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Amsterdam Diary: Around Unseen - Part 1

Here's a selection of photos from Unseen. 



Foam Young Talent outdoor exhibition

Rijksmuseum promoting their upcoming exhibition Modern Times - 20th Century Photography

Book Market

Trust the Cloud interactive installation 

Research: The Photograph as a Document panel talk


Sohei Noshino's Amsterdam Diorama

Anima on Photo 

Food at Uneen
There were a lot of food stands compared to last year. This one was my favourite. It served delicious smoked salmon sandwiches. I had one everyday during Unseen. 

I know how she felt. 



Amsterdam Diary: PLAYTIME by Isaac Julien at Ron Mandos 

Image va Ron Mandos

As I was walking along the canals of Amsterdam, I noticed an image inside a gallery that looked familiar, that reminded me of home (above image). It turned out I was outside Isaac Juilen's PLAYTIME exhibition at Ron Mandos


PLAYTIME is set across three cities defined by their relation to capital: Dubai, the new center for wealth in the world; London, a city transformed by the deregulation of banks and Reykjavik, where in 2008 the financial crisis began. All the characters, such as the Artist, the Art Dealer or the Hedge Fund Manager explore their relationship with the global financial crisis and the role of contemporary art in it.

The characters are based on real individuals whom Julien interviewed and researched extensively,  including renowned actors James Franco, Maggie Cheung, Mercedes Cabral, Colin Salmon, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson and world-famous auctioneer Simon de Pury, as himself. 


The video installation is just over 60 minutes. I was quite moved with the Dubai chapter, mostly because it captured the emotional isolation many feel in this city.

These are some images I took from the screening room. 



Here's the trailer and below it is a short interview with Isaac Julien talking about PLAYTIME. 




Amsterdam Diary - Foam Magazine Talent Launch


Today at Unseen, I attended a panel talk with the photographers featured in Foam Magazine Talent 2014 issue. It includes the Doha based duo Christto and Andrew whom I met earlier this year at Art Dubai. It was good to hear the artists present their work and the concept behind it. If you can, do get this issue, it includes some good essays too. 

The launch of Foam Magazine’s Talent issue will begin with a brief introduction by photography museum Foam’s Deputy Director for Artistic Affairs, Marcel Feil. This will be followed by a round table discussion with the Foam Magazine Talents 2014 moderated by Marcel Feil and professor and writer Jörg Colberg.

Foam Magazine Talents include:
Otto Kaan, Julien Gremaud, Charles-henry Bédué, Alice Quaresma, Jan Rosseel, Daniel Everett, Nerhol, Harry Griffin, Hannah Whitaker, Andrey Bogush, Jonny Briggs, Christto & Andrew and Sarah Schönfeld. 

Jörg Colberg
Dr. Jörg M. Colberg was born in Germany in 1968. He studied physics/astrophysics at the universities of Bonn and Munich and moved to the US in early 2000. Jörg is the founder and editor of the blog 'Conscientious', one of the most widely read and popular blogs dedicated to contemporary fine art photography. He is a faculty member of the international low-residency MFA program at the University of Hartford Art School (US). His writings have appeared in international magazines, and he has contributed introductory essays to monographs by various photographers.


Charles-Henry Bédué 


Alice Quaresma 

Hannah Whitaker


Eva O'Leary and Harry Griffin 


Christto and Andrew


My signed copy of Foam Magazine #39 Talent issue.


Amsterdam Diary: An art high at Stedelijk Museum

Stedelijk Museum

From the Stedelijk shop


Today I was high on art. I spent the afternoon at the Stedelijk Museum and if I was man, the statement on the bag in the above photo would've been me.

I spent my time in two exhibitions, Bad Thoughts - Collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders Bad Thoughts and On the Move: Storytelling in Contemporary Photography and Graphic Design

Below is a very small selection of what I saw. I will try to write about these exhibitions in more detail when I'm back in Dubai. 


Bad Thoughts - Collection Martijn and Jeannette Sanders

The Sanders Collection is one of the most important private collections in the Netherlands and contains a diverse array of several hundred paintings, sculptures, assemblages, photos, drawings, text-based artworks, films, videos, and installations by over 350 mostly European and American artists.

The title of the exhibition, BAD THOUGHTS, is derived from a photo work by Gilbert & George. It’s a light-hearted comment on the adventure of private art collecting, as well as the interest in the darker side of the human psyche, evident in many of the works in the Sanders Collection.


