Gallerist, Superblue founder, and blue-blood British aristocrat Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst recently set herself a unique challenge: curating a show at Claridges’ in London by the sculptor Richard Hudson and his two sons, Richard WM Hudson and Henry Hudson. The twist? They are her partner and his sons. Here, Dent-Brocklehurst and the Hudsons, father and sons, speak to LUX about this unique family affair

Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst with the Hudson Family

Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst:
“The Hudsons are are a close knit family. Talking multiple times a day, they often pick up a conversation started weeks before. Their discussions revolve around visual ideas and practical solutions, each bringing a slightly different angle to the table. Richard WM has an exquisite sense of balance and composition in his photographs and interior design, whilst Henry is more driven by ideas and process. He writes and speaks beautifully about his and others’ work. Richard Sr. corrals and encourages. He is intensely motivated and perfectionist, always pushing everyone forward.

Rich combinations fill Claridge’s ArtSpace, from Henry Hudson’s plasticine-sculpted paintings of dream-like worlds, to Richard Hudson’s psychological interests, to Richard WM Hudson’s ecological inspirations

Selecting the works for the show was easy as the Hudsons’ work is genuinely harmonious. Setting out a rhythm within the space was harder as there were a lot of works and I wanted the artists to have separation as well as collusion. The install was probably the most intense with so many moving parts and a few flared tempers. But really, it’s during this part that some of the magic happens.”

Henry Hudson:
It dawned on me only after the installation that it’s rare to see a family of artists work all exhibited together. In fact, I couldn’t think of one show I have ever seen that displays a father and two sons work together. Family dynamics are at play in all our lives. As a unit we have all naturally found ourselves becoming artists and directly working with our hands.

The Hudson family – Richard, Henry, Richard WM – create an exhibition together for the first time

 

Historically our family have been farmers and land owners and we have a direct connection to the land and nature. It is hard to be objective about the exhibition as I am one of the three parties but I do find myself seeing the roles played out, like sitting in a psychiatrist’s chair, and listening to the responses given by my father and sibling.

Henry Hudson, 2023. Plaster, pigment, glue and beeswax on aluminium board

My father’s work is organic yet firm and sits with a fist on the table. I often see us as dancing around him to fill in the extra space. It feels elemental and planetary in that regard. My brother and I started making work in an intellectual capacity around the same time as my father. He was 42 years old, the age my brother and I are now. We were 12 and 14 – growing into young adults. I, myself, use a wide range of tools, techniques and technology in my practice, from AI to iPad painting, performance art and plasticine, to name a few. My brother found ceramics and coiling pots as well as wood from dead fallen trees. What binds us artistically is earth and earthen materials, all working directly with our hands.

On top of this is a love and understanding of the cycle of life in nature and our complex and sometimes troubling relationships with it. What differentiates us can be both cultural experiences and subject matter, and a yearning to find a slightly different path up to the top of the mountain.

It is hard to articulate what is in essence a daily ritual for us and a language we all use. I sense that the viewer may sense and feel the internal experiences of each individual artist but also the complex psychological aspect of three men, all working in the artistic realm. There is a lot at play, and playful it is, and so it should be.

Richard Hudson:
The opportunity to exhibit with my sons has always been a personal ambition. When this opportunity arose, we collectively turned to Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst to curate. Although our artistic practices have taken different directions, one can see through our farming background, there is a continuity inspired from nature and the use of earthen materials with our hands.

Richard Hudson, Twisted, Polished Mirrored Steel

Richard WM Hudson:
Working with my father and brother to bring our art works together has been rare and interesting. Only seen together in private dwellings, the excitement of seeing our work on mass in such an elegant setting, thanks to Claridge’s ArtSpace, is truly fulfilling.

Richard WM Hudson, Untitled, Carbonised Pine Wood and Ceramic Black Clay

Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst has such a professional approach with the difficult task of sifting through our works to bring a cohesive view into the family of objects. I’m thankful for the push from Katy Wick [of Claridge’s ArtSpace] to bring about such a show. We work in such different ways, but one can see the organic references. We only call upon each other at times for clarity and guidance, when we are lost in the ‘artist block’. I hope this collaboration of exhibition continues into the future.

The Hudsons: Family Ties is running in Claridge’s ArtSpace in Mayfair, London until 2 April. Entrance is free

See more: claridges-artspace

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Reading time: 4 min
big tall building skyline

Has Rosewood’s Sonia Cheng created the best city hotel in the world, with the Rosewood Hong Kong? Darius Sanai revisits, five years after the grand opening

rooftop pool with view

The Asaya Kitchen. The Rosewood is built along the water’s edge in Tsim Sha Tsui, facing the towers of Central Hong Kong.

Standout new hotels in cities are hard to create. If you are building a resort on a tropical island, as long as you have the right hardware – pools, beaches, spa, restaurants and bars, leisure facilities and access – and the right people to operate and sell it, then the right crowd should start flowing in.

The world’s great cities are different. They tend to have existing hotels which are part of the social fabric and history of the city – think of the Pierre or the Carlyle in New York, Claridge’s or the Ritz in London, the Plaza Athenee or Bristol in Paris. Newcomers can’t just win by offering the right suites and chefs. They have to establish their own legend among the locals. And they are hypersensitive to location. Claridge’s wouldn’t be what it is if it had been built 200m north across Oxford Street.

In this context, Hong Kong’s Rosewood had a battle on its hands when it opened in the spring of 2019. It was a new building, part of a broader complex created by one of the city’s big families, the Chengs, on the “wrong” side of the water, in Kowloon. There was no history or legend: despite being from Hong Kong and operating hotels around the world, Rosewood’s owners had never had a Rosewood Hong Kong, One of the city’s landmark properties, the Peninsula, was just down the road.

hotel bedroom with view

A Manor Suite. There is an intellectually-driven curation of design detail throughout the rooms

Just weeks after the lavish launch party, which I attended, Hong Kong was thrown into social unrest as political protestors barricaded streets, burned buses and fought running battles with police in full body armour firing tear gas. No hotel was immune to having its guests risk walking into a teargas barrage. Then came the pandemic, with Hong Kong suffering among the most severe lockdown restrictions in the world; at times any visitor from the rest of the world had to self-quarantine, at their own cost, for weeks on arrival.

Now, nearly five years later, I have been back to the Rosewood Hong Kong for the first time since its launch party. I expected a fine luxury hotel in the mould of other new-ish city hotels, still finding its feet, perhaps. After a four day stay, I am increasingly convinced I found something that changes the game.

room with view

LUX checked into a Harbour Corner Suite. We were dreamily distracted by the coffee table book selection, the view, and just out of picture, the drinks trolley, and telescope.

Rosewood’s dramatic tower sits linked to the equally new K11 MUSEA complex on the Victoria Dockside in Hong Kong. The hotel’s designers have made a virtue of its waterfront location across the water facing Hong Kong Island: I tried three rooms, each with an unbelievable view across the water, through floor-to-ceiling windows, of the city’s skyline and the Peak mountain rising up behind. By night, it is a Supernova-style light show. By day, you are distracted by pleasure boats and other traffic floating back and forth along the water.

Design is a difficult element at a time when the wealthy are going through a generational change: do you create interiors aimed at the older or the emerging generation? Rosewood has succeeded in doing both, primarily through the sheer thoughtfulness and quality of the materials, designs and public areas. If it were a luxury brand, this hotel would be Hermes: traditional yet playful, compromising nothing on cost or quality, with a clearly executed and thoughtful vision.

butterfly cafe

The Butterfly room, featuring Damien Hirst’s Zodiac series.

Lift lobbies are created as drawing rooms, with beautiful furniture and cabinets containing everything from Chinese vases and models of 1970s cars to the best curated selection of coffee table fashion and design books I have seen anywhere. In the bedrooms, it’s all about the quality of detail. My coffee machine and waste baskets were nestled in cool contemporary leather pouches. The bath had a wooden book and magazine holder on one side .

The glass bottles of Votary shampoo, shower gel and conditioner were encased in their own glass cabinet, swathed in light wood, within the two-person, walk through marble showers. The extending reading light had its stem swathed in stitched leather. The drinks trolley, with its curved metals, contained a beautifully presented nest of hyper-artisanal bottles of spirits and liqueurs and a couple of good cocktail books.

marble bathroom

From the door fixtures to the lacquering, from the choice of marbles to the design threads of the bathrobes and staff uniforms, everything at the Rosewood is a level above your average luxury hotel.

The look is not fussy or traditional. It’s firmly up to the minute, yet unites a Gen Z fashion leader and a Boomer conglomerate owner. The creativity of the design combines hints of art-deco, sprinkles of 20th-century modern, and a very up to the minute aesthetic which somehow takes in classicism. Solid woods, brass, and other metals are everywhere. Things that should ring hollow, literally, make a “thunk”. Yet there is no brashness, not a hint of bling.

Outside the rooms and lift lobbies, I spent quite some time in the Manor Club, a 40th-floor refuge containing a dining room, bar, snooker room and drawing room. Again, everything was about the detail. Lighting was exquisite, and slightly different for each area – I liked the darkness of the two-seat table by the floor-to-ceiling window in the bar area. The cocktail list combines the confidence of a family that owns one of the world’s bar legends, Bemelmans at the Carlyle in New York, with a next-gen curiosity and edge. Even the wines by the glass are perfectly curated – I remembered that Sonia Cheng’s husband is, independently, the most respected importer of fine wines in Hong Kong, and although I he doesn’t input directly on the lists, this is a place that is obsessive about details.

pool with skyline view

The Asaya Spa has indoor and outdoor wellness facilities, giving an island resort feel

Meanwhile down on the 6th floor the spa is another feast of organic, artisanal design detail, with a room devoted entirely to which herbs, extracts and smells should accompany your treatment and an outdoor terrace with a view. The outdoor pool (closed for annual maintenance when I visited) is open year-round and a destination in itself with its dramatic views.

None of this would work without service and local engagement – nobody wants to stay at a tourist hotel – and the Rosewood has both, and how. Staying in a suite, I was assigned a team of butlers, nattily dressed in the group’s trademark grey and black check. Butlers can sometimes be a mixed blessing in hotels. Unlike your own personal Jeeves, tomorrow’s butler may have no recollections of your conversations with today’s, meaning for sometimes tiresome repeat conversations. These ones had nailed it with their handovers: it’s as if butlers on different shifts had the same brain but different faces. They were charming, too, not service robots: chic young locals. I had a lively conversation about my sneakers with one, a big Off-White fan.

aroma therapy spa

Working out exactly which potions and lotions you wish to avail yourself of before your treatment is a relaxing experience in itself

You could, frankly, just spend your F&B time in the Manor Club, so special is its design, vibe and service, but the Rosewood has numerous other restaurants to try, and is umbilically linked to K11 MUSEA, the art, culture, retail, gastronomy and craft showcase created next door by Sonia’s brother Adrian Cheng – this is a creative family, creating stuff at a level not seen anywhere else.

One of the Rosewood bars is called The Dark Side, a self-ironic reference to what those on Hong Kong Island call the Kowloon side of the water where the Rosewood sits. There is a private members’ club on the 53th floor, Carlyle & Co, teeming with locals; apparently the hotel as a whole is a favourite for wealthy Hong Kongers on staycations.

dark bar

The Rosewood has the confidence to be self-referentially ironic. The Dark Side bar is a humorous reference to what locals in central Hong Kong across the water call this side of the Harbour

And what about that location? The area has become a destination in itself, with K11 MUSEA and notably the new M+, Asia’s best contemporary art museum, along the road. If you need to get to Central Hong Kong for meetings or visits, it can take 10 minutes with no traffic, or more on a bad day. There is also direct access, via K11 MUSEA, to TST MTR (subway) station from which it is one stop to Admiralty station in the heart of Hong Kong Island. Or you can take the Star Ferry across the bay.

The ambition of Rosewood Hong Kong is immense, and it has been executed with a combination of mathematical thoroughness – Sonia Cheng is a mathematics graduate from Harvard – exquisite taste in design and materials, deep knowledge of how hotellerie should work, and an innate awareness of how to create timelessness, which always starts with quality. I can’t think of a better newly built city hotel anywhere in the world. Rosewood, originally an American hotel company, is Asia’s luxury brand now. Maybe we can expect some handbags and silk scarves next.

rosewood.com

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Reading time: 8 min
two men black and white standing next to each other

Alain Servais is an investment banker and collector of art-as-ideas, whose family collection is showcased in The Loft, a repurposed factory in central Brussels. In a conversation moderated by LUX’s Leaders & Philanthropists editor, Samantha Welsh, Servais speaks with South Asian philanthropist and collector, Durjoy Rahman, about supporting artists who give minorities a voice and make people think.

two men black and white standing next to each other

Alain Servais (left) and Durjoy Rahman (right). Photo montage by Isabel Phillips

LUX: How has business shaped your your passion for art?

DURJOY RAHMAN: I started my career at a very young age when I started my business in textiles and garments production. It was when I started exporting that I found that I experienced a negative perception about Bangladesh. I had to engage in a kind of cultural diplomacy when I went to business meetings! I would talk positively about the good things happening in Bangladesh, sharing what was interesting for buyers in course of business development.

ALAIN SERVAIS: For me it was about filling a gap rather than part of my business plan. Investment banking is about trying to understand human nature, anticipating what will happen, asking questions, maybe about the effects of a societal drift to the far right, or changing attitudes to minorities, the potential disruption from new tech and social media, and so on. So understanding herd instinct is very important. In its way it’s pretty sterile as it is all about money. You are missing the voices of so many different people. That is what is interesting in Art.

LUX: How did you become interested in art?

AS: I have no collector-parents, no experience of studying or making art at all, I fell into art by accident. It’s about the convergence of those interesting parts of human nature, professional and private, a kind of curiousness. And that came from working in investment banking, because you are so used to absorbing a massive amount of data and opinion to make decisions.

DR: It was an accident for me too. I was visiting New York and I first saw the silk screens of Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergmann (which in fact I eventually collected). I decided to license and reprint the graphics on a European fashion brand T-shirt, by Replay I remember. It was this fashion x art collaboration which catalysed my art journey.

LUX: So discovery is a big part of your vision?

DR: Yes, I was frequently away on business in Europe and North America, and I would visit the many galleries and museums as I was passing through, always noticing the contrast with South Asia, where we had few institutions despite our long cultural heritage and traditional practices. So that’s why I decided that one day I would do something about it by creating a platform of my own.

AS: I love traveling, discovering other cultures, getting close to parts of the world that people have prejudice and ignorance about.  I had the chance to go to Bangladesh and discovered a totally different, very rich culture. The way I process the experience is through bringing back works of art.

LUX: Should collectors open the door to alternative realities?

AS: We should stop making out that collectors are Superman/woman! We are just human beings finding outlets in art, revealing society’s many problems in the process.  This is about my own interest in contemporary culture.  I have a real problem with nostalgia and the selfishness of it all.

sculptures free standing in studio

Artworks in a 2019-2020 exhibition at The Loft, the 900 square meter space which has housed the Servais family collection since 2010.

LUX: Is this why you collect ‘emerging’ artists?

AS: Emerging artists for me are the artists who are not selling-out to that nostalgic drive. It’s about the art created today that is worth preserving. Every major museum on the planet is based on the private collections of a few crazy collectors who plugged into whatever was going on in society at that time and collected artists who were expressing that in a particularly advanced way. For instance, forty years ago, Sophie Calle the French installation artist was already anticipating social media and reality shows – people want to watch people. So it’s about collecting and preserving artists’ works really early on, when Society does not yet understand their message.

DR: I agree, I really dislike the term ‘emerging artist’! These are claims not accurate predictions of who will be a great artist. In the art world, there is a structure, a platform, discipline, practice, so we can to an extent deduce who may emerge to be a strong or great artist. As to how successful they will be, that is far harder to judge. If you look at Bangladesh, Bangladesh is only 52 years old, so most artists here have actually been ‘emerging’ since 1971 ie post-Independence. DBF supports artists from this period and empowers them to create innovative bodies of work, influenced by social change. It’s about their context, their transmission of their knowledge and their influences.

sofas in room with art on walls

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation Creative Studio in Dhaka features works from around the Global South including, ‘Orator’ By William Kentridge (right) and ‘Rise of a Nation’ By Raghu Rai (left)

AS: Yes, yesterday I bought an innovative work from an artist from Bali. She had been totally underestimated to the extent she had never, in fact, even been called an ‘emerging artist’. She had, though, created new narratives through traditional Balinese painting and coloration, all pretty outrageous and about sexual liberation, lots of crazy images of penises, vaginas and everything. A good artist is someone that sends a message to the world, and a good collector is the one that understands this message before the masses. They are two sides of the same coin.

