In a new exhibition for Foundry, artist Hashel Al Lamki explores the surreality that has shaped everyday life over the last year. A multidisciplinary artist from the Emirates and self-described visual thinker Hashel Al Lamki has found his artistic practice to be a blessing, particularly during the pandemic. Port Authority is a painted essay divided into 2 chapters where Al Lamki reflected on his time in New York (2007 – 2013) at the onset of the pandemic. Through his landscapes, he explored the romantic idea of living in a city and escaping to the countryside; “We all need to escape,” he explained in an interview with Nadine Khalil, “We all need to find a space where we feel safe – what better place than nature.” Through this work, Al Lamki explores love, pain and fear, reimagined in natural and human-made forms. His compositions depict the unhinged momentum of natural forces, channeling them into gestural brushstrokes and unexpected hues. These intense backdrops exist in contrast to fragile flora and haunting architectural structures that dominate the foreground. Al Lamki captures the repetition of everyday life through stacked amazon boxes, U-Haul trucks and stacked goods at a supermarket. Compelled by his current circumstances, the artist processes his experience visually, initiating a painterly conversation with the viewer and reflection of our times.
Born in the UAE, Al Lamki relocated to New York in 2007, completing a BFA at Parsons New School for Design. After seven years in New York City, he spent another year between Amsterdam and Taos, New Mexico before returning to the Emirates. These cities had a lasting impact on the artist, which remains visually apparent in his work today. Upon returning to Abu Dhabi, in 2017 he completed the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship. Following the fellowship, he joined forces together with fellow artists and launched Bait 15, an artist-run gallery space that provides a home for local artists to engage in critical dialogue. Bait 15 lends to Al Lamki’s collaborative and community-driven spirit where he thrives in dialogue with fellow visual thinkers.