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Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the ninth edition of Abu Dhabi Art, November 8 – 11, 2017, at the Saadiyat Cultural District, booth X1-07. Highlighting formal experimentations in contemporary art, the booth features a trans-regional group of artists who push the boundaries of aesthetics and material possibilities.


For Abu Dhabi Art 2017, Leila Heller Gallery is presenting a diverse selection of works by various artists including Shiva Ahmadi, Ghada Amer, Reza Aramesh, Lalla Essaydi, Jacob Hashimoto, Rashid Rana, Enoc Perez, Marwan Sahmarani Sudarshan Shetty and Dustin Yellin.


Shiva Ahmadi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1975 and currently lives and works in Northern California. Her artworks explore the powerful intersection of religion and politics, examining the corrupt and cancerous link between East and West. She creates fantastical realms, suggestive of her own experiences of the destruction and chaos wrought by war. Her faceless abstract figures inhabit war-ridden territory, and her watercolor paint bloodies the canvas. Ahmadi has worked across a variety of two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, including oil drums, paper, Aquaboard, and most recently video animation. Consistent throughout her pieces are ornate patterns, rendered in vibrant golds and reds and influenced by Persian, Indian and Turkish traditions. She both celebrates and commemorates the raw beauty and turmoil of these cultures’ histories. 


Ghada Amer is a New York-based artist who was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1963. She studied painting at the Villa Arson EPIAR in Nice, where she received her MFA in 1989, and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique in Paris. A multimedia artist, Amer is known for her abstract canvases that combine painting with needlework. Her work frequently addresses issues of femininity, sexuality, postcolonial identities, and Islamic culture. Much of her work deals with issues of gender and sexuality.


Reza Aramesh was born in Iran, and has lived abroad since he was a teenager. He completed an MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths University, London in 1997. Working in photography, sculpture, video and performance, Reza Aramesh's profound understanding of the history of art, film and literature is ever present in his work. Mass media imagery, typically of recent wars and armed conflicts, becomes the source material for a wide range of works, all of which he titles Actions. From reportage images Reza Aramesh singles out individual scenes of violence – journalistic snapshots taken in war zones – then in his artistic process intentionally removes everything but the essence of each image. A constant portrayal of violence in mass media can induce a sense fatigue that leaves us mere voyeurs. And in the curious way that each image of aggression resembles almost any other picture of a aggression, Reza Aramesh's anonymous subjects become actors in his exploration of the mechanism of violence.


Lalla A. Essaydi (b. Morocco, 1956) grew up in Morocco and now lives in the USA where she received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/TUFTS University in May 2003. Her art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the female body, addresses the complex reality of Arab female identity from the unique perspective of personal experience. Her paintings often appropriate Orientalist imagery from the Western painting tradition, thereby inviting viewers to reconsider the Orientalist mythology.  She has worked in numerous media, including painting, video, film, installation, and analog photography.  


Jacob Hashimoto was born in Greeley, Colorado in 1973 and is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Queens, New York. Using sculpture, painting, and installation, Jacob Hashimoto creates complex worlds from a range of modular components: bamboo-and-paper kites, model boats, even Astroturf-covered blocks. His accretive, layered compositions reference video games, virtual environments, and cosmology, while also remaining deeply rooted in art-historical traditions notably, landscape- based abstraction, modernism, and handcraft. Hashimoto has been featured in solo museum exhibitions at MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, MACRO - Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Schauwerk Sindlefingen in Germany, and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Finland. He has also had solo shows at Mary Boone Gallery in New York, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Studio la Città in Verona, Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki and Anglim Gilbert Gallery in San Francisco, among others. His work is in the collections of LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art, EMMA - Saastamoinen Foundation, Schauwerk Sindelfingen, The California Endowment, and numerous other public collections.

Rashid Rana was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1968 where he lives and works. He was trained as a painter at the National College of Arts in Lahore and at the Massachusetts College of Fine Arts in Boston, USA. He is the founding faculty member and current Dean of the School of Visual Arts and Design at the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. Solo exhibitions include My East is Your West; a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). Rana’s splicing and stitching technique feels violent as it tears apart and reassemble photographs of canonical art historical and contemporary imagery. Utilising the grid structure, the artist scrambles the famous compositions and rearranges them into pixelated and codified puzzles. Rana’s Transliteration Series reimagines pre-existing imagery into digital fields of form and colour that he can play with. Rana’s technique of image-making is not simply a formal device: it is an act of subversion that literally breaks apart and puts together the original image that creates a new image telling a different story. The strategy creates intended and unintended pairings whereby pictorial language from a particular time and place in history finds itself reborn and re-examined through the lens of another set of spatial and temporal coordinates.