LUX: How is art messaging the voices of minority artists?

DR: We should first define what ‘minority’ means. After all, it means different things to different people. Sometimes, I feel like a minority when I enter the room at an event in the global North! It can be discomforting but I get over it with introductions and conversations.

AS: Yes, Durjoy, you’re right, you are a minority when traveling, and I am even an minority in Belgium – because when people visit The Loft they don’t get the art at all and probably think my kids should be taken into care! We are both minorities because we are both free-thinking individuals and non-conformists.

free standing art

The Great Revel of Hairy Harry Who Who: Orgy in the cellar, 2015, by Athena Papadopoulos, in Dérapages & Post-bruises Imaginaries, the 2018-2019 exhibition at The Loft in Brussels.

DR: With the minority artists in Bangladesh, it’s not just about their religion or social status but can be about differences in cultural practice. For example, the remote Hill Tracts indigenous communities in Bangladesh are considered to be minorities, so when we talk about the cultural heritage of Bangladesh, DBF showcases their arts and crafts to the global North. By shining a light on their art we are bringing them into the discourse and including them in society. With our Future of Hope program during Covid, we included these indigenous artists from the Hill Tracts and two have become very prominent right now. Similarly, we took our project for Kochi Biennale from the remote northern region of Bangladesh. This was a very significant artwork created by ethnic communities who would never have been exhibited on the world stage.

sculpture of women dancing

Installation view of Bhumi, with support from The Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India.

AS: I learn a lot from the artists from the global South. Recently, I bought a work by a photographer from Bangladesh. It is an image around infrastructure, bridges, highways and I wanted it not just because I loved the aesthetic but because the message around it was deliberately unfinished. After I’d bought the work, not before, I made sure I sat next to the photographer at the festival dinner and was grateful for the experience of talking with him, on equal terms. It is a two-way business.

LUX: What is the responsibility of the audience toward the artist?

DR: Artists practice as they wish. It’s how the audience accepts their work that is the question. As a collector and as a founder of a foundation, we open up the opportunity for a deeper engagement from the audience with the artist’s social concerns. These activations are beyond direct action and inventions, creating a positive ripple effect. You have to ask yourself, ‘Am I here to change the world or to support a range of alternatives?’ We enable artists to create bodies of work that widen their potential for recognition on the world stage by bringing awareness of their voice and their cause.

portraits of women

Parables of the Womb by Dilara Begum Jolly at DBF Creative Studio.

AS: As far as the responsibility of the artist is concerned, I don’t like the quasi-deification of the artist. There are so many bad artists around! It is not enough to call yourself an artist to be an artist. I was with a collector in Istanbul last week and he told me he had reserved an exhibition space for a solo exhibition by an emerging artist, emphasising it had to be an artist with no gallery representation. It was to be for six weeks. He actually refused the the first offer, saying “I want to see if artists will fight for it!” For him, the fighting was an important element as so many artists were not thinking about what they are doing and why they were doing it.

LUX: Where do you think your art philanthropy will be, ten years’ from now?

DR: With DBF, we want to be an influential and vital activist who has used the power of art and culture to good effect, to make positive, impactful change in terms of social justice. I agree with Alain, we must question everything and that curiosity must inform our vision for the next decade.

a loft with art in it

Servais hosts exhibitions from his collection of international contemporary artists at The Loft, where he also hosts artists’ residencies.

AS: Because governments are funding the arts the arts less and less, I spend more and more time documenting the works I’m acquiring! I’m doing this to record for posterity the complexity of the artist’s thinking. I hope institutions give more power to curators to offer opportunities to interesting artists so we have the vital two-way discussions. I think we are going to go through extremely difficult times and I would not like to be this young generation. We need people like Durjoy, we need these discourses, we must give people a voice, and we must make people think!

 

Find out more: durjoybangladeshfoundation.org

Servais Family Collection on Instagram: @collectionservais

 

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Reading time: 9 min
lakeside hotel
lakeside hotel

The Lakeside building of La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich which dates back to 1909

The venerable Eden au Lac, one of the landmark lakeside hotels in Zürich, was recently taken over by the flamboyant La Reserve group, and transformed into a luxe-chic destination for every destination. LUX checks in and samples the champagne on the rooftop

The Wow Factor

The rooftop terrace of the Eden. Sitting on a corner table, wearing a light gilet against a cool breeze blowing from the Alps. The rosé champagne you are drinking has a pedigree related to the hotel: this is no ordinary house fizz, but a champagne made by Michel Reybier who owns both the La Reserve hotel group which the Eden belongs to, and some of the most prestigious wineries in the world, including Châte au Cos d’Estournel, and this champagne house, Jeepers. Sitting here, you are distinctly amongst the Zürich in crowd.

People Watching

Behind us, two paper thin American women were discussing travel, plans, deals, and their yoga routine. A gentleman from southern Europe wearing a rare Patek Phillipe, who would have looked very at home in the Yacht Club of Monaco, is sipping cocktails with a young lady. The people here are international, glamorous, wealthy, and wanting to show that they are here.

 

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine 

Show me to my room.

Our room faced out from the front of the hotel, over the lakeside road and directly onto a park and the bathing area of Lake Zürich. A small balcony was an excellent place for breakfast with a view of the forest of hills on the other side of the lake. The opera house is almost next door: this is a very centrally located hotel. The bed with the centrepiece of the room, with the bathroom behind. here it is all about high quality material finishes and details: the wood marquetry is exceptionally beautiful, reflecting the craft traditions in the nearby Alpine forests but presented in a contemporary way, with plenty of shiny metals and exquisite accessories from the glassware to the in room amenities.

green tiled kitchen, chefs

The street level Eden Kitchen which features all day dining

Come dine with me (and other things)

We loved La Muña, the rooftop Japanese Pacific restaurant and bar, which has been designed as an imaginary yacht club by Phillipe Starck. As well as the
superb quality of drinks (as one would expect from this group), the maki, sashimi and ceviches were exquisite. When the weather was less good, we dined inside: no views, but a chic cosiness and intimate style.

 

Find out more: lareserve-zurich.com

 

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 Issue of LUX

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Reading time: 2 min
woman laying on colourful floor
woman laying on colourful floor

A Dream you Dream Alone, by Maryam Eisler, 2021

An elegant, aloof figure lies, sprawled, blanketed in stripes, formed of shadows from a gazebo above. Here’s a glimpse into Chief Contributing Editor of LUX, Maryam Eisler’s continual exposition of the Sublime Feminine. In the murky hinterland between body and landscape – in what she calls ‘dreamlands made real’ – Maryam captures chimerical states and synaptic, elusive moments. By Isabella Fergusson

Maryam’s black and white photography toys with shadow and light in ways in which the body seems to hover between corporeal and architectural form. Figures hide. Bodies are touched by their landscape’s shadows, by wooden planks, by leaves, by music scores. They turn away, evasive; hands and arms are little seen: bodies are distilled to Barbara Hepworth-esque forms – to the curve of a lower back, the stomach, the spine. There is a sense of holding back, of retaining mystery, of stretching beyond the body to landscape. In Peaks and Troughs, curves of bodies are hit by light with such exquisite abstraction as to resemble vast mountains, or perhaps a close-up of a cluster of smooth pebbles.

Peaks and Troughs, by Maryam Eisler, 2019

‘I often search for inspiration in literature, poetry and in the arts’, Maryam says. And, if Hepworth looked to music, and Rothko wanted to raise painting to ‘music and poetry’, Maryam, in a modern take, lays bare the parallels between photography and music. Music scores leak into the photography itself, both literally, and in the way that a mathematical precision of composition provides access to dreamlike, hazy worlds. In A Cry for Freedom, a nude figure seems almost tattooed by the shadows of musical notes, nodding towards a subliminal synaesthesia.

naked body with musical notes projected onto back

A Cry for Freedom, by Maryam Eisler, 2023

Such philosophy spills into colour. Constructed forms – trees, crosses, doors – stick out against bright blue skies. Balconies are distilled to rectangles, pentagons, triangles, punctuated by rich pinks and blues. A palm tree shoots playfully out of a wall, structured by Crayola coloured, stripy joints. Perspective is maintained and fundamental, and yet simultaneously flat and geometric. They combine playful, Hockney bravado with a serious, almost cubist, interest in perspective.

a grid of various very colourful pictures

Linear Emotions – Palm Springs, by Maryam Eisler, 2023

Intimate Landscapes prods the metaphysical questions at the core of the Sublime. In light and lines, shadows and shapes, Maryam’s self-reflectively titled series, ‘Linear Emotions’, confront their own process. How does one conjure up inner dreamlands through geometry? Where does the body end and the landscape begin?

A woman in pink spinning against a bright blue sky with some trees

The Astonishing Light of Your Own Being, by Maryam Eisler, 2024

‘Feeling is my true north’, says Maryam. And one can feel that here – her grace and control, her search for what is, in her words, ‘true or fantastic. Nostalgia for bygone times. Passion. Romance. Heartache’. Dancing between delicate quiet and bold colour, Maryam ‘offers a glimpse into these dreams and into this multi-faceted exploration of the Sublime Feminine’.

man watching woman dive into pool

Poolside Watching, by Maryam Eisler, 2023

 

Maryam Eisler’s exhibition, ‘Intimate Landscapes’, will be showing at Mucciaccia Gallery Project, Rome, via Laurina 31, from 10th February – 16th March 2024

 

See More: https://www.maryameisler.com

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Reading time: 2 min
Man and woman holding rubbish from ocean

Man and woman holding rubbish from ocean

Marcus Eriksen is at the cutting edge of research and raising awareness about the interaction between natural ocean phenomena with microplastic pollution. Trudy Ross speaks with him about the issues, challenges and possible solutions.

LUX: What inspired you to start 5 Gyres and dedicate your work to addressing plastic pollution in our oceans?

Markus Eriksen: In 2003, I made good on a promise to myself to one day raft the Mississippi river. I grew up near the river, and always dreamed of doing that, but when I did, I saw an unending trail of plastic pollution, flowing down America’s greatest watershed out to sea. Within a month of returning from the river, I landed a job working with Captain Charles Moore, the man who discovered the great Pacific garbage patch. Three years later, I proposed to my wife Anna Cummins while we were aboard Captain Moore’s research vessel in the middle of the north pacific garbage patch. From there, Anna and I began the 5 Gyres Institute with the goal of researching the world’s oceans to answer some big questions. How much trash is in the global ocean, where is it accumulating, what is the impact on other living things, and what can we do about it?

LUX: Could you explain what gyres are and how they relate to the issue of plastic pollution?

ME: Oceanic Gyres are normal features of the ocean defined by large-scale circulating currents. There are 11 oceanic gyres, with five of them being the subtropical gyres. That’s where floating plastic trash accumulates. The currents are driven by wind, and in the northern hemisphere they rotate clockwise, while in the southern hemisphere they rotate counterclockwise. The subtropical gyres create high-pressure systems in the middle, where the wind and waves slow down and trash accumulates. Those are what we call the garbage patches, but I would call them a Plastic Smog instead.

LUX: You have done an enormous amount of work combating the use of microbeads. Can you tell us more about this and why it is such a crucial part of your mission?

ME: In 2012, I worked with a colleague, Sherri Mason, to document floating plastics in the great lakes. What we found were abundant microbeads, which was the first evidence of microbeads documented in aquatic habitats. The publish paper became the foundation for a national campaign to rid consumer products of microbeads. We work with dozens of organizations, sharing videos, photos and press releases. We worked with Tulane law school in New Orleans to produce sample federal legislation to ban microbeads. Soon we got two senators to put a federal bill in front of President Obama, which he signed into law the 2015 Microbead-free Waters Act. We went from science to a policy solution in two years. This provided a great example for everyone worldwide about how powerful we can be when we work together toward a single goal. That successful campaign still gets referenced today as we work to eliminate single-use plastics everywhere.

LUX: You recently published a study revealing a global estimate for plastic in the oceans. How did you go about conducting this research and what did you find?

ME: We published this study in early April that identified 170 trillion particles of microplastics in the global ocean. It was a 40 year trend analysis which showed an exponential increase of plastic in the ocean since 2005. This is largely due to the fragmentation of new and older plastic items, the introduction of over 5,000,000,000 tons of new plastic in the last 15 years, And an unfortunate trend in very weak international policies to address the problem. The most recent policies of the last few decades have been voluntary and focused on recycling and Cleanup. Policies back in the 70s and 80s were more preventative in nature and they were legally binding. Right now we are working hard to ensure that the current debate about the UN global treaty on plastic kind pollution is about prevention and will be legally binding. We can’t have a weak international treaty.

To answer your question about how we did this research, we combined all of our data of sea surface sampling over the last decade with every other publicly available data on the planet. We then used our oceanographic models to extrapolate the data to the broader ocean environment. This gave us plastic particle abundance estimates per ocean basin, and collectively the whole planet.

Each data point is collected by dragging a net across the ocean surface for a specific distance, using a net with a known width. That gives you a particle count per unit area. That becomes the data that we used to feed our ocean graphic models. The fun part is that we get to sail around the world to collect this data.

 

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

 

LUX: How can we ensure we are holding companies and producers responsible for their contribution to the problem?

ME: This gets very tricky. We need smart international policies that are preventative in nature, and embrace something called extended producer responsibility (EPR). EPR is about holding product and packaging manufacturers, responsible for the entire lifecycle of what they make. That means setting design standards so that items are easily dismantled and easily recyclable, and it also means keeping Plastic out of packaging as much as possible.

One big part of EPR is ensuring that manufacturers are using recycled plastic when they do. Right now recycling fails worldwide because manufacturers are not obligated to use recycled materials. Because virgin plastic is so cheap, no one buys recycled plastic in huge volumes. This is why recycling United States covers at less than 10%. It’s a system that is not set up for economic success. While corporations like to boast about the technical recyclability of what they make, they avoid discussion of the economic reality of making a recycling successful. To solve this problem, we would need smart legislation that requires a high percent of post – consumer recycle plastic used in all new products.

LUX: What does it mean for a plastic to be biodegradable? If I buy food in biodegradable plastic packaging, am I still contributing to the problem?

ME: Yes and no. The issue of bioplastics has become quite confusing, with some false advertising and misleading uses of terminology. First, bio-based and biodegradable packaging are very different materials. Bio-based simply means you are taking modern plants to make conventional plastics, like polyethylene and polypropylene, instead of using fossil fuels. It’s the same stuff. Biodegradable plastics are very different, but the word biodegradable means different things for different people.

Polylactic acid, or PLA, is a common form of biodegradable plastic, and has been advertised to be biodegradable by many packaging manufacturers. Most of the time it is labeled as compostable, but in the fine print states that it’s only compostable in an industrial composting facility, not in your backyard or on the side of the road. But in reality, industrial composting facilities are now rejecting PLA, because your it is not biodegrade in a meaningful time frame. Industrial composting facilities, make their money from selling compost, and PLA contaminates their compost. Unfortunately, industrial composting facilities are now rejecting every type of biodegradable plastic on the market, but things have changed.

There is a novel type of biodegradable plastic called PHA and PHB, which actually do degrade quickly, but only if they are in a thin film form. This is important because in our research we have found that thick items, like the handle on a biodegradable plastic fork, can stick around for more than a year. But, a thin film made from PHA or PHB will degrade in a couple of months in a rich composting environment.

In our recent study, we put 22 different products made from biodegradable materials into six different settings and tested their degradation over a year and a half. We were really impressed with some of the new thin film packaging that’s available.

LUX: Can you tell us about your TrashBlitz project and what you are hoping this will achieve?

ME: Trash blitz is a program that works with cities to survey their entire region to get a good idea of what kind of plastic packaging are the biggest pollutants. We give the cities the data, put together in a nice report, which they can use to present to their city Council or local plastic manufacturers. That data allows them to address plastic pollution locally. We’ve done this in many cities, like Denver, Colorado, and Austin, Texas, and most recently we did this in national parks. In each case we provide the data they can use.

Interestingly, we find that most cities have the same list of top 10 types of packaging that are the biggest polluters, like cigarette butts, bags, straws, cup, lids, bottle caps, etc.…. We hope that this bigger picture view of the biggest polluters can affect national legislative policies to illuminate single use plastics.

man on beach with ocean in background

LUX: You mention having a solution-based approach at 5 Gyres. What are the most important solutions to plastic pollution we need to be looking at as a society right now?

ME: We favor smart legislative policies. What seems to always work is when the private sector and political leadership work together on preventative solutions. This might mean getting rid of single-use plastics, like the way school districts are getting rid of Styrofoam trays in their cafeterias. We’re also seeing cities eliminate plastic straws, plastic bags, and cutlery from local restaurants.

