Mandy El-Sayegh: A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

Mandy El-Sayegh: A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

Lawrie Shabibi

February 23, 2024
Mandy El-Sayegh
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
February 22–April 4, 2024
Talisman: February 27, 8:30–9pm, performance with Chelsea Gordon and Sami El-Enany, in collaboration with Sima Performing Arts
Lawrie Shabibi
Unit 21, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, UAE
Hours: Monday–Saturday 10am–6pm

T +971 4 346 9906
Instagram / Artsy

Curated by Sara Raza. In collaboration with sound artist Sami El-Enany and movement artist Chelsea Gordon.

Lawrie Shabibi proudly presents A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, Mandy El-Sayegh’s inaugural solo exhibition in Dubai. A combination of painting, installation, video, sound, and performance, El-Sayegh’s innovative approach to visual storytelling embodies the rebellious spirit of punk’s DIY visual culture. El-Sayegh rebels against and liberates images and text from centralised commodification structures, exploring a fusion of various actions, creating an immersive audio-visual experience that weaves together ancestral, familial, and collective visual data from diverse sources such as ephemera, textiles, literature, newspapers, and printed materials.

El-Sayegh transforms the gallery space by layering painted surfaces using sheets from international newspapers of varying colours. Stretched canvases and unfinished paintings, rich with intricate patterns, symbolic references, and collages, further populate the white walls. The exhibition borrows from ancient and modern poetry and the title of the show is borrowed from a line in Gertrude Stein’s Sacred Emily (1913), which reflects on the practices of daily life, through the repetition of words and the reclamation of language, actions, events, and objects.

As part of the project, sound artist Sami El-Enany has been commissioned to craft a spatialised, multi-channel sound work in response to the themes explored in El-Sayegh’s art. This work centres around the concept of the square as a site for liberation and resistance, drawing inspiration from historical and recent political movements. El-Enany has also created a new score for a performance piece co-created by El-Sayegh and movement artist Chelsea Gordon. The performance draws from diverse prayer rituals, incorporating hypnotic rhythms and motions to evoke trance-like states.

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose showcases Mandy El-Sayegh’s unique bricolage approach, connecting disparate visual cultural knowledge to create new meanings. The exhibition is an exploration of resistance, reclamation, and the intersection of visual and auditory narratives. To complement the exhibition, curator Sara Raza has contributed an insightful essay that provides a deeper understanding of the artist’s work and the thematic threads running through the exhibition.

About the artist 
Mandy El-Sayegh (b. 1985, British-Malaysian, of Palestinian origin) has a highly process-driven practice which is  rooted in an exploration of material and language. Executed in a wide range of media, including densely layered paintings, sculpture, installation, diagrams, and sound and video, El-Sayegh’s work investigates the formation and break-down of systems of order, be they bodily, linguistic, or political. She is particularly interested in exploring the Part-Whole relationship–how something significant yet unpremeditated emerges and comes into being through various smaller, micro-interactions or repetitions. She physically demonstrates this by collaging disparate fragments, text, and found imagery, and layering them with materials like latex, rubber, and clay that mimic organic matter. Through simple, repetitive patterns such as a hand-painted grid or geometric molds, formal and narrative synthesis occurs that is not consciously intended or anticipated.

About the gallery
Lawrie Shabibi is a contemporary art gallery housed in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. The gallery supports the long-term development of the careers of young international contemporary artists with a focus on those from the Middle East and North Africa. The gallery also organises art historical exhibitions working with an older generation of artists from the region. Liaising with curators, institutions, museums and collectors the gallery has successfully introduced international artists to the region whilst at the same time presenting Middle Eastern artists to the international contemporary art community. By holding a regular programme of exhibitions, screenings and talks, publishing catalogues and participating in international art fairs, Lawrie Shabibi has been a forerunner in the development of the contemporary art scene in Dubai.

Press inquiries: Margarita Poroshina, margarita [​at​] / Other inquiries: info [​at​]

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Lawrie Shabibi
February 23, 2024

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