Thomas Demand - Diving Tower (1994)

Bill Beckley - Rising Sun, Falling Coconut (1978)

David Claerbout - Shadow Piece (2005)
Cindy Sherman 

Georg Baselitz - Bog Pond (1976)

Georg Baselitz - Crouching Nude (1977)

Ger Van Elk - Wall's Ice Cream (1979) 

Gilbert and George - Bad Thoughts (1975)

Bill Beckley - First Sexual Intercourse Piece (1975)
Armando - The Unknown Soldier (1979) 



On the Move: Storytelling in Contemporary Photography and Graphic Design 

On the Move focuses on recent developments in photography and reveals the myriad ways in which artists and photographers build their narratives in dialogue with graphic designers. The title On the Move refers to the journeys taken by many of the photographers in creating their projects, as well as the new directions in photography.


Ringel Goslinga - Circling Around to Sang

Samira Ben Laloua, Frank Bruggeman, Erbst van der Hoeven - Club Donny

Martine Stig - Cauchy Horizons
Martine Stig - Cauchy Horizons

Nadine Stijns - A Nation Outside A Nation
Nadine Stijns - A Nation Outside A Nation
Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos - The Language of Revolution Index
Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen - The Sochi Project
Thomas Kuijpers - #IDIDNTJOIN  
Rune Pietersen - Safe Distance 


All photos © Hind Mezaina. 


In Amsterdam Diary: A visit to Foam

JH Engström

Today I visited Foam to see their latest exhibition. I fell in love with Close Surrounding by JH Engström and will be writing more about him and his work when I get a chance after this trip. 

Under Construction - New Positions in American Photography is a group show. I was drawn to some of the work (Matt Lipps and Owen Kydd), and some I need read about to understand the work more. Again, will write about this exhibition in more details when I get a chance.

For now, here are some photos I took from the exhibitions.



Close Surrounding by JH Engström 

Engström divides his time between Paris, France and his birthplace in Värmland, Sweden. The manoeuvring between the slow pace of country life and the stimulating energy of the city is essential in Engström's life. This is reflected in his pure and authentic photographs and in the exhibition at Foam. The exhibition includes unique, previously unseen collages. The books that Engström has published are another important element of the exhibition.

JH Engström's photographs - which always reflect his engagement with his surroundings - reveal the loneliness and absurdity of the human condition. Engström uses his camera and its artistic possibilities to communicate in a meaningful and direct way with the viewer. He also shares his doubts about whether it is possible to truly understand what life is about. He explores various photographic genres such as the self-portrait, landscape, the snapshot and aerial photography. (via Foam)


Under Construction - New Positions in American Photography

Matt Lipps
Jessica Eaton

Owen Kydd

Foam presents 'Under Construction - New Positions in American Photography', a group exhibition featuring the work of nine young American and Canadian artists: Sara VanDerBeek, Lucas Blalock, Joshua Citarella, Jessica Eaton, Daniel Gordon, Owen Kydd, Matt Lipps, Matthew Porter and Kate Steciw. Even though the results of the artists' individual artistic practices are very diverse, the mentality, methodology and presentation of their work show a number of remarkable similarities.

A key characteristic is the investigative attitude they adopt to the photographic image and its representation. All of the participating artists are explicitly engaged in a fundamental reassessment of the value and significance of photography in the early 21st century. The far-reaching digitisation of society exerts an unparalleled influence on almost every aspect of the medium. This ranges from completely new photographic techniques (digitisation of the equipment) and the use of the photographic image (distribution via digital networks) to the value and significance of photography itself (in view of the never-ending stream of many millions of photographic images that are being taken, distributed and manipulated every day).  

(via Foam)



In Amsterdam Diary: Canals, Museumplein, Failed Architecture and Pathé Tuschinski

I walked around the caanal area today and spotted "Love Me" in a quiet corner. Beautiful and sad at the same time. 

Later in the day, I headed to Museumplein to visit the Failed Architecture office (I wrote about them a few months ago). They have a fantastic view of Museumplein (one of my favourite spots in Amsterdam), on the right side is Rijksmuseum and on the left is Stedelijk) 


Mosaic bench at Mueseumplein. 


"I am Amsterdam" sign that is ALWAYS covered with tourists. 


At night I went to the gorgeous Pathé Tuschinski to watch Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of last few films. I wasn't very convinced with the German accents, but I did like the film and Seymour Hoffman was very good in it. That final scene... 

Image via

All photos © Hind Mezaina except where stated.


Back in Amsterdam

I'm in Amsterdam for a couple of weeks. Will try to blog about whilst I'm here. I might not have enough time to write, so expect a photo diary with short updates and I will report in more details when I'm back in Dubai.

All photos © Hind Mezaina


Al Ghurair Centre's Public Art Commission


Al Ghurair Centre, one of the first malls in Dubai, is inviting artists to submit proposals for a public art programme. In a city where art is mainly found in art galleries, it's great to see there's a private organisation trying to encourage public art. 

The long term intention of the Public Art Commission is to promote and support the work of UAE based artists in public spaces in Dubai, whilst enhancing our local spaces whilst energising our local, unused spaces to capitalise on social interaction.