We also favor innovators and entrepreneurs that discover new materials, new ways of designing products and packaging without plastic, and novel business practices that show how a reuse economy can work. There are some interesting new Bioplastic materials that I think can be a replacement for many thin film applications. We are also seeing some novel, business practices, like the company “Vessel” that provides stainless steel coffee mugs and beer cups that a city can circulate through different restaurants in coffee shops.

LUX: You have said that you are hopeful that plastic pollution is a problem we can solve. Do you ever find yourself losing hope or being disheartened working on these issues?

ME: Overall, I am more optimistic pessimistic, because I meet so many young, innovators and entrepreneurs. They’re trying to make solutions work.

I feel pessimistic sometimes when I see how much effort the polluters put into fighting legislation and resisting changing their packaging, products and business models. They are happy to saddle cities with the cost of managing wasteful forms of packaging. They will spend many millions on consultants, lobbyist, and PR campaigns to unravel the work of the many nonprofits trying to find solutions.

LUX: Will we ever live in a plastic free world?

ME: We will, if we want to. What I know is that the plastic out in the world today will likely be buried and become a permanent fixture of the geologic record. If we can focus on stopping to add more plastic trash to the world, then nature will in time bury at all.

We may never be a plastic, free world, because the material is useful in many applications. It’s used in many industries, technologies, makes cars and airplanes, more lightweight and efficient, but it is the single-used plastic problem that we need to address right away.

 

https://www.marcuseriksen.com/education

 

Online Editor: Isabel Phillips

 

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Reading time: 9 min

Under the artistic direction of Natasha Ginwala, the recent Colomboscope showed how the Sri Lankan art festival has swiftly become a must-visit not just for aficionados of South Asian art, but for collectors globally seeking to channel exciting new art world perspectives from a region whose global significance is rising.

woman sitting on window ledge

Natasha Ginwala, artistic director. Photo by Victoria Tomaschko

Across venues throughout Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, curators Hit Man Gurung, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, and Sarker Protick choreographed events and showcased the work of 40 eminent artists from Sri Lanka and the Global South, all themed around ‘Way of the Forest’.

Artwork of an eye with leaves

Zihan Karim, EYE (।), 2015, Video projection on installation. Photo by Fiona Cheng

Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF), as one of the festival’s lead patrons and cultural partners, supported four artists from Bangladesh to participate: Soma Surovi Jannat; Md Rakibul Anwar; Zihan Karim; Jayatu Chakma. There was a strong theme of sustainability and regeneration in their works.

woman with trees in background

Soma Surovi Jannat, artist.

Man posing with painting in background

Rakibul Anwar, artist.

black and white picutre of man head down

Zihan Karim, artist.

man standing next to painting

Jayatu Chakma, artist.

‘Urbanisation is accelerating deforestation, which removes the potential for forests to absorb carbon and put a brake on global warming. This creates political, economic and societal crises for people and harms our planet,’ says DBF’s founder, Durjoy Rahman.

poster of event with text on it

The Way of the Forest Poster

It was an intriguing way to see how art is leading the challenge against post-colonial legacies and bearing witness to the effects of climate change.

 

See more: https://www.colomboscope.lk/

 

Online Editor: Isabel Phillips

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Reading time: 1 min
green vineyard with tree and building and sun

Picasso, Miro, Dali, Richter, Braque: supreme Bordeaux Chateau Mouton-Rothschild has had them all, and many more, create its wine label over the decades. Candice Tucker speaks to Julien de Beaumarchais, from the owning family of the esteemed first growth, about the latest label artist, Chiharu Shiota, whose work adorns the excellent 2021 vintage

LUX: How has your relationship with art changed through the process of commissioning these label artworks?

Julien de Beaumarchais: Before the passing of my mother, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, in 2014, I spent more than 15 years working in the market for Old Master paintings and drawings, the creators of which had been dead for a very long time. So it was a radical change for me when, after 2014, I became responsible for the artists who would illustrate the label for our next vintage. I found myself in contact with famous people with strong personalities who were very much alive, accompanying them throughout their creative adventure for Mouton. From Miquel Barceló to Shiharu Chiota, it has been quite a voyage of discovery into all the diversity and complexity of the leading names of contemporary art.

wine barrels with lights and under the tunnels

Château Mouton Rothschild Winery. Photo by Alain Benoit

LUX: Can you illuminate the relationship of the family with this particular artist Chiharu Shiota? How do you choose your artists?

JB: The choice of the artist is a family affair, made in consultation with the other two owners of Château Mouton Rothschild, my sister Camille Sereys de Rothschild and my brother Philippe Sereys de Rothschild. The artists are chosen first and foremost because we like their work and that they are world renowned. My mother, the late Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (1933- 2014) used to give the following answer to this question, which still holds true today: “I have no particular method or five-year plan: my choice is based on my enthusiasm for an artist’s work. I always establish a personal relationship with them, which often turns into friendship, because I deeply love the art of the painter I ask, and for me each work is an expression of the artist’s love for Mouton and its magic.”

A long time ago my mother told me she had been fascinated by one of Chiharu Shiota’s works, shown alongside those of other young artists, at the Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris. For her, on that day, Chiharu Shiota really stood out, and the future has proved her right. The artist’s fame has grown with the passing years, as has the number of exhibitions of her works around the world, and I in turn have been fascinated by her striking, captivating installations. Chance played an important part too: in 2019, on the occasion of a visit to Château Mouton Rothschild, the director of the Mori Art Center in Tokyo offered me a copy of the magnificent catalogue of the great Chiharu Shiota retrospective at the Mori. Leafing through it, I said to myself “One day I will ask Chiharu Shiota to create an artwork for Mouton”.

 

Read more: Prince Robert de Luxembourg on Art & Fine Wine

 

LUX: Which artists do you wish you had secured in the past, who are now either unavailable or dead?

JB: That’s a very hard question to answer: there are so many wonderful artists we would have liked to work with, but there is only one a year. Those missing from the list who died before we were able to ask them include Louise Bourgeois, Cy Twombly, Vieira da Silva and, more recently, Sam Szafran in 2019… But the most important thing is to focus on the artists to come.

 

LUX: How do you feel the context of the artwork by Chiharu Shiota is influenced by the wine and the vineyard?

JB: When I discovered Chiharu Shiota’s artwork for Château Mouton Rothschild, I was fascinated by her vision, so close to the world of wine, especially in the relationship between humankind and nature. Indeed, the human figure is a fragile silhouette facing nature, gorgeous and generous but seemingly dominant, in the same way that the vinegrower is exposed to the unpredictable power of the vine. Yet the four threads that link them, symbolising the four seasons, show that the grower is also capable of channelling it and guiding it towards the ideal of a great wine. I really love this bright red colour, one of her trademarks, so reminiscent of a fabulous cluster of grapes or of new wine running out of the vats…

Plus, Chiharu Shiota said of his visit to Château Mouton Rothschild: “When I visited Château Mouton Rothschild, I was very inspired by their relationship with nature. They depend on the weather and do not interfere with mother nature. They accept the conditions in which the grapes grow. I think Mouton is holding on to the balance of human and nature.”

a label for wine with an artist image on it

Château Mouton Rothschild 2021 Vintage label by Chiharu Shiota

LUX: Can you further speak to the wider context of art in untraditional spaces, which these commissions exemplify?

JB: It is true that nowadays artistic creation is to be found on a wide variety of media, and sometimes in highly unexpected places. But art on wine labels is not exactly untraditional, at least not for us, and we seem to have set an example for others. However, Mouton occupies a unique position for two reasons: it was the first château to feature labels illustrated with an original artwork (Jean Carlu in 1924), and after that to have asked the greatest names in contemporary art to create an artwork for the label.

 

LUX: Do you think people buy the wines because of the labels?

JB: Yes and no. Château Mouton Rothschild’s success is due above all to the quality of the wine. But art lovers or admirers of a particular artist who has created an artwork for a label may acquire a certain bottle for that reason, or else a wine collector may want to buy a specific vintage to complete their collection of Mouton Rothschild with illustrated labels.

 

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

 

LUX: Would you be able to share about the vineyard’s involvement in the artists process and their work for this commission?

JB: It is very important for us that the artist should come and spend some time at Château Mouton Rothschild, to get a feel for the place, a better understanding of our history, our terroir and the way we make our wine. The visit is often a source of inspiration.

Artists are not given any particular instructions when they create a label for Château Mouton Rothschild: they have entire creative freedom. That being said, many artists have chosen to base their illustration, each in their own way, on subjects related to Mouton, such as the ram and the vine.

There is a long and impressive line of artists who have contributed to these labels, with public access to the original works.

vineyard in yellow light and sky

Château Mouton Rothschild estate. Photo by Alain Benoit

LUX: Can you tell us more about how you may hope to amplify this exhibition?

JB: The exhibition amplifies itself, since a new work is added to the collection each year! But more than amplify, what I would like most is to diversify, in terms of both creative techniques and the geographical origin of our future artists.

Find out more:mouton-rothschild

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Reading time: 6 min
A woman wearing a white dress standing in a garden
A woman wearing a white dress standing in a garden

French actress and singer Stéfi Celma

Paris-born actor and singer Stéfi Celma, who plays the ambitious receptionist in Call My Agent, on her cultural inspirations, social- media advice and dealing with racism

LUX: When did your passion for music start?
Stéfi Celma: Very early- it was as if I could sing before I could speak. My father found a little audio tape I made, so I have the proof.

LUX: What types of music have influenced you?
SC: I would say Latin music, Afromusic, French chansons and hip-hop. I also remember, as a child, discovering Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2. her voice really affected me. Later, I listened over and over to her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

LUX: What do you do to relax and disconnect?
SC: I have lived in Brussels for a few years and I’ve developed a real passion for antique collecting – the city has some real treasures. I love spending time at the flea market in Place du Jeu de Balle, just doing my thing. It is a good area to discover if you are passing through Brussels.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What are your favourite restaurants and cafés in Paris to take a visitor?
SC: I’m not really up to date on good restaurants in Paris, but I do know a few in Brussels. If you pass by, I really like Le P’tit Chouia En +, a delicious Moroccan restaurant in rue de la Pacification. Certo Faim et Soif in rue Longue Vie is a quite simple restaurant, with original dishes that change every week. Boentje Café, in Place Colignon, offers beautiful fresh products, has a zero-waste approach and makes delicious little dishes.

LUX: What has been you favourite memory of playing Sofia in the TV comedy-drama Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent)?
SC: The whole Dix Pour Cent adventure has been incredible – it’s been a real learning experience and I have met great people. But the scene that really comes to mind is the shooting of the theatre scene in episode 3 season 1. I perform the song Qui, which I also covered on my EP. It particularly touches me and is an important scene for my character.

A woman standing in a garden holding onto a wall with one arm and plants around her

Celma is best known for her role as Sofia in Dix pour cent (Call My Agent)

LUX: Have you ever experienced any racism or sexism in the industry?
SC: I have not experienced racism in the artistic world any more than I have elsewhere. I would even say that my experience has been better in the industry and that I have been encouraged to affirm my identity in the. projects I have been involved in. When I started, I did hear things like, “They are not looking for a black person for this role”, where colour was not a subject in the project. Luckily, that didn’t happen often.

LUX: What do you think of social media?
SC: For discovering artistic talent and for ease of communication it is brilliant. I also really like Facebook groups that help me to look for antiques and give a second life to things – I am very touched by that kind of approach. But I think social media takes up so much space in our lives and we have to know how to slow down and discipline ourselves. Easier said than done…

Read more: Alia Al-Senussi and Durjoy Rahman on art and cultural soft power

LUX: Are there musicians you would particularly like to work with?
SC: I have has the opportunity to be surrounded by great artists every day. I am blown away by the singer-songwriter Matthieu Chedid, who I have seen on stage many times, and the singer and actress Yael Naim. My favourite album at the moment is Hamza’s latest, Sincèrement. It is hard-hitting but also very free-form.

LUX: What advice would you give to young international actors?
SC: To try and stay true to themselves, whatever happens.

LUX: What were you doing before our interview this morning?
SC: I was looking after my baby daughter, who is eight months old.

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 3 min
Group of people in a red room watching talk sitting on chairs

people sitting on chairs on a stage giving a panel discussion

Durjoy Rahman of Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation addresses the audience at the AVPN South Asia Summit

A pioneering conference in India is seeking to kick start venture philanthropy in South Asia

‘We had a strong sense that our projects had a lack of effectiveness. Add to that the lack of transparency as well as poor methods of measuring impact, and it became clear that something needed to be done.’

On a charity fundraising trip in 2002, Doug Miller realised the futility of his friends’ and his impact ventures in private equity. Unlike traditional investments, metrics were undeveloped, and methods and final impact opaque. In short, a lot of capital and time was being spent with the best of intentions but with limited results.

In response to this, Miller developed the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) in 2004 and the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) in 2011, bringing a collaborative approach to venture philanthropy through exchanges with impact investment.

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His successor is the overwhelmingly accoladed Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN and Chair of the International Venture Philanthropy Center, proclaimed one of Asia’s Most Influential by Tatler Asia in 2021 and awarded awarded one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks. Batra presided over the latest AVPN South Asia Summit in Mumbai earlier this month; it was the first of these conferences to take place in person, last year’s inaugural edition having taken place virtually. This year’s theme was ‘Bringing Fringes to the Fore”, and it brought together individual philanthropists from culture, education and social impact, and major global companies and organisations.

Durjoy Rahman, a philanthropist from Bangladesh engaged in South Asian art and culture, focused around the creative realm and cultural soft power. Speaking of the cultural world, he said that one of the missions of this Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation was to show that the cultural world “does not need to be seen or judged by the West’s historical perspective”. Durjoy said he is finding this message is finding resonance both in the rest of the Global South, and also in the traditional cultural capitals of the West.

people sitting on chairs in a red room listening to a talk

AVPN South Asia Summit brings together philanthropists, venuture capitalists and other leasers to promote the field of venture philanthropy

“It is important to lead the conversation, and to do so needs to involve a multilateral, global conversation. It’s not about doing something and broadcasting information about what we do: multiple dialogues are the way to ensure we engage with like-minded individuals and institutions around the world.”

Durjoy also spoke about how the creative realm can contribute to future-ready education; and specifically, how the creative and cultural field can play a “soft power” role in influencing international views of Bangladesh, a country only founded in 1971 which previously had a negative economic reputation but is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

The same panel, moderated by Vivek Agarwal of the Tony Blair Institute, also focused on educational reform, and featured Dr. Akhil Shahani, Managing Director of The Shahani Group, Dr. Nivedita Narain, CEO of OneStage and Rakshit Kejriwal, President of Phillips Education, speaking about empowerment in employability.

With a history of philanthropic infrastructure lacking in Asia, AVPN CEO Batra is building a network, catering to models that suit the collective regional story and its challenges, moving from a purist venture philanthropy, focused on empowering voices and expanding the network at all costs.

Venture philanthropy itself is a relatively new field, pioneered in the US and now making inroads around the world. It combines elements of traditional philanthropy, where a return is measured purely on the impact of the philanthropic aims, and traditional venture capital seeking a return. There is a prevailing view now that this maximises returns on both levels.

The AVPN conference is aimed to be an interregional weaving of thought leaders and industry experts, where a collective regional story is conducive to progress as opposed to challenging it. Its brief spans culture and education, as well as sustainable development goals.

Left to right: Vivek Agarwal, Dr Akhil Shahani, Rakshit Kejriwal, Durjoy Rahman at the AVPN Summit after their talk on future-ready education

A conference on social impact and sustainable development runs the risk of empty pledges. But not at AVPN – Lavanya Jayaram, South Asia Regional Director, ensured animated conversations, with stakeholders ‘debating unique regional challenges and solutions towards charting a roadmap for philanthropy and impact investing in the South Asian region.’. Founder Doug Miller’s aversion to inaction charged the summit, which hosted over 70 speakers over 27 sessions, a variety of panel discussions, keynote speeches, workshops and ‘fireside chats’. The agenda is also interspersed with networking opportunities, encouraging an ongoing dialogue between speeches, to expand the AVPN ecosystem, with over 600 members across 33 markets and its own academy dedicated to teaching skills in impact investment.

In the wake of environmental disasters that struck the region over the past year, the 2023 summit featured panel discussions on climate resilience and energy transitions in South Asia. Speakers such as Prerana Langa of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India, developing network based models for disaster risk reduction and biodiversity conservation, spoke particularly to this year’s floods and industrial accidents in Bangladesh, bringing investors into contact with means of making effective impact.

Read more: Cyrill Gutsch on saving the oceans through art and collaboration

A panel discussion dedicated to ‘Bridging the Borders’ and ‘Global Perspectives’ brings as one of the speakers Sanjay Gujral of Everstone Capital, a private equity firm investing across the South Asian landscape, further engaging investment in a cross cultural design. Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar also spoke about finding purpose in philanthropy.

