Convergence Insufficiency @ Sharjah Biennale & Art Dubai

Few events gather such an overwhelming mix of peripatetic (pathetic in my case) people than the double whammy Khaleeji combo of Art Dubai & Sharjah Biennale (Wish you was there in 2013!).

There were certainly highlights but it was hard to focus on them. And somehow despite my post to ‘cover’ events, I managed to not ‘capture’ any of it.

Instead I ended up with the following seemingly random images on my Blackberry, some of which were part of Malak Helmy’s Artist’s Tour involving the Dust around the edges of @artdubai.

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I barely toddled out of the week and washed up at the edges of Abu Dhabi Saturday evening as cross-eyed as a Siamese cat having retained almost nothing from either fair but a vague sense that the periphery was being centralized and that now is a really good time to be an Arab artist.

The uncommon Suheir Hammad very kindly treated me to a banana and make-shift macchiato before going to perform at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair.

There I found this tome which I have reason to believe there will be a blog post about in future.

While at that booth i made a good accidental joke, wanna hear it?


So the aging Sufi dandy who sold it to me (poshy, English,wingtips, tarboosh: classic) was recommending literature to a young American convert (whispy beard, translucent skin, short thobe: classic) who kept meekly referring to the salesman as ‘Haj’ and kneeling nearby so as not to sit above him. I found the whole scene utterly charming as I loomed nearby in my leather jacket and abaya rifling through the Karen Armstrong section.

After about ten minutes the young convert headed for the Saudi book Pavillion and ‘Haj’ took my selections (The Fearful Void, Grasp of Faith and others) to calculate the cost.
He exchanged them from the penciled in 6 GBP to 35 AED so fast he was like a calculator.

I was impressed and so told him so,
“You are really excellent at conversion.”

He got it before I did though neither of us could tell if I’d even made the joke.

Anyway, Hahah.

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