Gallery Girl meets Hayv Kahraman, Vincent Cy Chen, Raphael Khouri and Rose Issa

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been on the road for the past month, holidaying in Beirut and running workshops at Darat Al Funun in Amman. And, while my adventures have been a huge amount of fun, it’s been a little difficult to keep up to date with writing exhibition reviews. In the meanwhile however, I have had a number of pieces published in other publications, highlights of which you can read here!

Hayv Hayv Kahraman, “Not Quite Human 1” (2019), oil on linen, 60 1/4 x 90 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches (all images courtesy of the artist)

For Hyperallergic, I spoke to Hayv Kahraman about her new body of work on show at Jack Shainman in New York. We spoke about how her new paintings – of women in contorted positions – compel her audience to acknowledge the potential pleasure of viewing pain.


Photograph by Bettina Frenzel

For My.Kali I interviewed Raphael Khouri about her play She He Me. We talked about the importance of addressing sexuality and issues of LGBT identity in the Arab world, and theatre’s potential role in contributing to the understanding of the issue. The piece is also readable in Arabic.


Rose Issa by Sueraya Shaheen

Meanwhile, the day before I left on my mega-trip, I sat down with curator and publisher Rose Issa for Hyperallergic to speak about her new exhibition at the Middle East Institute Gallery in Washington, as well as her career, the shifting infrastructure for artists in the MENA region, and the need to archive. Accompanied by this stunning portrait from Sueraya Shaheen.



And, finally, for Honey Pump I wrote about the queer utopian work of Vincent CY Chen, who explores the tension between shame and desire in the exotic. The gallery will be showing his work at Satellite Art Show between 3 and 6 October.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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