The conference equally addressed gender gaps and supporting women within the economy through talks on gender lens investing, furthered by AVPN’s Asia Gender Network, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which seeks to advance equality through representation in leadership positions, economic empowerment and education, just to name a few.

Through a multiplicity of sectors and regions, the South Asian Summit is driving a collective effort in sustainable development and in centralising fringe communities in the discussion. The phrase ‘catalytic platforms’ is often thrown around, and yet could not be more apt in such dynamic conversations taking place. The Summit, through the focused involvement of leaders in their fields, is set to catalyse significant change in important and evolving areas. – Olivia Cavigioli

Find out more: avpn.asia

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Reading time: 5 min
thread hanging on a wall coming of a textile
thread hanging on a wall coming of a textile

Works by Aiko Tezuka on display at Asia Now Paris in the Majhi International Art Residency booth

The Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) continues its mission to bridge the art communities from the East and the West through the Majhi International Art Residency, this year taking place in Paris

The Majhi International Art Residency was started by DBF in 2019, with its first edition in Venice. Since then, the residency has taken place every year in different locations in Europe including Berlin, Eindhoven, Amsterdam at the renowned Rijksakademie, and now Paris.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

This year’s two-week residency programme saw three artists from Asia and the Asian diaspora creating new works for an exhibition curated by Ricko Leung. Ricko Leung was born and raised in Hong Kong but has lived in Paris since 2014. Her art and curation focus on topics including, fear and control, cultural identity, and post-colonialism, as well as eco-feminism.

4 women standing together outside a building in Paris

The artists and curator involved at the residency, left to right: Aiko Tezuka, Ricko Leung, Raisa Kabir and Rajyashri Goody

The theme of this exhibition was textile and indigo, in particular, around the history and meaning of indigo, being a material very closely tied to the colonial history of Bengal. Indigo is a material also used very frequently in the textile industry, which coincided with the focus of the venue partner, Asia Now Paris. The artists selected for the residency were Raisa Kabir, Aiko Tezuka and Rajyashri Goody.

Raisa Kabir is an artist, textiles researcher and weaver based in London. Kabir’s creations cover the interwoven cultural politics of cloth, archives of the body and colonial geographies, by using woven text and textiles, sound, video and performance.

A room with a red tapestry hanging on the all and pictures hanging on strings beside

Works on display at Asia Now by Rajyashri Goody (right) and Raisa Kabir (left)

Kabir’s (un)weaving performances use queer entanglement to comment on structures of trans-national power, global production, and the relationships between craft and industrial labour. Her work speaks to cultural anxieties surrounding nationhood, textile identities and the cultivation of borders.

Aiko Tezuka was born in Tokyo but has lived in Berlin since 2011. Using different readymade fabrics Aiko produces unique works in which she unravels materials to create new structural forms using her own techniques.

A woven tapestry in pink, blue, yellow and green of a bird flying

Details of an artwork by Aiko Tezuka

Rajyashri Goody is from Pune, India and currently works between India and the Netherlands. She was also a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2021-2023. Goody’s practice has been heavily influenced by both her academic background and her Ambedkarite Dalit roots.

Read more: Mera Rubell on catalysing cultural change

She focuses on messaging around how basic needs of everyday life, including food, nature, language and literacy are actively used as tools to enforce caste rules for generations. She shows this messaging through various mediums incorporating text, voice, paper, pulp, ceramics, photography, printmaking, video and installation into her works.

A poem next to a paper coloured in blue

Indigo not only has strong ties with the colonial history of Bengal, but its pigment is extremely prominent in textiles, which was a point of focus at Asia Now

‘Majhi’ can be translated into English as a ‘leader’ of a house or group of people. In some ways, the Majhi International Art Residency programme acts as a leader by bridging divides, connecting individuals and creating a vibrant channel for the exchange of ideas and experiences.

Find out more: majhi.org

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Reading time: 2 min
People sitting at tables in front of a large window overlooking a city
A pedestrian area with white parasols and a view of a city

Adrian Bridge, opened Porto’s Cultural District, WOW, in 2020

Starting his career in the British Cavalry Regiment, Adrian Bridge moved to Portugal in 1994 and is now CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, which produces Taylor, Fonseca, Fonseca-Guimaraens, and Croft Ports. Here, Bridge speaks to LUX’s Leaders and Philanthropists Editor, Samantha Welsh about being a driving force behind wine tourism in Porto and developing the city’s new Cultural District WOW
a man in a suit holding a glass of port

Adrian Bridge

LUX: What do you think your training at Sandhurst taught you?
Adrian Bridge: The military teaches a great deal about leadership and confidence. You also learn to make decisions based on the available information, no matter how imperfect. However, in planning action it is in the details where success lies. That requires breaking down a problem to its parts and thinking through all of the details. I believe that all business is about the detail and that is where success lies.

LUX: How would you say this has influenced your dynamic style of leadership?
AB: The moto of Sandhurst is ‘Serve to Lead’ and I strongly believe in leading from the front. This creates a company culture where everything should be possible. I do not ask people to do things that I would not do myself. I think that this allows us to push forward, to take risks, to do things that others might not attempt.

A bar with a decorated ceilings

Angel’s Share is the name given for evaporation process that takes place when wine is ageing in barrels. It is also the name of the WOW wine bar

LUX: Why is the house so good at innovating?
AB: To me, innovation is all about pushing boundaries. To remain at the top, you simply can’t sit still. You have to continuously question, push and evolve or someone will overtake you.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Established in 1692, we are one of the oldest companies in the world simply because we don’t sit still. We are continuously expanding and innovating to appeal to both new and existing audiences. We have a reputation for quality and excellence that has been built up over time and continues to be sustained through the generations.

One of our best examples of innovation has to be the creation of Croft Pink; the first ever Rosé Port. We launched this product in 2008 with the goal to introduce Port wine to a younger generation. In 2011 we continued to expand this concept and launched a canned “ready to drink”- Rosé tonic.

 grapes in boxes and woman picking through them

The Fladgate Partnership produces Taylor, Fonseca, Fonseca-Guimaraens, and Croft Ports

LUX: Oporto is already a UNESCO World Heritage City, so what was your vision for WOW?
AB: Porto is a beautiful city full of history, charm and culture – all of great significance to Portugal’s identity. The vision of WOW was to bring a totally new set of cultural concepts to Porto and in this way offer quality content to the region.

We wanted this to be a game-changing space for both locals and travellers that really celebrates the culture, gastronomy, history and industries of Portugal. WOW is as educational as it is fun. To achieve this, we needed to make sure this was a dynamic district that featured regular exhibitions, unique events and seasonal experiences.

A lit up walkway with rocks on either side

The District is over 55,000sqm and includes 8 museums and experiences and 11 restaurants and bars

LUX: What does an immersive experience offer that can complement the traditional vineyard visit?
AB: One of the reasons WOW originally came to be was in response to the booming number of visitors coming to Porto – demand that we helped to create by building The Yeatman – and the lack of experiences that Porto had to offer. To appeal to this market, we continuously try to ensure that there is something new for people to do and see in the district. Technology really allows us to engage with guests in a more interesting and meaningful way.

After the traditional vineyard visit, I would definitely suggest spending a day at WOW. It’s a good idea to choose one or two museums, do a workshop at The Wine School or at The Chocolate Story – the chocolate museum, enjoy a typical dish in one of our restaurants, appreciate the sunset in our Angel’s Share bar while drinking a Port Tonic and stay to be amused by the video mapping in our main square.

steel factory with chocolate dripping

The Chocolate Story Museum

LUX: What is a sustainable vineyard model and how are you working to secure the future of viticulture?
AB: We are committed to protecting the environment and the future of our vineyards and the Douro Valley where our family has produced Port wine for centuries.

Our sustainable model incorporates a number of techniques and strategies which work together to create a balanced, diversified and sustainable vineyard environment. The basis of the model is the construction of narrow terraces each of which supports only one row of vines.

People sitting at tables in front of a large window overlooking a city

The view from Angel Share’s Wine Bar

This model was awarded the prestigious BES Biodiversity Prize in 2009, which recognises achievement in the fields of conservation and environmental sustainability.

In order to encourage industry change on a global level we established the Porto Protocol – the wine industry’s climate action network. Since our first summit in 2018, we have brought together more than 230 wine and wine adjacent companies from 22 countries to share solutions to combat climate change in the wine industry.

LUX: This year you have opened a new museum with a ground-breaking exhibition from TATE at the Atkinson Museum, what was the strategy behind that?
AB: The vision of WOW is to bring a totally new set of cultural concepts to Porto. The new exhibitions, especially the Atkinson Museum, reinforce this destination as a “must visit” hub for international travellers.

At the centre of WOW is the Atkinson Museum. Originally built in 1760, we have meticulously restored and modernised the space to meet international museum standards and attract exhibitions from the international art pool.

A sculpture of a hand pouring wine into a glass

Adrian Bridge has a private collection of 2,000 vessels and glasses which tell the story of  the evolution of drinking vessels from earliest civilisations to the present day with some of the collection dates back to 7,000BC

Our most recent exhibition, The Dynamic Eye was produced by the TATE Collection and featured over 100 works from 63 artists – this was the largest number of works travelling from TATE to Portugal. This is an amazing example of the quality of major exhibitions we are bringing to Gaia.

The idea is to bring new and different major international exhibitions, such as The Dynamic Eye, every year.

Read more: Italy Art Focus: Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

LUX: How can cultural philanthropy shine a light on the house values?
AB: As a family business, we are built on a set of strong shared values. We are continuously seeking opportunities that align with our core values. At the moment, one of my key priorities is sustainability in the wine industry and coming up with new ways to create new industry practices.

a blue map on the floor in a room that looks like a boat

Porto Region Across the Ages Museum

LUX: What would you like to be remembered for?
AB: When I came to live in Porto in 1994, I came to into a Port Wine Trade that was very traditional. Our company helped to consolidate that industry and lead it forward, not least with the innovation of various new styles of Porto. This was an achievement and in doing this I hope that I will be remembered for helping to enhance one of the greatest wines and wine regions in the world. This also includes putting Porto on the map as a destination and through that work we have helped to stimulate the development of the town and create jobs and wealth. However, I will probably just be remembered for altering the city centre through the construction of The Yeatman and WOW.

Find out more: fladgatepartnership.com

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A swimming pool surrounded by a hotel trees and hills and fields
A swimming pool surrounded by a hotel trees and hills and fields

Glorious exteriors at the Como Castello del Nero, Tuscany

In the fourth part of our luxury travel views column from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Como Castello del Nero, Tuscany

What drew us there?

What didn’t draw us there would be the more pertinent question. This 12th-century castle hotel is on a ridge overlooking half of Tuscany. In the far distance to the north, you can see the domes and spires of Florence; on another ridge to the south, the terracotta shapes of Siena. Both are a short drive away. In between are hilltop villages, and what seems like an endless expanse of forest, vineyard, field and wild boar.

How was the stay?

Our favourite spot was at the northeast corner of the extensive outdoor pool. It is on a terrace that drops away to fields and villages below. At the pool edge is a huge old oak tree, and we set our sun loungers to its left for a view of the hotel, the pool or the Tuscan wilderness, depending on how we turned our heads by a few degrees. The breakfast terrace, relatively newly created in a refurbishment by Como Hotels and Resorts, is a few metres away and has a similar view.

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Or perhaps our favourite spot was above the pool on the higher terrace leading to the hotel. This is a huge space, with sofas, chairs, planters and shrubs. The panorama stretches outwards and upwards, as this is an excellent observation station for shooting stars in summer.

A beige bedroom with white curtains around windows

The ancient-meets-modern elegance of the Loft Suite

The Castello has a couple of different wings that feature stylish and softly pared-back rooms and suites. Ours was in a corner on the ground floor, with views out and down the slopes.

A decision on whether or not to leave the hotel each day was a question of one irresistible urge meeting a countervailing irresistible urge. We resisted the temptation to visit Florence, but did drop by Siena, a pleasant 25-minute drive away. We enjoyed being back at the hotel for champagne as daylight disappeared.

Read more: The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, Review

There are innumerable wineries to visit in the surrounding Chianti region: you feel you could jump into them from the terrace. Of course, that would be too much effort and the option we preferred was to sit and enjoy the magical views and order wines to come to us. The hotel has decided not to mess around with the food.

A table and chairs in a wine cellar

Atmospheric dining in the Wine Cellar

Some of the best ingredients in the world, from olive oil to meat, cheese and fruits, speak for themselves at breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the Michelin-starred La Torre, guests can dine on the terrace in summer, while Pavilion offers all-day alfresco summer dining.

Anything else?

Italy is full of ancient buildings that have been converted to hotels with views. But there is nothing quite like the Como Castello del Nero.

Find out more: comohotels.com/tuscany/como-castello-del-nero

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A woman wearing a white and blue dress sitting on a blue and white sofa
A woman wearing a white and blue dress sitting on a blue and white sofa

Hilary Weston, at home in Windsor

As co-founder of Windsor, a private residential community along Florida’s Treasure Coast, Hilary Weston is also Creative Director of The Gallery at Windsor. The serial philanthropist and scion of the retail family talks to LUX’s Candice Tucker about contemporary art, community, creatives – and why she pays no attention to the art market

LUX: What do you hope to achieve in art?
Hilary Weston: Art has been part of the fabric of Windsor since the community’s early days [Weston founded Windsor with her husband Galen, who died in 2021]. Over the years, The Gallery at Windsor has developed a reputation for staging exhibitions that present the very best of contemporary art. This latest exhibition by Sir Tony Cragg continues our desire to present the talents of some of the most important contemporary artists of our time.

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LUX: How is the art-collecting community growing in Windsor?
HW: The Gallery at Windsor is at the heart of Windsor’s Cultural Art Programme, which encourages all Windsor members to participate in the arts, whether it be contemporary art in the gallery, performing arts, film or literature. I hope the success of the gallery has contributed to the culture of collecting at Windsor. Many pieces from the gallery’s exhibition series have remained at Windsor in our members’ homes. We are just over a two-hour drive north of Miami – a global capital for contemporary art, and the energy of Miami can be felt in Windsor, especially around Art Basel Miami Beach.

A wooden sculpture and a red sculpture on podiums next to eachother

The Gallery at Windsor was founded in 2002, as an independent art space

LUX: How did you create your art initiative?
HW: We staged our first exhibition in March 2002. It was a photography show called “The Beach”, curated by Bettina von Hase. It explored the relationship between beach and society through the eyes of a range of artists including Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Robert Capa, David Hockney and John Baldessari. Over the years we have shown Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Weber, Peter Doig, Alex Katz, Per Kirkeby and Christopher Le Brun. In 2011, the gallery began a three-year collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery to realise exhibitions by Beatriz Milhazes, Gert and Uwe Tobias and Jasper Johns. I was particularly proud of our three-year collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts, from 2018 to 2020. We showed Grayson Perry, Sir Michael Craig-Martin and the wonderful Rose Wylie. The sight of Grayson in his fabulous outfits electrified the community. He brought his family and they stayed a week. Everyone had such fun getting to know them.

LUX: How involved is your family in Windsor?
HW: While I am the Creative Director of The Gallery at Windsor, it was my daughter Alannah who founded it in 2002. I admire her creativity hugely. When a growing family and business commitments began to take up more of her time, I took over the reins of the gallery. As Principal of Windsor, Alannah is leading the final phase of its development – a 47-acre swath of land adjacent to the country’s first protected wildlife preserve and the banks of the Indian River Lagoon. The North Village will include 40 residences, wellness amenities, a heightened attention to sustainability and an outdoor art programme.

A group of people standing together, one in a bright pink dress and another in bright green

Christopher Le Brun, Grayson Perry, Hilary Weston, Tim Marlow, Philippa Perry and Galen Weston, in front of Grayson Perry’s Comfort Blanket, at The Gallery at Windsor, 2018

LUX: Name five people you think are having the greatest impact on the art world right now.
HW: There are so many wonderful people creating art and leading the art world. Working with two world-renowned art institutions, the RA and Whitechapel Gallery, and art-world leaders such as Sir Christopher Le Brun and Iwona Blazwick has enabled us to welcome incredible artists, some in the earlier stages of their career, such as Ed Ruscha and Beatriz Milhazes, who went on to enjoy amazing success.

LUX: What effect do you think bringing major artists to Windsor has on the community?
HW: We believe culture is a crucial part of the spirit of a community, so it is natural that art and artists have been part of the ethos of Windsor. The gallery extends past our gates to the local Vero Beach community. We open for public docent-led tours two days a week. The tours are complementary and we accept donations for our charitable foundation that supports local arts education. We have strong ties with the area’s arts organisations and hold an ongoing roster of collaborative cultural events with them. We are proud and privileged to be able to introduce an artist of Sir Tony’s calibre to our membership and the community at large.

