Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Juror at AUD for Students' Final Year Projects

So last night I was invited to be one of the guest jurors for the Fine Arts students final year portfolio presentations. What an honour to be asked to start with but also slightly daunting to put your own personal judgements on the work of these students who all obviously have a lot of talent.

What I also didn't realise until I got there was that our (the jurors) comments and marks would go towards the students final marks. No pressure then.

There were 7 students in the fine art category, 2 of whom were specialising in photography. All the students work was pretty diverse and all obviously had talent but there were a couple who I felt that in addition to having the talent they also had the vision, imagination and inspiration to be hugely creative in what they did. Obviously I don't want to name names on here but I was particularly impressed with one student who had some amazing varies and creative ideas and I'm sure could make it any day as a professional artist if that is what they chose to do.

So, all credit to AUD for producing some great students but in the end for me it comes down to a combination of talent, nurturing, innovation and creativity that makes a great artist.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Petition for the release of Artist Ai Weiwei


Please sign the petition above to support the call for the release of artist Ai Weiwei from China, who was detained at Beijing airport on his way to Hong Kong on April 3rd 2011.

Ai Weiwei is, among his many achievements, the creator of the sunflower seed installation at the Tate Modern which took workers 5 years to create under his guidance.

Mesopotamia Exhibition at Art Abu Dhabi

So last night I went to the Mesopotamia exhibition at Art Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island. It was the first time I had been to Saadiyat and although I had been to Yas Island before, this was much further down the road and it struck me as being right in the middle of nowhere. There are going to be 145,000 people living on Saadiyat eventually but at the moment I doubt there are more than 145!

Anyway, the Arts Abu Dhabi building is fully functional and a light and airy space - a perfect museum space really with a quality restaurant and facilities. They have a workshop room where they are doing some free demos (most already fully booked unfortunately but that is what happens when something is free and interesting!). There was also a large auditorium where the talk was held that I went to listen to last night.

The Mesopotamian exhibition was definitely worth a visit - it was amazing to see the carvings from around 5000 years ago and the first primitive writings. My favourite pieces were the cylindrical ceramic carvings that, when you rolled them into clay, produced beautiful relief pictures in fine detail.

Last night was a lecture by Dr Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, on the World's Oldest Writing. We actually saw Dr Finkel outside the Arts Centre before we went in to look at the exhibits and even though we had no idea what he looked like there was no mistaking this had to be him! (long white hair and beard with glasses!). Anyway, what could have been a very dry subject was one of the most brilliantly entertaining talks I had heard in a while. Dr Finkel was obviously hugely enthusiastic about his subject as he himself said, he could have gone on for 7 hours about it! Interspersing an amazing knowledge learnt over decades with stories of finds and realisations, the talk was a huge success.

If you get a chance to visit the exhibition and listen to any of the talks or take part in the workshops then I highly recommend it.