closely associated with women, but there’s more being said about what tradition and nostalgia, private and public faces, and even what we mean by ‘comfortable’.
Emirati Khalid Al Banna is probably the most abstract thinker on view, arranging patterned cloth in circular formations to reminisces about lost traditions and values.
Aisha Khalid’s Comforter is a contrast, a vibrantly-coloured but comfortable-looking quilt/bed/blanket/rug hovering above the floor.
The three Iranian artists here, Nargess Hashemi, Zahra Imani and Sara Rahmanian, have gone for what feels like an overtly more feminine take. Strong, very personal naturalistic acrylics from Rahmanian; drawings of everyday life in intimate detail by Hashemi; larrge-scale and often heavily ornamented pieces from Imani that combine textile and paint.
Domestic Affairs is a genuinely personal show, both because there’s a strong sense of the artists’ own feelings and attitudes and because it’s so easy for the viewer to relate to them. Somewhere here there will be something that touches you, that triggers a memory or sparks a warm glow of recognition. One of the most enjoyable shows we’ve seen this year.