A sculpture beside red paintings

Part of Windsor’s fine arts programming has included collaborations with organisations such as the Whitechapel Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London

LUX: Which new artists do you admire now?
HW: There will always be brilliant artists at any age who are under-recognised and then something just happens. The gallery here is known for showing some of the art world’s greats, but we aim to celebrate artists at whatever point of their careers. In the past few years, I have become acquainted with a young Irish abstract painter named Jack Coulter. His layered works are inspired by music. I visited his exhibition at Sotheby’s this past fall and a piece inspired by an album by the Anglo-Irish punk band The Pogues caught my eye. I think Jack is someone to watch.

LUX: The art-market peak has been called many times over the past ten years. Will it peak?
HW: I don’t follow the art market too closely. Markets go up and go down. I believe art is important to our lives and the market will do what it does.

LUX: What differences have you noticed in the new generation of collectors?
HW: My feeling is they are open to a more diverse range of practices. There are some interesting things being done in digital and performance art. It’s an area we’d like to explore more.

A beige statue on grass with palm trees around it

Views from The Gallery at Windsor’s major 2023 exhibition, “Tony Cragg: Sculptures and Works on Paper”

LUX: What’s next for art at Windsor?
HW: As a new generation joins the community, my hope is that art continues to be an important part of life at Windsor. We have many members who found Windsor through its art programme. With our planned outdoor art island, it is exciting to wonder what is in store for the future here.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf: The best art shows this season

LUX: Where will the next US art hot spot be?
HW: Toronto is not in the US, but it is one base of the Weston family, and I’m proud and impressed by its metropolitan and welcoming outlook. With the success of the Toronto International Film Festival and new art fairs, it is an art hot spot that should not be overlooked.

LUX: What would you change in the art world?
HW: Wouldn’t it be wonderful for the focus of discussions to return to art and artists, rather than market and prices?

Find out more: windsorflorida.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A messy bar that says 'Roth Bar' on it
A messy bar that says 'Roth Bar' on it

“Roth Bar” Hauser & Wirth St Moritz, 2022-2023, by Björn, Oddur and Einar Roth

As Vice President of Artnet, LUX Contributing Editor Sophie Neuendorf has a unique view of upcoming events in the art world. Here is her pick of seven shows to visit this season
A blonde woman wearing a brown jacket with her hand together

Sophie Neuendorf

“Roth Bar”, Hauser & Wirth, St Moritz 
This is a fully working bar designed by Björn, Oddur and Einar Roth, son and grandsons of Dieter Roth, who first ideated the bar in the 1980s. Presented alongside a rare self portrait by Dieter Roth, this Alpine gallery iteration is a dynamic and ever-changing installation and an example of the Roths’ cross-generational practice. This exhibition uses the gallery’s ground-floor space as a hub for music, talks, readings and simply getting together.

Until 9 September 2023; hauserwirth.com

“After the Mediterranean”, Hauser & Wirth, Menorca
This profound exhibition is curated by Oriol Fontdevila. It features seven artists whose works address the human and ecological challenges affecting the Mediterranean region, as well as the human capacity to solve them.

A woman running on an open path wearing a red jacket and purple bottoms

Excerpt from The Dido Problem, 2021, by Huniti Goldox

An island in the sea with a house built on it

Hauser & Wirth Menorca, Illa del Rei

Until 29 October 2023; hauserwirth.com

“Basquiat x Warhol. Painting Four Hands”, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris 
Not only is this an incredible space (designed by starchitect Frank Gehry), the exhibition promises to be one of the most notable of 2023, with the dynamic duo having created more than 160 artworks together. Also featured will be individual works, and pieces by major figures such as Jenny Holzer and Kenny Scharf, to evoke the energy of New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s.

A drawing of two men's faces with crazy hair, one in a blue background and one on a yellow background

Dos Cabezas, 1982, by Jean-Michel Basquiat

A warped shaped glass building with a pool in front of it

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Until 28 August 2023; fondationlouisvuitton.fr

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“Georgia O’Keefe: To See Takes Time”, MoMa, New York 
Following the Thyssen-Bornemisza’s survey in 2021, this exhibition explores a different side to the groundbreaking modernist. O’Keeffe is known for her unique paintings of desert flowers and cow skulls, but MoMA focuses on abstract works on paper made with watercolour, pastel, charcoal and graphite, with associated paintings shown alongside.

A red and yellow circle painted above a green and blue line on paper

Evening Star No III, 1917, by Georgia O’Keeffe

A building with a white exterior entrance

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Until 12 August 2023; moma.org

“Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody”, The Broad, Los Angeles 
Astonishingly, Haring has never been given a museum show in the City of Angels. Inspired by Haring’s personal journals, the exhibition will highlight his engagement with social issues, such as nuclear disarmament, capitalism, apartheid and the AIDS crisis. There will also be interactive elements, such as a gallery infused with the sounds of one of Haring’s own playlists.

A red and black painting of doodles

Red Room, 1988, by Keith Haring

A triangle shaped white building on a busy road

The Broad, LA

Until 8 October 2023; thebroad.org

“Marina Abramović”, Royal Academy of Arts, London
I am a huge fan of Marina Abramović, so I’m thrilled she is getting a major retrospective at the RA in London this autumn. One of a number of artists, including Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, who experimented with using the body as a medium in the 1970s, Abramović pushes physical and mental boundaries to explore themes of emotional and spiritual transfiguration. The show includes physical performances of iconic works.

A woman with her hair back wearing a white shirt

Portrait of Marina Abramović

An old style building with a Union Jack flag flying on the top of it

Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, London

23 September-10 December 2023; royalacademy.org.uk

“Women Masters, Old and Modern”, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional, Madrid
From this autumn, the Thyssen-Bornemisza shines a spotlight on ten women artists across four centuries, including Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt and Sonia Delaunay. Curated from a feminist perspective, the show focuses on groups of artists and gallerists who shared values and socio-cultural conditions and were able, despite the patriarchy, to establish alternative gazes.

Read more: Patrick Sun on LGBTQ artists in Asia

An old painting of a woman wearing a red dress showing her leg

Portia Wounding Her Thigh, 1664, by Elisabetta Sirani

A building with a large tree on the side of it

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional, Madrid

31 October 2023-4 February 2024; museothyssen.org

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A man in a suit looking at an artwork on the wall
A man in a suit looking at an artwork on the wall

Patrick Sun at the exhibition “Myth Makers – Spectrosynthesis III”, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong

One of Asia’s bravest, most significant and most understated art philanthropists, Patrick Sun speaks to LUX about the challenges LGBTQ artists face in Asia, and who he is collecting

Patrick Sun has a light touch. When we bump into him at an art event in Singapore, he chats joshingly with some of the other collectors and exchanges thoughts on which parties to attend, or avoid. But his mission is anything but light.

A Hong Kong native, educated in Canada, Sun made his fortune in property development in his home territory, all the while turning his attention to philanthropy with a purpose. His Sunpride Foundation supports LGBTQ artists and art in a region where they have traditionally been sidelined or suppressed.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Sunpride has supported and co-hosted a series of shows entitled “Spectrosynthesis”, which started as the first LGBTQ themed exhibition staged in an art museum in Asia. Sun collects art from Asian artists with an aim to support LGBTQ creators. Beneath the light touch is a serious purpose, and an awareness of the suffering many LGBTQ artists face, particularly in more conservative Asian cultures.

A painting of two men with a white flower on one's face and a pink flower on the other's

Hollyhock and Pure Daisies, 2020, by Yue Minjun

Sun chatted with us after our meeting in Singapore. He has raised a great deal of awareness in a short space of time, but there is a long way to go in a continent where homosexuality is illegal in several countries, and has a cultural stigma in others.

LUX: What recent acquisitions are you most excited by, and why?
Patrick Sun: I can think of two that are each significant in their own way. First, Yue Minjun’s Hollyhock and Pure Daisies: a portrait of gay icon Leslie Cheung and his partner, which features two flowers that are not supposed to bloom in the same season, representing the love between a couple who are not “meant” to be together. Second is Visitors by Bhupen Khakhar. We have always wanted to collect Bhupen Khakhar‘s paintings, but since his retrospective at Tate Modern in 2016, good works are rare to come by and prices have skyrocketed, often reaching several times the high estimate at auctions.

A woman wearing a gold dress and crown standing with two other people

Artist Ming Wong, Patrick Sun and artist Korakrit Arunanondchai at the “Spectrosynthesis II” opening party, Bangkok, 2019

When we saw Visitors, a beautiful painting that was to be auctioned in London, we asked for a private viewing and got to meet a Sotheby’s expert, Ishrat, who is passionate about Khakhar’s work. The painting shows the artist lying on his deathbed, revisited by spirits of past friends and lovers. Ishrat shared how Bhupen didn’t paint any explicit scenes concerning his sexuality until his mother passed away. She got emotional as she related the story and it also brought tears to my eyes, because it dawned on me that the year my mother died was the year I started Sunpride. Ishrat and I cried on each other’s shoulders and did the utmost to help us procure the work, concluding the purchase just hours before it was supposed to go under the hammer.

A painting people in a box

Visitors, 1998, by Bhupen Khakhar

LUX: Do you only collect works by LGBTQ artists?
PS: As illustrated by the Yue Minjun work, the answer is no. We also collect works by straight artists that explore a queer theme. It is important to have such representation, so that nobody needs to be labelled or “outed” through their participation in our collection or exhibitions.

A man in a pink jumper sitting down speaking to someone wearing a blue jumper and grey gilet

Patrick Sun with collector Rudy Tseng

LUX: Is real progress being made on LGBTQ affairs in Asia?
PS: Progress often comes in ebbs and flows. On the whole, I see more progress than regress towards the queer community. Take Hong Kong as an example: on issues such as spousal visas, taxation and housing benefits, there has been some advancement in the right direction. Just in February 2023, transgender people scored a victory in gender status on identification documents. I remain optimistic things will change for the better.

a person walking in an art gallery

Installation at “Spectrosynthesis II”, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 7/F, BACC, 2019

LUX: Do artists of all types have more freedom and creativity than a few years back?
PS: I am not in a position to answer for all artists, but for queer artists in Hong Kong I believe the answer is affirmative. In recent years, we have had more LGBTQ themed exhibitions, both in public and private spaces. We have also seen more presentation of such works in art fairs and galleries.

Two people speaking to each other by a wall with a picture of a beach and paintings on top of it

Sun with artist Yuki Kihara at Kihara’s installation, Paradise Camp, New Zealand Pavillion, 59th Venice Biennale, 2022

LUX: What are the most exciting places in Asia for art?
PS: I think Hong Kong and Tokyo are two very exciting cities to focus on. Art Basel returned to Hong Kong in full force in March 2023, and the excitement was palpable and invigorating. I also have very good feelings about Tokyo when it comes to queer art: the sentiments are ripening for a more diverse and inclusive society, and a new art fair will take place in July 2023.

colourful embroidery and bowls laid on the floor

Installation view featuring Conundrum Ka Sorga (To Heaven), 2019, by Anne Samat, at “Myth Makers – Spectrosynthesis III”, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Hong Kong, 2022

LUX: Singapore is getting a creative glow, but will it catch up with Hong Kong for art?
PS: I have never felt there is a need to pitch one city against the other. If there is competition I believe it would be a healthy one. The market in Asia is certainly big enough to accommodate two or more art hubs.

A man in a blue jacket speaking to a man in a brown jacket

Patrick Sun with collector Disaphol Chansiri

LUX: Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the future of creativity in Asia?
PS: I am by nature an optimist, and I believe that a positive attitude helps attract the right energy, especially creative energy.

LUX: What are the most interesting advances in digital art?
PS: Interactive installations and generative creations are two developments I find most interesting. Both use technology to reach beyond capabilities of the human mind.

A man wearing a red and white turban in a dessert

Patrick Sun

LUX: Will AI kill art?
PS: I see AI as a way for humans to explore new horizons and perspectives. It is a collaboration between human and machines rather than a rivalry. I believe AI can enhance our artistic culture and diversity instead of diminishing it.

LUX: How have events in the past couple of years affected your mission?
PS: Our mission remains unchanged since the foundation’s establishment in 2014, but Covid has inevitably affected some plans. Our most recent exhibition, “Myth makers – Spectrosynthesis III”, at Tai Kwun, Hong Kong, was meant to be held concurrently with Gay Games in Hong Kong, originally planned for 2022. We were aiming for synergy between arts and sports to enhance acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

blue screens with people in a black room

Passion, 2017, by Jun-Jieh Wang, at “Spectrosynthesis”, MOCA Taipei, 2017

Gay Games postponed its event due to the pandemic, but we decided to stay put. With Covid-related curbs, it was also difficult for our curatorial team to reach out to overseas artists to commission works and to get them to fly here for installations.

Read more: Art Dubai opens in support of South Asian artists

However, staging the exhibition in Hong Kong, where our curators and myself are based, helped to minimise the impact of this issue. There was actually a sliver lining, because we benefitted in having a broader local representation; more than one-third of the artworks presented in “Myth Makers” were created by artists based in Hong Kong.

Find out more: sunpride.hk

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A painting of a devil with red, green and black paint dripping on the canvas
A painting of a devil with red, green and black paint dripping on the canvas

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Devil), 1982. Private Collection; © 2023 Phillips Auctioneers LLC, all rights reserved; © Estate of Jean-Michel
Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Eight monumental works created by Jean-Michel Basquiat when he was 21 years old are brought together for the first time in an exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, institutional partner of Swiss luxury watch brand Richard Mille. By Darius Sanai

What is it about Jean-Michel Basquiat that continues to captivate, 35 years after his death in the summer of 1988 at the age of 27? His art, for sure. Although he wasn’t quite the global superstar he would become after his death, his art was recognised at the time as being original, monumental, complex, important.

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Then there are the societal and political themes. Born to a Haitian father and a mother born to Puerto Rican parents, Basquiat was, and arguably remains, the only black artist to have achieved global superstardom. The representations of racial oppression in his works came less than 20 years after segregation – a form of apartheid – was formally abolished in the US.

A painted black canvas with bits of blue and a devil with his hands in the air wearing red

Jean-Michael Basquiat, Profit 1, 1982. Private Collection, Switzerland © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo by Robert Bayer

And then there is the social context. Although many of the themes in his work are deadly serious, Basquiat was a pioneer and a high-flier in perhaps the most exciting art scene that has ever existed in the western world, that of New York during the birth of hip- hop, punk, new wave and rap. He was friends with Andy Warhol, sold his first painting to Debbie Harry (for $200) and made music with some of the biggest names in the emerging hip-hop scene. Basquiat was friends with Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash, as well as a punk-art crowd at the Mudd Club and CBGB. He also had a good fortune, or misfortune, to shoot to fame during one of the art world’s biggest booms, which subsequently went bust not long after his death of a death heroin overdose.

The 1980s are, in many ways, when the contemporary era began, and Basquiat, and graffiti poet, musician and multimedia artist, was a fresh symbol of the era, both in his works and his vivid social life, making Warhol at the time seem old and outdates to many. There is also the fact that Basquiat was making art in parts of New York that were run down to the point of abandonment – this is a city that declared bankruptcy in the 1970s – and which are now the site of the homes of wealthy art collectors, who may have been children when Basquiat’s legend was being established.

A yellow and blue painted canvas with a black painted woman and a body on the side

Jean-Michael Basquiat, Untitled (Woman with Roman Torso [Venus]), 1982. Private Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo by Robert Bayer

Basquiat’s life itself seems to be out of a fictional movie so cruel it could not be made. Inspired in art and poetry by his moth, who subsequently disappeared into a universe of insanity; a poet writing on walls with a sharpness of words and perceptiveness that could shock society; a socialite and charmer so handsome he was asked to work as a catwalk model and who counted himself as Madonna‘s first boyfriend; an artist of such originality and brilliance that his work s have grown with time; and a young man with countless pressures pressing down on him who died of a drug overdose in new York’s 1980s peak.

Ultimately, it’s all about the art, as this monumental exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland, demonstrates. “Basquiat: The Modena Paintings” showcases eight huge canvases, all over two metres by four metres, created by the artist when he was invited to create works in the Italian city in 1982, at the age of 21. Already a celebrated name on the contemporary art scene, Basquiat was invited to Modena by the Italian gallerist Emilio Mazzoli, who provided Basquiat with a warehouse space to create work for an intended solo exhibition. It was not a happy time for Basquiat, who later commentated, “They set it up for me so I’d have to make eight paintings in a week”, adding that working in the warehouse made him feel like he was in a “sick factory”. He made eight paintings, before a disagreement between the artist’s representative and Mazzoli led to the cancellation of the exhibition. The gallerist paid Basquiat for his work and he returned home.