Born in San Juan in 1967, Enoc Perez first took painting lessons at the age of eight. As the son of an art critic, he spent family vacations traveling to museums in different countries and learning about the history of art. In 1986, Perez moved to New York to study painting at the Pratt Institute before earning his Master's Degree at Hunter College. Perez is best known for his paintings of modernist buildings that nostalgically capture the utopian ambitions and optimism that inspired their construction. Enoc Perez's artwork is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; British Museum, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; New York Public Library; RISD Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University; The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles; Williams College Museum of Art; Queens Museum, among others.


Born in Beirut (1970) and based between Beirut and Spain, Marwan Sahmarani has participated in a variety of Solo and Group Exhibitions in Europe, North America and the Middle East. With strong brushstrokes and vivid colours, Marwan Sahmarani’s practice reflects on the increasing political turmoil and tension felt throughout his native Lebanon. He explores the cyclical patterns of violent history manifesting throughout the Middle East so that what persists in his practice is an expressive exploration of violence – of feeling, bodily motion, nature and its man-made counterpart. The conflict between inner and outer is central, but the real crux of his inquiry is deceivingly simple: how two people can arrive at a point where they attempt to destroy each other. This appetite for destruction spans human history, and it is our failure to transcend this annihilating force that continues to haunt Sahmarani. His works attempt to interrogate this failure, while also endeavoring to explore the raw emotions at the heart of violence.


Born in 1961 in Mangalore, India, Sudarshan Shetty lives and works in Mumbai. Shetty initially trained as a painter, later turning to sculpture and installations which now account for all of his output. A conceptual artist, he is renowned for his enigmatic and often mechanised sculptural installations. His hybrid constructions question the fusion of Indian and Western traditions as well as exploring domestic concerns and the notion of movement. He has exhibited widely in India and more recently he has become increasingly visible on the international stage as an important voice in contemporary art. His work has been exhibited at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka and the Tate Modern, London. The artist has been a resident at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh and was a Ford Foundation Fellow at the New School for General Studies, New York. Shetty’s work is part of many important public collections including the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Devi Art Foundation (Anupam Poddar), India; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan and the FC MoCA (Frank Cohen Museum of Modern Art), Manchester, UK. Shetty lives and works in Mumbai.


Born in Los Angeles, California (1975) and based in New York, Dustin Yellin is as known for his image-rich sculptures as he is for his entrepreneurship, reflected in his contemporary art hub, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, his magazine of artist interviews, Intercourse, and his work in his own studio and running a (now closed) commercial gallery. For Yellin, these projects are interconnected, as his description of Pioneer Works exemplifies: “For me, it's a sculpture. […] It's just like you're working in layers you're seeing through, whether it's layers of glass or layers of people, and eventually all those layers are in harmony and in unison to sort of make something like this possible.” Layers define Yellin’s practice. His sculptures—from large- to small-scale—are composed of thickly layered glass panels, painted or collaged with a riot of images that coalesce into shape-shifting narrative scenes, human figures, or isolated natural forms.


About the Gallery:
Since its establishment over three decades ago in New York, Leila Heller Gallery has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in promoting creative dialogue and exchange between Western artists and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists. It has garnered a reputation for identifying and cultivating the careers of artists leaving a lasting impact on contemporary art and culture. Currently representing a diverse roster of Western and Middle Eastern artists, the gallery is also active in the American, European and Middle Eastern secondary art markets. In November 2015, Leila Heller Gallery opened its first international location in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. At 14,000 square feet, the state of the art gallery features three exhibition spaces, making it the largest gallery in the UAE. Showcasing leading regional and international artists, many of whom will be presenting their work in the Middle East for the first time, the gallery is dedicated to supporting the evolving practice of established artists.



Press Inquiries:
For more information and images, please contact Clemence Cazeau, clemence@leilahellergallery or Katia de Rham,