May - June 2019
Whose East is it Anyway? came about through a rethinking of our place in the world. Every region has its own North-South divide, its East and its West. Such markers function as compasses but are always relative to where you are standing. We set out to look at different drafts on the idea of the East. 19th century Orientalism with the Soundwalk collective’s musical interpretation at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Kamrooz Aram’s deconstructive take on the arabesque motif at Green Art Gallery. Soraya Sharghi’s anime-like paintings at Leila Heller Gallery and rapper Yasiin Bey’s unique collaboration with The Third Line at Art Basel Hong Kong. While the UAE is always our point of departure, Stephanie Bailey’s conversation-starter on China’s cultural repositioning provides much food for thought. We explore the less visible transcultural histories in exclusive interviews with artists from India, Vietnam, Singapore and the Phillipines and we also find examples at the Sharjah Biennial 14, at Sharjah Art Foundation, Jameel Arts Centre and Osage Art Foundation. We posit another cartographic arrangement, where the Global South takes an expanded view, dismantling the notion of singular identities as we hold our ground.