A painting of a stick man with a body and top hat in black on a pink and blue painted canvas

Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Guilt of Gold Teeth, 1982. Nahmad Collection © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo by Annik Wetter

It took time for the eight works to find homes – astonishingly, in retrospect, as they are now considered some of his greatest works, perhaps his greatest. The exhibition at the Beyeler was the first time they have ever been reunited and shown in one place, and the location is highly apposite. In 1983, a year after his unhappy trip to Modena, Basquiat was invited by Ernst Beyeler to take part in the exhibition “Expressive Painting after Picasso” at his gallery in Basel – a Basquiat work was on the cover of the exhibition catalogue. Years later, in 2010, the Fondation Beyeler, of which luxury Swiss watch brand Richard Mille is an institutional partner, held the first major museum Basquiat retrospective.

Read more: The Richard Mille Art Prize with Louvre Abu Dhabi

We can only imagine what Basquiat – who would be in his sixties now – would have produced had his life not come to such an early end; what contributions he would have made not just to the art world, but to the broader world of the arts – to poetry and to society as a whole, as perhaps the first celebrity contemporary artist. But in these canvases in Basel, his power and brilliance are compelling.

Find out more: fondationbeyeler.ch

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Reading time: 4 min
A woman wearing leaves
women in purple dresses playing violins outside an old Italian building in a courtyard

Black Rabbit Projects perform during the Golden Vines Awards Ceremony and Closing Gala Dinner. Photo by Pietro S. D’Aprano

British businessman Lewis Chester created the most glamorous event in the wine world. He reveals the history and inspiration for the Golden Vines awards
A man wearing a white shirt and necklace standing in front of bottles of wine on shelves

Lewis Chester. Photo by Murray Ballard

My wife, Natalie, hates going to wine events. She finds them boring. Stiff, average food, staid surroundings, too much wine talk, too little fun. For me, as a self-professed wine geek, and longtime collector and lover of all things wine, there was only one way of getting Natalie to a wine event: create one for her. Incredible venues, world-class entertainment, classy crowd, elevated but fun atmosphere – and amazing food and wine.

So it is because of my love for Natalie that Golden Vines, which I started in 2021, is now widely regarded as the world’s best fine wine event. For me, topping last year’s second edition in Florence will be no easy task, given the incredible locations like Palazzo Vecchio, wines like Château Cheval Blanc and Dom Pérignon P2 and entertainment including Celeste. But this is no frivolous activity: we raised over £1 million for the Gérard Basset Foundation to fund educational programmes around diversity and inclusivity in the wine, spirits and hospitality sectors.

Someone pouring a green bottle of wine into a glass with a man sitting at the table

Dom Pérignon held a Masterclass event around the award ceremony

Wine has been an interesting life journey for me. I grew up in a teetotal household in North London. As an undergraduate at Oxford University, to my surprise, no one offered me drugs and I couldn’t find someone to sell me any. So, I created a wine club and never looked back. Then, while studying for an MBA at Harvard Business School, I founded The Churchill Club, a wine, whisky and cigar club.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

We were the first American university to be sponsored by the Cuban Government to learn about cigars, even though we had to fly from Montreal to Havana as travel from the United States was banned. Post-graduation, I returned to London and started collecting fine wine and rare whisky. My best friend, Jay, is a huge wine collector, and he got me interested in Burgundy wines which is still my favourite wine region. As I like to say, ‘all roads lead to Burgundy’.

People standing by a bar next to a vineyard

The Marchesi Antorini private visit and lunch that took place around the awards

In the late 2000s, I read an article about Gérard Basset, the only man to hold both the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier qualifications. Gérard had also won the World’s Best Sommelier Championships at his sixth attempt and founded the wine-inspired hotel group, Hotel du Vin. (He had also mentored many of the most prominent sommeliers, restaurateurs and hoteliers working in the UK and France today.) I decided to cold-call Gérard who, to my surprise, answered the phone and invited me down to his hotel, TerraVina in the New Forest. From that moment on, we became close friends and began travelling the world of wine together. Gérard took me to Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Piedmont and Tuscany. The doors always opened for Gérard, which gave me unique access and insight into the wine world.

A dinner table with candles and a large chandelier hanging above it

The Marchesi Antinori dinner

Gérard had more wine qualifications than anyone else on the planet. So, after much prodding and encouragement, he convinced me to study wine. “If you want to become one of the world’s great wine collectors”, he told me, “you need to study wine”. I passed my WSET Diploma, won a number of scholarships along the way, and then he pushed me to study for the Master of Wine. At that point, my wife, Natalie, told me “no way”. (Having later read an article showing that there was an usually high divorce rate among those who study for the Master of Wine, she was probably right.)

Gérard was disappointed, but he suggested we start Liquid Icons together as “my alternative MW”. We had no idea what we would do with the company, but thought we would figure it out as we went along. Sasha Lushnikov had been introduced to me by a school friend as a super smart, young entrepreneur and I had brought him into one of my other businesses. I asked Sasha – who, at the time, had no wine knowledge or experience – if he would be interested in being involved in a wine venture with no business plan, no business model and no idea as to what we would be doing. He eagerly accepted!

A lit up red room

The Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships awarded £55,000 each to three BAME/BIPOC students studying for the Master of Wine or Master Sommelier programmes

The journey began, as it usually does for me, over a drunken long lunch. I had been hosting an annual La Paulée (after-harvest) lunch party for my friends in the wine industry. We decided to poll them on who they thought was making the best fine wine in the world, as well as their views as to future industry trends. Sasha and I then wrote a report called The Global Fine Wine Report based on the poll findings which we distributed for free – another consistent theme of Liquid Icons’ business dealings!

At around this time, Gérard had called me to complain about various ailments, including continuous back pain. After undergoing various tests, he rang to give me the bad news. He had esophageal cancer. I knew enough about this horrible disease to know the story wasn’t likely to end well. And so did Gérard.

people standing outside a conservatory in uniform

The Dress to Party Charity Gala Dinner took place at Tepidarium Giacomo Roster

Over the next two years’, the renamed Gérard Basset Global Fine Wine Report grew and grew. Hundreds of fine wine professionals – Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, merchants, brokers, sommeliers, media and press – contributed to the Report’s findings. Unfortunately, Gérard’s condition – after a brief period of remission in mid-2018 celebrated with a wine dinner at my house on a lovely June evening – continued to worsen.

cases of wine and a red wheel

Wines and champagne served at the event include those from Château d’Yquem, Dom Pérignon, Dom Pérignon P2, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Echézeaux Grand Cru, Harlan Estate, Krug Grande Cuvée, Krug Vintage, Liber Pater, Taylor’s Port 50-year old Tawny and many others

In early January 2019, Gérard asked me to come down to see him at the hospital in Southampton, knowing it would be the last time that we saw each other. After a few hours of reminiscing, he motioned to his wife, Nina, to leave the room so we could chat. As he asked me to keep the conversation confidential, I have never disclosed it to anyone, other than to say that it was Gérard who was the inspiration behind the Golden Vines and the Gérard Basset Foundation. Gérard passed away on Wednesday 16 January 2019. He was 61 years’ old. His passing was greatly mourned by the entire global wine and hospitality industry.

four men and a woman holding awards

The 2022 Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships was awarded to Jarret Buffington, Sandeep Ghaey and Carrie Rau

From that point on, I was on a mission to create a lasting legacy for Gérard, and one that would involve Nina and his son, Romané. I just didn’t know what it was going to be. Sasha and I had many ideas. But none of them stuck. Then, in early June 2020, we went to lunch with my friend, Clément Robert MS, who was running the vast fine wine programme for the Birley Clubs and Annabel’s. Getting mildly drunk over a vertical of Trimbach’s legendary dry Riesling, Clos Sainte Hune, I started to pitch the outline idea for the Golden Vines. “Dude, why don’t we take the winners in the Gérard Basset Global Fine Wine Report, and create the Oscars of Fine Wine? It’s never been done before. And let’s do it in a way that Natalie will want to come”. Sasha then suggested we raise money for charity in Gérard’s name, which was the hook that took this from a drunken thought to the exciting idea that we had both been looking for since Gérard’s passing.

A woman wearing leaves

The Gérard Basset Foundation was set up to honour the legacy and memory of Gérard Basset OBE MW MS by addressing the wine industry’s most pressing issues of diversity and inclusion

Clément loved the project and introduced me to Richard Caring, the billionaire tycoon of Annabel’s Private Members Club in Mayfair. Richard agreed to give us use of the Club pro bono for the new charity. Simultaneously, Nina and Romané agreed to get the paperwork started to form the Gérard Basset Foundation.

Read more: A tasting of Vérité wines with Hélène Seillan

We chose educational programmes aimed at diversity and inclusion in the wine (and later, spirits and hospitality) sector as we thought that it was a huge problem in the industry and one that Gérard would have keenly supported. Nina reached out to Jancis Robinson and Ian Harris, CEO of the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust, and soon the Foundation was formed with a great group of Trustees who all knew and loved Gérard; and the rest is history.

A man holding a cocktail to his lips

Gérard Basset © Liquid Icons

The third edition of Golden Vines will be held in Paris in October this year. Like most of the best things in life, entry is expensive, but the £10,000 ticket price will be covered alone by the pouring of Liber Pater, the world’s most expensive red wine on release (€30,000 per bottle).

A woman in a pink dress singing on a stage whilst people sit at tables around the stage

Celeste’s performs during the Golden Vines Awards Ceremony And Closing Gala Dinner at Palazzo Vecchio, 2022. Photo by Pietro S. D’Aprano

Culinary creations will be provided by a collaborative ‘Four-Hands’ partnership of legendary three Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse and two Michelin star chef Akrame Benallal, one of the rising stars of the global fine dining scene. Interestingly, Ducasse will actually be cooking, a rarity for the man with more Michelin Stars in front of his name than anyone else. Family-owned cognac house, Camus, have created an exclusive old cognac blended by the other half of the chef duo, Akrame, only available for those attending the event.

There are two galas, taking place at the marvellously exotic Musée des Arts Forains (Museum of Fairground Arts), Les Pavillons de Bercy and the Opéra Garnier. There will also be masterclasses from some of the biggest names in the wine world.

Find out more: liquidicons.com

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Reading time: 9 min
two men standing next to a woman wearing a red dress
two men standing next to a woman wearing a red dress

Left to right: Philanthropist Durjoy Rahman with collector Maria Sukkar and LUX Editor in Chief, Darius Sanai

In the fourth of our series of online dialogues, Maria Sukkar, one of the most significant collectors in the UK and Co-Chair of the Tate Middle East North Africa Acquisitions Committee, speaks with philanthropist Durjoy Rahman, moderated by LUX Editor in Chief Darius Sanai. Their wide-ranging conversation covers the need to support artists from your place of origin, the western eye, and the emergence of new art powerhouses, among much else

LUX: Durjoy, you are from Bangladesh and Maria, you are from the Lebanon. Is it important to you to collect art and to support artists from your home countries?

Durjoy Rahman: I’m based in Bangladesh, but with collecting I extend to a broader South Asian perspective. We were an undivided subcontinent before partition in 1947, and to understand the development of art in the region, we must understand that context. My collections also include the diaspora of South Asian artists in Europe and the Americas, and artists from other regions whose practice have relevance to South Asian practices. Bangladesh has a long history of art but, because of colonialism – Bangladesh did not become independent till 1971 – much of our culture was lost. I recommend that collectors from this region start their art and philanthropic activities here, to restore lost heritage and give future generations evidence of our identities and history.

A painting of lots of people huddled together

Festival by Shahabuddin Ahmed a Bangladeshi painter whose works are part of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation’s Collection

Maria Sukkar: I agree. I also think you gravitate towards artwork from your region because it tells your story, and it helps define who you are. I started collecting on a small scale with my husband when we were married 25 years ago, but when we moved to London it snowballed, and we collected art from everywhere. Maybe my relationship with Middle Eastern art intensified because it reminded me of things I love about my roots. I believe collecting art from the region one comes from adds a beautiful layer to your life.

LUX: Is there a dialogue between South Asia and the Middle East in terms of art?

DR: I believe so. The Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE did a Pop Art exhibition last year, “Pop South Asia”, and the curator included work from my collection because it represents the development of Bangladesh art specifically, but also relates to the South Asian stream, going beyond to MENA and on to the European school. We collaborated with Art Dubai this year, and one of the curatorial topics was food politics and identity. We featured the South Asian famines of 1944-45, and how the colonial powers orchestrated them.

MS: From my experience in the Gulf, Dubai, UAE and now in Saudi Arabia visiting the Islamic Arts Biennale, there has been a huge effort to showcase different talents and disciplines, and there are fewer and fewer taboos. What you see is impressive and sometimes daring. They are mixing media and there is a lot of photography and textiles, and very impressive installations.

A black and white photograph of a woman in a shirt and black skirt next to lots of small photographs on a gallery wall

Maria Sukkar’s ISelf Collection displayed at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, showed many works from Akram Zaatari’s The End of Love series

LUX: What’s the best way for influential collectors, like yourselves, to support artists today?

MS: First, collecting an artist’s work opens doors for others to see them, and displaying works at your home with work by artists from other regions means people see the works in a different light. Secondly, if you can bring an artist to an overseas residency, they can do research, meet new people, visit new institutions and museums and return home feeling culturally enriched, ready to explore other avenues and create great work. Thirdly, you can sponsor shows abroad, both financially and by organising events around them. A fourth idea is to host events for visiting artists. When I know a Lebanese artist is coming to town, I open my home. Finally, if an artist is representing your country at a biennale, support them. It’s a great way to show your country exists. Putting a pavilion together costs a lot of money, so supporting the artist elevates them and makes some noise, enabling people to learn about your country and your artists.

DR: I would just add to support emerging curators as well as artists. And one important addition to the art ecosystem would be to support publications, so curators are aware of developments and practices of artists in the region. Publications will remain as archival facts, which are very much missing in South Asia – and much needed.

gold pillar with faces on it

An Eye for an Eye, 2008 by Ayman Baalbaki, ISelf Collection

LUX: Is the art world still judged via the lens of the Western eye, or are artists being validated via another lens that doesn’t require Western perspectives?

DR: I call it the ‘Western gaze’. The Western art ecosystem has developed very structurally, it is very professional in exhibiting and documenting what it has, and Western art education is very forward-thinking. So, the West has had the liberty to look at the South Asian ecosystem however it wanted to, and it has been West looking at East. But this has been changing in the past decade with so many developments in these regions – the Biennales, Desert X, museums and major art fairs. These activities are important catalysts to changing the Western gaze and shifting things so that the East also looks at the West. The West is also sometimes dependent on what is happening in the Eastern art market.

MS: In recent years, with the mushrooming of art fairs and the changing communication between countries and organisations, the Western gaze has subsided. If you walk, for example, through the Tate display rooms, you see the artwork is grouped thematically, not chronologically or by country, so you see artists from different countries side by side. So, I personally do not see that sort of Western look at Eastern art.

A painting of the bank of a man hunched over wearing red trousers and a white top

Untitled, 1994 by Hassan Jouni, ISelf Collection

LUX: Is there a barrier to people becoming artists in MENA and South Asian countries? Is there a taboo, that you need to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer?

DR: When you become a professional, you know you have a career path that will give you a living. Being an artist is tough, a lottery. Even in Europe, an art career was traditionally supported by the wealthy, such as the Medicis, because they knew artists needed support. So an art career was challenging a thousand years ago and it is challenging now. Maybe it’s more challenging, because today you have a lot of eyes looking at you from different perspectives – a contemporary perspective, a social perspective, an activist’s perspective. I think it is more of a difficult life than a taboo or social restriction.

MS: Being Lebanese, I think people of my generation would have found it difficult to choose a career in art. You had to pick a profession that would put food on the table. And I agree, Durjoy, sometimes it’s a lottery, sometimes you cannot find your niche. There’s a lot of competition and you can spend your life not making it. But I feel there are more opportunities for our children to be successful artists today. The question is, do we let our children follow their passion, or do we still dictate what they should do?

A painting of a blurred figure

Gandhi-IV by Shahabuddin Ahmed. Part of the Durjoy Bangladesh Collection

LUX: Many women drive the art world in the West, but the societies we are discussing are often patriarchal. Has that been detrimental to artistic development?

MS: I think patriarchal societies have left so many interesting women artists in the dark for such a long time. But hasn’t this been the case at the West as well? Look at amazing women like Louise Bourgeois, who had retrospectives in their late years. I noticed the power of women in Saudi, where they are incredible – a force – and one has no idea until one visits. If you look at the directors of many major UK institutions now – Tate, Whitechapel, Nottingham Contemporary – they’re women. Then there is the book by Katy Hessel, The Story of Art Without Men. So the tide is turning, but it will take time because change takes time.

