A serendipitous encounter with Hassan Sharif in Al Quoz

Picture of mansion of artwork by Hassan Sharif

There’s a dazzling brightness to Dubai that is almost too much to bear – a jammed brilliance that fills every corner of your periphery. An unfettered optimism comes with that brilliance that encouraged us to trek through the blazing heat past cement factories and industrial plants to the art oasis of Al Quoz. A cluster of factories that harbour incredible galleries and creative hangouts.

There we met the brilliant Barrak at Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde who was showing crazy, crazy works that spilled onto the floors and climbed the walls by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, a collaborative trio.

Detail by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian at Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde

Just by coincidence, Yan Chao was there with her assistant Tristan. Yan was crowned with a stunning sculptural hat and a necklace made from Ming Dynasty porcelain.

The wondrous Isabelle whisked us all into cars and drove us to a home of Hassan Sharif, the father of Emirati contemporary art where stunning private works were all around us. A rare, exquisite privilege. It was strange to see art, stored on shelves, obsessively created and filed.

It was reinforcement of the joy and chance of travel, that beautiful connections are borne out of chance encounters and proof that we need to step outside our studios and smell the cement dust.

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