All artists based in the United Arab Emirates can apply to this, as long as it's a new and original idea. Full details of the application rules can be found here

Five winners will be selected to have their work incorporated into Al Ghurair Centre's permanent collection.

Additionally, 10 shortlisted artists will receive mentorship sessions with panel of jurors. And one select artist will be sent on an all-expenses paid mentorship programme to the UK with Cedar Lewinhson.


There are no submission fees for this. Deadline is Friday, 10th October 2014. You can download the submission form here



European Film Screenings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

There is a mini European film festival coming up hosted by the Italian Embassy and the European Delegation to the UAE.

The first edition of the European Film Screenings will take place in Abu Dhabi from 18th-24th September in VOX Cinemas in Marina Mall and in Dubai from 19th-25th September in VOX Cinemas in Mercato Mall. 

There will be films from Italy, Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czeck Republic, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden and Austria. Each screening will be preceded with a short film from the United Arab Emirates. All screenings are free of charge and seats are allocated on a first come/first serve basis.

On Saturday, 20th September at 3pm at VOX Cinemas in Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, there will a panel panel discussion on film co-productions with a panel featuring representatives of the European film industry and Emirati film directors. 

Below is the list of films and screening schedule in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. You can download the detailed schedule here

Go early, grab a seat and enjoy the movies. Make sure you don't miss The Great Beauty, my favourite film from last year.

The Great Beauty  

Abu Dhabi - Thursday, 18th September at 8pm
Dubai - Friday, 19th September at 8pm

The Ice Dragon 

Abu Dhabi - Friday, 19th September at 6pm
Dubai - Saturday, 20th September at 6pm 


Paris Je T'aime 

Abu Dhabi - Friday, 19th September at 8pm
Dubai - Saturday, 20th September at 8pm 



Abu Dhabi - Saturday, 20th September at 6pm
Dubai - Sunday, 21st September at 6pm  


Abu Dhabi - Friday, 19th September at 8pm
Dubai - Saturday, 20th September at 8pm  

A Morte de Carlos Gardel 

Abu Dhabi - Sunday, 21st September at 6pm
Dubai - Monday, 22nd September at 6pm  

Der Stille Berg 
Abu Dhabi - Sunday, 21st September at 8pm
Dubai - Monday, 22nd September at 8pm  


Abu Dhabi - Monday, 22nd September at 6pm
Dubai - Tuesday, 23rd September at 6pm   


Walesa: Man of Hope 

Abu Dhabi - Monday, 22nd September at 8pm
Dubai - Tuesday, 23rd September at 8pm   


London: The Modern Babylon 

Abu Dhabi - Tuesday, 23rd September at 6pm
Dubai - Wednesday, 24th September at 6pm   


Carmina or Blow Up 

Abu Dhabi - Tuesday, 23rd September at 8pm
Dubai - Wednesday, 24th September at 8pm  

Blind Spot 

Abu Dhabi - Wednesday, 24th September at 6pm
Dubai - Thursday, 25th September at 6pm   


Goodbye Lenin

Abu Dhabi - Wednesday, 24th September at 8pm
Dubai - Thursday, 25th September at 8pm    


Photo diary from Unseen Photo Fair 2013 and Amsterdam

Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam is a photography fair focused on undiscovered photography talent and unseen work by established photographers. I attended last year for the first time and planning to attend the thrid edition which will take place next week, 18th-21st September. 

Described as a "fair with a festival flair", it is quite an enjoyable and relaxed art fair compared to the ones I've attended. It's held in a park, and includes outdoor exhibitions, talks, book market and of

I did notice some work that has very much been seen over the past few years, like Richard Mosse's photos from Congo shot on infrared film. So I do hope the upcoming edition will stick to really showing 'unseen' work.

Here's a video showing highlights from last year and below it are photos I took from the fair that I never had a chance to share with you here. I've also added photos I took of Amsterdam, a beautiul city that I am looking forward to visiting again. 

Around Unseen

Outdoor exhibition of Foam Talent 2013 winners 

Galleries at Unseen

Unseen Book Market (my favourite part of the fair)


Unseen Living Room where informal talks and screenings were held here. We even had an impromptu talk with Martin Parr on the second day of the festival which was quite entertaining. A summary of that talk can be found here

JR's Inside Out project, you can read more about it here.


Self Publish Be Happy Totem and Taboo, a site-specific installation Totem made of materials found at the fair to create a makeshift sculpture turned into a temporary studio where visitors of the fair were photographed. 

Why I Love This Book, an independent website that features 1-minute book review videos. The recording too place inside this van. You can see some of the reviews here.

Around Amsterdam 

I went as soon as it opened so I could enjoy looking at Rembrandt's Night Watch without fighting my way through a crowd. I was so pleased when I walked the room had space to walk in and admire the painting up close (image below).


Stadsarchief (Amsterdam City Archives), I love this building. 

Around the city 


Around the canals of Amsterdam