DR: The South Asian art ecosystem is very much influenced by female curators, gallerists and collectors. If you name the top curators from South Asia, more than 60 per cent are female. There is a South Asia male dominance but, in terms of creative matters, if you have talent, if you have the energy, nobody can stop you. And I think women are ahead in our part of the region in art-related philanthropy.

A painting of a tree

Cedar, 2009 by Nabil Nahas, ISelf Collection

LUX: In the 1990s, there was much less global awareness about these regions artistically, and that has changed beyond recognition. What will these regions will be like in the next 30 years?

DR: Today, you could say the European art hubs are Paris and London; in America, New York and LA. In the future, I don’t think there will be major hubs, because so many things will happen across the globe. We will be more diverse, and there will be developments in technology and in the transmission of information. So, I think there will be a global platform in 30 years, not a specific centre like the Gulf, or South Asia or Europe. You will be a player in a global arena without regional or continental divides.

MS: I think what’s helping this is the curiosity the West has towards the East. Don’t forget these countries were very private for many reasons. Art from Asia and the Middle East was not always something you would see on museum walls in the West, but this exchange and curiosity is allowing people to visit, to come back with things, to unify countries. I think we’re on the way.

Find out more:

durjoybangladesh.org

www.tate.org.uk/acquisitions

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Reading time: 8 min
a man wearing a pink jacket standing by a pink wall with his arms folded
a man wearing a pink jacket standing by a pink wall with his arms folded

Nachson Mimran, co-founder and Creative Executive Officer of to.org, and Creative Director and Chairman of the Board of The Alpina Gstaad

Impact entrepreneur, tech investor, art collector and philanthropist: Nachson Mimran wants to change the way we invest. Here he shares with LUX what is exciting him now

To.org, a platform that Nachson Mimran co-founded in 2015 with his brother Arieh, might be the most influential collective you’ve never heard of. Using the collective descriptor Creative Activists, this motley crew of VC investors, philanthropists, activists, futurists, kids and creatives have orchestrated provocations with social and cultural purpose and to drive change.

Children dancing outside on the grass with clouds in the sky

Members of the community who will benefit from to.org’s Music and Arts Centre at the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Photo by Estevan Padilla, courtesy of to.org

These include 2022’s The Throne, a waste- plastic 3D-printed port-a-potty, installed next to a demountable Jean Prouvé house in the gardens of The Alpina Gstaad, which provokes visitors to consider waste plastic as a resource to solve global issues such as the lack of sanitation infrastructure. Then there’s 2019’s Naughty Barbie, whose creation provoked Mattel to confront its use of virgin plastics and its role in the global scourge of ocean-destined plastics. Alongside his work with to.org, Mimran is Creative Director and Chairman of the Board at The Alpina Gstaad, and Provocateur in Chief of several organisations, including Extreme E.

Every

a white dripping icing on a diamond shaped object

Courtesy of EVERY CO.

For me, a brand is changemaking if its product overlaps with the UN’s SDGs and delivers something people need. Every creates animal-free proteins, such as Every Egg White , which behaves exactly like animal-derived egg white.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Chef Patrick Lassaque used it in macaroons at Chantal Guillon, San Francisco. Every also launched , a vegan, zero-sugar beverage with a gentle alcoholic kick.

theeverycompany.com

SPAARKD

A woman wearing a white sleeveless hoodie

Sleeveless hooded sweater by Grounded Absurdity. Proceeds from sales will support creatives in northern Uganda’s Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. Courtesy of SPAARKD

SPAARKD is a new platform from the team behind Pangaia, which aims to democratise the $3T fashion industry and eliminate the harmful materials and production practices of the fashion world. SPAARKD gives anyone the opportunity to create their own products, based on SPAARKD’s designs and Pangaia’s eco-materials library, without the typical barriers such as minimum orders and complicated logistics. Using SPAARKD, we launched Grounded Absurdity. Proceeds from sales of our first drop supports creatives in a refugee settlement.

www.spaarkd.com

Mamou-Mani

A white cup on a straw mat

Courtesy of Mamou-Mani Ltd

Arthur Mamou-Mani is an eco-parametric architect who uses materials such as fermented sugar and wood as sustainable materials in digitally designed architecture and 3D print furniture.

Read more: Jean-Baptiste Jouffray on the future of the world’s oceans

I have huge admiration for his designs, his commitment to sustainability and innovation, and his belief in making cutting-edge fabrication available to us all, as seen at FabPub, the digital fabrication lab he founded in London’s Hackney.

mamou-mani.com

Care.e.on

green and brown mini skincare bottles on an orange background

My friend Madison Headrick launched this on-the-go luxury skincare range. It’s a game changer for people who travel a lot, and for those of us who pack light for the gym. Care.e.on is cruelty free, removes the hassle of decanting products and packaging is sustainable. The En Route Essentials 5pc Kit is my go-to for long flights.

careeon.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 3 min
Dark red splattered paint on a canvas

Iris Study No.7 18 x 26cm Oil on Canvas

Artist, W.K. Lyhne speaks to Maryam Eisler about her latest body of work, Stabat Mater, where she explores  the treatment of the female body throughout history

ME: Can you talk to me about how the concept of post-humanity has informed your latest project?
W.K. Lyhne: As you know, Humanism as a concept emerged at the time of the Enlightment, that Man was at the centre, instead of religion. Man was the measure of all things and this was exemplified in Da Vinci’s image of the Vitruvian Man. But the concept of Man excluded more than it included. It was defined by what it is not. It was not, the racialised or sexualised ‘other’, it was not people of colour, people of sexual difference, Jews, children, animals, the disabled, women. There are two examples at the time, often cited, that show this so well. The French writer, Olympe de Gouges, part of the French Revolution who responded to the Revolution’s Declaration of Human Rights of 1789, by writing the Declaration of Women’s Rights in response. The regime guillotined her almost immediately. Another example is from a biography that I’m reading at the moment of a man called Toussaint Louverture, known as the Black Spartacus. He was involved in the overthrow of slavery in Haiti at the same time as the French Revolution. He was imprisoned by Napoleon and died in captivity. We are all equal, but some more than others.

W.K. Lyhne photographed by Maryam Eisler in her studio

When you came to my studio we spoke about Mary, who is given to women as a pedagogue of what women should be: this passive, two-dimensional, non-complaining, virtually mute figure. Mary speaks four times in the Bible.

Marina Warner, says Mary is ‘alone of all her sex’ and this is accurate. She’s not male and she’s not really female. She never processes through the normal animal functions of women. She doesn’t have sex, she doesn’t menstruate, she doesn’t age, she doesn’t perspire, she simply doesn’t change – exactly the same static figure all her life, biddable and mute. Yet she remains the ultimate woman and mother.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Alongside this I’m looking at animals in art that are supposed to represent ‘us’ – our mortal selves. But what is this humanity the ‘us’ that they are trying to represent? Often they are done through the agency of the Church. Like the Flayed Ox , meaning Christ, done by many artists, Soutine, Bacon, Rembrandt, Saville, and the Lamb of God, also Christ, Van Eyck and Zubaran. For this I’ve been looking at actual sheep, the lamb, through this lens. In my recent work is connecting the anachronized figure of Mary with the anachronized image of the lamb.

A painting of a naked woman lying down

Once Upon a Time (Met Him Pike Hoses)

In the case of Mary, it’s a patriarchal story designed to oppress. The cult of Marianism is very much admired in countries where docility, passivity, and service to your man, whether that’s your priest as a nun, or your husband or your father, are admired. In many Catholic countries, these are espoused as ideal characteristics for women.

a painting of a woman lying down naked with her breast on show

Once Upon a Time (Met Him Pike Hoses) detail

In the case of the lamb, I’ve noticed when you look into a field of sheep they are not just sheep, they are a field of ewes. Of mothers. Have you’ve seen a ewe with its fluff removed? Sheared they are very mortal looking. Matronly, exposed and not at all like the furry shorthand of sheep at all.

A woman standing by a chimney in a dirty white jacket with art works around her

Photo by Maryam Eisler

ME: Talk to me about religion.
WKL: I’m not religious. I used to believe in God, I think I used to believe the whole religious story. I don’t anymore. I did believe there was a maker at some level. But last year in Greece on a residency at the British School, I looked closer at other stories from earlier cultures. Isis, Osiris, Cronus and Rea, Baucis and Philemon etc. All the stories are so similar to our own bible stories. Ours, like theirs, are just a version.

What interests me in the image of the animal in the Lamb of God, is that it has not changed since Roman times. It hides in plain sight. It’s on menus, it’s on football shirts, it’s everywhere, but nowhere. It’s part of our visual vocabulary, but what about the animal behind it? The image moves from livestock to Church pin up, like Mary, a girl of Galilee to the Queen of Heaven. What is the meaning behind it? In the case of Mary, it’s a patriarchal story designed to oppress women. I fail to see how anybody could not be interested in religion, in the sense that these things inhabit our collective and national consciousness. They’re all there, where you’re aware of it or not, they never go away.

A painting of a mythological creature

Stabat Mater 111 (John Moores) 120 x 160cm Oil on Canvas

ME: It’s very inspiring and you could aspire to it, but then the underlying factors are something different.
WKL: Yes, it’s exactly so. And it’s very seductive. Religious imagery and sacred music accompany you at some level from birth to death. They are very comforting and at ceremonies they offer the element of sobriety. The music particularly is incredibly beautiful and it has such credibility. People want to believe in something.

ME: I think there’s that: fright and hope. I always say religion, gives you hope, and it also frightens you from doing something that’s not right in case you get punished. I suppose it keeps you in the straight line.
WKL: Agree. It gives you a place to occupy, certainly. Rituals to navigate the unrelenting chaos that is life. I’m looking currently at Aby Warburg, the German art historian, who created this idea he called pathosformel . This he intended to mean the emotionally charged visual trope that recur throughout images in Western Europe. The idea is that certain images have a shorthand to connect with feelings, a visual mnemonic if you like. I am trying to see if it’s possible to find a new pathosformel , that represents some of those things that are excluded from the definition of humanity. This is not men-bashing or even only feminist – I looking for something more complex, something more nuanced, I guess.

Photography of W.K. Lyhne’s studio, in the home of one of her collectors, by Maryam Eisler

The Age of Enlightenment Man has the poster boy of the Vitruvian Man. Vitruvius – the heteronormative, able-bodied, ethnocentric, handsome, young, powerful man – who stands outstretched, in his symmetrical nakedness. This image of what “human” is, has now left the bounds of this earth. It is sewn onto the uniforms of NASA‘s astronauts and it flies on the flag on the moon.

ME: It’s interesting that they’ve chosen that to put on the moon. Who have they put that for? It’s a representation of mankind but not humankind.
WKL: Yes, very much so. We need images that are more enabling, more complex. The pandemic showed us more than anything else, we’re all in this together. But we’re not the same. There are people without sanitation, girls without education, people without rights. The voiceless, the unheard. I’m very interested in this idea of voice and the scream that can be seen but can’t be heard. That is some of what the triptych at the Zabludowicz Collection are about. These and other one, in the John Moores Painting Prize shortlist, are also connected with the unrecognisability of relationships within the maternal framework . How despite a child being from your body, the relationship never settles, can be often disjointed, always in flux. But as always it’s also about the possibilities and suggestibilities that paint can offer.

Three paintings next to each other

The triptych on display at the Zabludowicz Collection

ME: Are you showing whole triptych at the Zabludowicz Collection?
WKL: Yes, until 25th June.

ME: Talk to me about that wonderful image of Jesus. The long one and your versions.
WKL: That is a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, done in 1521 and its hangs in the Kunst Museum in Basel. Last year, it was 500 years since it was done. Holbein represented an incredible departure from what had gone before – he’s a very fine painter. Some people believe it was a predella, the section at the bottom of an altarpiece and that’s why it’s long and thin – one foot by six feet, thirty by one hundred and eighty centimetres. I just prefer to think that Holbein decided to make this incredibly controlled environment using a long piece of wood for a painting surface – an enclosure, where this piece of corporeality was going to exist and that corporeality was the corpus of Christ. The Christ you’ve killed. The dead man. The squashed man. The emaciated man. The human man. There was a lot being written about the fact that he was just like any man and not sacred enough. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Donatello exhibition in the Bargello. It’s now on at the Victoria and Albert Museum, but I saw it in Florence last year, and there’s a great fuss at the time at Donatello’s wooden Christ didn’t look ‘Christ-like’ enough. He was too ordinary. Brunelleschi said, like a tradesman and not holy enough. And there were similar concerns over the Holbein Christ; he got a corpse and worked from that – all too human.

A woman standing behind a painting

Photo by Maryam Eisler

I became very interested fabric during the pandemic – I did this program to support a project of the charity Action Aid, they supply sanitary products to vast parts of the world, particularly Africa. One of their projects addresses period poverty. Half the population of the world menstruate, that’s how we procreate the species, but for too many, it’s considered problematic, disgusting, full of shame, stigma.

During lockdown, when we were all kind of sent home and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves in our domestic environments. The fabric of what surrounded you took on a new importance. Fabrics are concealing, revealing, inside the body, outside the body, covering up for it, it’s quite a female concern. I started to paint these fabrics, ordinary everyday fabrics of the home, worn thin by wear and touch, on cotton rag paper, also blobby and worn. The paper made in India by a programme called Khadi. These start with ragpickers – women generally – who take the discarded fabric and bleach them with peroxide to make paper from them. The oil leaked out of my paint onto the cotton paper, all speaking to the materiality of the project and subject matter. The idea, called On Rag (an old-fashioned British term for having a period) was circular: I painted them on this cotton rag paper made by women and sold them and the money went to buy paper products for women in.

A painting of a woman and clothes on a bed

She Banks Down Fire (after Hans Holbein the Younger)

That was the project I was working on when I decided to paint a version of the Holbein. Working away from a studio meant working in the bedroom. In London I sleep in a box bed. What is shown in She Banks Down Fire is my own box bed, underwear, used tissues, discarded knickers, damp towels. Holbein’s Christ has a dark blood caked on a wound made by a spear, mine the more humdrum monthly sanguine staining. The ridged hollowness of Christ’s ribcage, are the spines of underwire, the stiff black hair, is see-thru nylon.

Simone De Beauvoir says that women are made from Adam’s supernumerary bone, that humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him. He is the Subject , here like Christ, she is the Other. Jonathan Jones, the journalist from The Guardian, wrote about Holbein’s Christ that there is nothing Christlike about this body, nothing to set it apart. It is anyone’s corpse. But as you know, this is world in which the women all live, all women, every month, every child is a reminder of the mortal, bloody, messy, fleshy real.

Then I did a second version one with a female figure. It’s called Once Upon a Time: Met HimPike Hoses. The female figure is naked, incredibly skinny, very, very narrow – the way women are supposed to be and not take up much space. Unusually for me, I’ve painted the model very elaborately and hyper-realistically. In that particular picture she’s lying on this very girly kind of 1960s see-through negligée, recalling the heritage of porn star bedroom glamour, that women are heir to.

The title is two fold, the first being the princess in a box, awaiting a man’s kiss so she can flourish – here pushing her toes against the glass ceiling.

A painting of a person in a white dress

Stabat Mater 1 Oil 120 x 160cm on Canvas

The second is referring to the word ’metempsychosis’ the supposed transmigration at death of the soul of a human being or animal into a new body, which the character of Molly uses incorrectly (met him pike hoses) in James Joyces’ Ulysees. I used in the title here, because, not only is Molly a variation of Marian/Mary a.k.a Virgin Mary, but because the same narrative is given to girls since Mary and over centuries, reincarnated over and over – await your prince, don’t take up too much space, don’t leak, sweat or bleed visibly or have body hair, or opinions.

ME: What are your next projects or next areas of exploration?
WKL: A film project. LambEnt. I’m looking at the relationship between ewe and lamb and the sounds they make at a particular moment, again unnoticed and unrecorded, and reworking this as a feminist Stabat Mater.

A painting of a two men, one in an army uniform and one naked

Band of Brothers 18 x 24cm on Canvas

I don’t know if you know much about Catholic music, but there are various parts to a cathedral sung mass, one of which is the Agnus Dei, Lamb of God. Another part of Catholic musical liturgy is a song for Mary called Stabat Mater. In Latin this means ‘standing mother’. That’s what mothers do. They stand and they take it. Stabat Mater is Mary weeping at the foot of the cross, the only occasion where she is vocal. Mary’s relationship with her child is the only intimate experience in her life, like the ewe.

A painting of people sitting by a tree

Stick or Twist 60 x 80cm Oil on Board

For the film and music piece I’m making, I am working with actual sheep sound, farmers, animal neuroscientists, with zoomorphic and sacred composers and singers making piece of music to go between the Angus Dei and the Stabat Mater, called LambEnt. It is designed to interrupt the visual and musical canon. It is this voice of nature that is not noticed, not heard, that is the same voice of many that is not heard, particularly currently in Iran but across the world. A global noise. The unheard of all those excluded from the definition of Man is now added to our human species exceptionalism domination of the earth. It is this that has wrought global devastation.

Read more: An Interview with William Kentridge

It’s very exciting and very different for me, doing a collaborative project, because normally I can control what I’m working on. It will be a very short film but if we get it right it will hopefully be very beautiful and powerful and show what art can do. Make the hidden explicit, find the universal in the particular.

A mythological creature holding an animal's leg

Stabat Mater IV 125 x 165cm Oil on Canvas

ME: Can you tell me about your porcelain project?
WKL: Absolutely. Historically, those delicate porcelain figurines made by all the famous European companies, Meissen, Sevres and others, were brought out at the dessert course at grand dinner parties. They were designed to show how wealthy you were but also to be diverting and fun, play objects for the rich and jaded.

I’m so interested in these silly scenes that are depicted, at a time when there was such inequality, war, famine and violence. The shepherdesses and card players and cheeky smiling maids and soldiers in these porcelain groups, were existing at a time of rape, poverty, war, violence where even wealthy and well brought up women could be ‘beaten and flung about the room’ by her family, according to Virginia Woolf, for not agreeing to marry the man chosen for her. This one is called Band of Brothers. Rape has always been an instrument of war, but it also occurred casually and often, leaving occupied countries riddled with venereal disease and women who died in shame for being made pregnant. Many terrible things happened to women during wartime.

It’s an ongoing project, it never quite leaves me. I love the fact that you have to look twice to understand what is going on. The paintings are very small and I don’t normally work that size. They are oil sketches really. Again, it’s about collision to create new meanings. Of course, it’s wonderful to paint well and I get very ambitious for these porcelains to look lusciously real, but what they mean matter too. To me, only art can do this. Life’s too short not to care.

W.K. Lyhne’s works are on display at the Zabludowicz Collection in London until 25th June 2023

She is giving a lecture on her work at University of the Arts Inaugural Research Conference on 23rd June  2023, at Granary Square London.

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Two long tables in a room with a green light up sign for Richard Mille at the end of the room
Two long tables in a room with a green light up sign for Richard Mille at the end of the room

Dinner at the ceremony for the Richard Mille Art Prize, against the spectacular backdrop of
Louvre Abu Dhabi

One of the art world’s most prestigious awards, the Richard Mille Art Prize in partnership with Louvre Abu Dhabi, was this year awarded to a female artist in the Gulf. Darius Sanai visited Louvre Abu Dhabi for the big event

Under a starlit sky by the edge of the Gulf, two celebrated dancers are performing classical ballet to Beethoven‘s Moonlight Sonata. Two long tables of guests-art collectors, government officials, artists and watch collectors- look on, mesmerised.

The performance is choreographed and led by Benjamin Millepied, the renowned director, dancer, and choreographer (including of the film, Black Swan), and husband of film star Natalie Portman. His accompanying danseuse is Caroline Osmont, of the Paris Opera Ballet. The dance is short, but beautiful. When I ask Millepied afterwards how it is to create and then perform a routine to the Moonlight, which was not written to be danced to, he simply smiles, and says, “I liked it!”

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Memorable as it was, the dance at the gala outdoor dinner was just a warm-up for the main act: the announcement of the winner of one of the most significant art prize in the world-and quite possibly the most financially rewarding: the Richard Mille, art prize in partnership with Louvre Abu Dhabi. Worth $60,000 to the winning artist, the Prize, awarded by the uber-luxury, high-tech watch brand, also sees it ten shortlisted regional candidates display that works at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the local iteration of the fabled, Paris museum, whose collection sweeps from ancient Persia to Cy Twombly.

A white building by the sea

Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel

Louvre Abu Dhabi is the cornerstone of an impressive, new cultural district in the Emirate, which will soon house further significant museums, including a Guggenheim, and which is already home to the astonishing Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex, comprising a mosque, cathedral and synagogue (plus an education centre), devoted to the three major Abrahamic faiths and nurturing mutual understanding.

Earlier that day, we’d had a private tour of the new Louvre (which was closed to the public, as it is every Monday). The “Art Here, 2022” exhibition, housing, the shortlisted works, had pride of place in the museums Forum. The theme in this, the Prize’s second year, was “Icon. Iconic.“, a suitably art-world-gnomic concept allowing artists to exercise their full creative imaginations. Eight of the ten artists on the shortlist were female, and encouraging affirmation for women in these times.

A white room with light coming through a window

Between Desert Seas, 2021, by Ayman Zedani

The first work is so complex it required several minutes to negotiate and understand. Ayman Zedani’s Between Desert Seas approaches you visually as white salt on an internal roof; and then aurally, as a soundtrack that you quickly realise, is about the plight of the Arabian Sea humpback whale. Listening for a couple of minutes, between whalesong, you learn that these non-migratory whales are a unique species, derived from a pod that became separated from the rest of whalekind around 70,000 years ago. They have developed the own song and culture – and they are under existential threat. Global warming has acidified and poison to the sea, and the removal of water for desalination has made it more toxic.

coloured sheets on a table

Wall House, 2022, by Vikram Divecha

Wall House, by Vikram Divecha, is a proposal by the artist to remove and retain the walls of hundreds of houses in the region that are slated for demolition, and preserve them to show a portrait of our times has created by the houses’ inhabitants. The idea is illustrated by a 1:100-scale maquette, showing what is a large scale installation of this project could look like.

There was Sidelines, a work by Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan, celebrating the intricate heritage of weaving in Saudi history, lost when oil money started flowing in the 20th century.

A brown and cream tent

Sidelines, 2016, by Manal AlDowayan

Afra Al Dhaheri, an artist from Abu Dhabi, showed Weighing The Line, a striking workers, consisting of hanging ropes, pulled down by ropes on the ground-symbolising, in the artists’ words, social conditioning and constructs.

I was particularly struck by Xylophone, a work on pyro-engraved scrap wood by Elizabeth Dorazio, a Brazilian artist, now resident in Dubai. The artist said she wanted to make a statement that wood is a “vestige of excess extractavism”- and the work is quite beautiful and engaging.

UAE-born artist and academic Shaukha Al Mazrou created A Still Life of an Ever-Changing Crop Field, in glazing ceramic, inspired by crop circles, and “natures place in the world, invaded by human imprint”, one of the several environmentally inspired, works and beautiful as an installation.

A large wooden and tin pole

Camouflage: The Fourth Pillar, 2022, by Zeinab Alhashemi

Perhaps the most visually arresting work, Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life (after Zeid), is by Abu Dhabi-based artist, Simrin Mehra-Agarwal. It is a complex work that appears on first sight to be a tapestry. It is, in fact, made of graphite, charcoal, ink, primer, plaster, gypsum powder, stucco, acrylic, gesso, glue, sand, fibreglass, vellum, Mylar and paper on wooden panels. The artist says it “questions nature and its various states of bloom and decay within the context of the histories of war or neglect, as well as the contemporary issue of climate change”. Powerful, complex, at first sight, it looked like a maelstrom of clouds viewed from a satellite.

A woman in a floral dress standing between two men

Peter Harrison, CEO of Richard Mille EMEA,
and Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre
Abu Dhabi, present the 2022 Richard Mille Art Prize in partnership with Louvre Abu Dhabi to Rand Abdul Jabbar

Zeinab Alhashemi, an artist, based in Dubai, submitted the fourth pillar, from her camouflage series that featured at the celebrated DesertX AlUla. The pillar mimics the pillars at the gallery and, made of camel hides over metal rods, tones with the surrounding desert.

Standing by the ruins, the work of mosaic clay tiles by Dana Awartani, an artist based in Jeddah with Saudi and Palestinian roots, was visually striking on the lower floor. Awartani says she deliberately did not use the straw traditionally utilise in the region is tiles, thus allowing them to crack naturally overtime.

an artwork on the floor

Installation view of Standing By the Ruins, 2022, by Dana Awartani

Next to this work was a long plinth on which was displayed 100 of exquisite, intricate little glazed stoneware figures. In a panoply of colours and sizes, earthly wonders, celestial beings, featured, plays, on jugs, cups, human, and natural figures, that related directly as a modern take on Mesopotamian stoneware, including some in the new recollection. The artist, Iraqi-born Rand Abdul Jabbar, is based in Abu Dhabi.

people sitting having dinner in a room lit up with orange and yellow lights

Dinner in stunning surroundings

One of the most valuable art prizes in the world (if not the most back valuable); eight out of ten artist, shortlisted female; powerful themes of environmental loss; significant pedigree from all the artists and support and an exhibition at a Louvre. Why isn’t the Richard Mille Prize even better known, I pondered, while on my way to the prize giving event that evening?

A man and woman dancing on a stage

The ceremony, Benjamin Millepied and Caroline Osmont perform a
ballet choreographed by Millepied to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

Perhaps because the Middle East and Gulf region is relatively new to the contemporary art scene (they’re not the ancient art scene, in which it predates the West by millennia); or perhaps, because the Western eye does not yet quite respect this part of the East and its culture as it should. In any case, credit to the powerful French brand, the Louvre and iconic Swiss brand Richard Mille for making it happen.

The evening after the dance and a performance by Dutch singer, Davina Michelle, the winner was announced: Rand Abdul Jabbar is Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings. The artist was presented with the award and generous check.

ceramic coloured art pieces on a white table

Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings, 2019-ongoing, by Rand Abdul Jabbar

“Rand Abdul Jabbar delivered outstanding works at push the boundaries of contemporary creativity,” said Peter Harrison, CEO of Richard Mille EMEA. “This is a celebration of our tenure partnership with Louvre, Abu Dhabi, and 10 incredible artist from the region, whose work was inspired by their cultural roots.”

Read more: Deutsche Bank: The Art Collection You Didn’t Know About

The originality, power and scope of a generation of artist, based in the Gulf that had been made clear. This is a region that is artistically, on fire.

Find out more: richardmille.com/louvre-abu-dhabi

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 7 min
two men standing together wearing black
two men standing together wearing black

The conversation between Durjoy Rahman and Sam Dalrymple took place over Zoom. We have used artistic licence to create the photo montage above

In the third of our series of online dialogues, Sam Dalrymple, Activist and Co-Founder of Project Dastaan, speaks with philanthropist Durjoy Rahman about cultural reconnections post-partition, the importance of multi-cultural artists across borders, and the rapid shift in popularity away from the West and towards the East. With an introduction and moderation by Darius Sanai and created in association with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation.
Raghu Rai is a Magnum Photographer who chronicled the Independence war of Bangladesh in 1971 when the territory that was East Pakistan gained independence from what is now Pakistan. The Indian army ultimately came to the aid of Bangladesh after an enormous refugee crisis ensued. We present a selection of his works within this article

LUX: Sam, could you tell us firstly what sparked your interest in Partition and inspired you to create the ground-breaking ‘Project Dastaan’?

Sam Dalrymple: Project Dastaan began when my friends Sparsh, Ameenah and Saadia were at University chatting about the fact that everyone’s grandparents had migrated from somewhere in the Sub-Continent, and how bizarre it was that in the UK you could have the easiest conversations about this.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

When you are in India, it is difficult to chat to a Pakistani, when you’re in Pakistan it’s difficult to chat to a Bangladeshi as these walls have been built up in the Sub-Continent, so that it is actually in the former colonial power where it is easiest to talk.

There were conversations about how Sparsh’s grandfather had migrated from near Islamabad, in Pakistan, and here was Saadia who was from near there and could easily go and take pictures of his old house or temple which had been impossible for Sparsh’s family for 75 years. They had no pictures of it, no idea where they were from. The ease from a London standpoint to re-connect triggered the whole thing.

A man standing next to a monkey which is sitting on a wall in the street

Ayodhya, india 1993

The partition that is the cause of this fragmentation in India was, simply put, the largest forced migration in human history. In the course of a year what had been British India, was divided into two territories, which is now three – India and Pakistan, which later became Pakistan and Bangladesh. This was 75 years ago and for most of that time, most of the migrated people have never been able to see their homes again.

So it began as an attempt to use virtual reality to re-connect Partition survivors across borders, so if you came from Lahore and had migrated to Delhi, we would go out and find your old Mosque, your old school, your old house and, if we can, find any friends who you knew before 1947.

Crowds of people walking in a town

Chawri Bazar, old Delhi, India, 1972

We additionally wanted to translate some of these stories that we were hearing, into animations with a cross-border, collaborative studio in Bangalore and Lahore, which was in itself an attempt at cross-border with team members scattered from Bengal to Punjab. Then, we finally made a film called ‘Child of Empire’, which just premiered at Sundance. It is a VR mini-movie, a 15-minute animated journey through the Partition based on Sparsh’s grandfather’s story and another man who did the opposite journey. It is about these two men 75 years later chatting to one another and the therapeutic discussion of their two journeys which mirror each other in so many ways but, obviously, have been polarised so much over time.

LUX: In the context of Partition, what does Partition and its consequences mean to you Durjoy?

Durjoy Rahman: I come from a generation where it was my parents who had seen the displacement, twice. They were born during this time and have seen the consequences and the aftermath of partitions first hand. I grew up hearing everything that happened in 1947, the riots and so on. So between me and my parents we have seen the largest displacement in the history of these civilisations that happened in this region. These experiences have influenced me to do activities surrounding Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation heavily.

Mother Teresa putting her hands to her mouth in prayer

Mother Teresa at her refuge of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, during prayer, India, 1979

LUX: Do people have a strong sense of national identity currently? Would you say that this is down to cultural or religious differences?

SD: It is many differences and culture definitely plays into it. I think the memories of both ’47 and ’71 play into how people remember their pasts, but it is also a generational factor. The national identities are harder for the younger generation who never knew the other side of the border, whereas for a lot of people who migrated at the time nationalism was firing up these independence movements.

Art definitely plays into how we create a nation, with national anthems and the flag which of course crystalise these ideas of nationhood. What we’re seeing now is the crystallising of losing the generation who knew undivided India as undivided.

Some children sitting amongst ruins in a city

Imambara, Lucknow, India, 1990

DR: Nationality has always been an important element in the subcontinent. We always talk about India and Pakistan, but I would also include Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan in this context. Everyone holds their own nationalistic value to identify themselves and where they are from. But culture and religion, these two determined factors were also a factor when the British divided the subcontinent with the Muslims in Pakistan and left India where it was. A lot of people said ‘well, religiously you are all the same’ but religion is not the only deciding factor. We were culturally different so that was also important.

We are Bengali as Sam just said – we were never Pakistani, maybe we were all Muslims, but we were culturally different. So culture is a very important factor in defining borders and nationality. How you possess your cultural identity, this is what I believe defines you, and no matter how younger generations perceive themselves as a global citizen with a global identity, the identity borders will remain in our lifetime.

A woman sitting on a floor in a striped tent

Indira Gandhi at a Congress session, Delhi 1967

LUX: Sam, Project Dastaan is ultimately a unifying project taking people virtually across borders. How has it been received among the people you deal with?

SD: It has touched people because it was something they thought was impossible, to see their old homes. The key thing has been not trying to look at the big and complex questions of Partition – We’re trying to show conflict through the eyes of an 8-year-old child. The generation that is still alive were mostly 12 or younger 75 years ago. We’re trying to show it through the eyes of the generation who’s still around. One of the things they would want to see is their old playground, their old houses, and the things that everyone can relate to. I think addressing the conflict and the great divide through these memories and nostalgia can be very healing.

A man with his head leaning outside the window of a train

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (the Toy train), India, 1995

LUX: Durjoy, you wish to promote the art of people who may not have had a voice, without borders. How does that relate to the very definite borders in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India?

DR: Since DBF was established in 2018, our projects have been based on the concept of art without borders. We never considered ourselves a foundation that had originated from Bangladesh. We started working with creative personalities regardless of whether they were visual artists, musicians, literature backgrounds, performance artists and we did not consider which region they are from. We have always identified if their practice relates to the mandates that we are trying to highlight; displacement, disadvantage, ethnicity, some kind of challenge which probably obstructs their creative development. So, art without borders was our primary goal.

A woman pushing a heavy cart on a road

Woman pushing cart Delhi 1979

LUX: Sam, with Project Dastaan, what will make you feel like you have achieved your aim, what will you be doing in 5 years, 10 years?

SD: Who knows, is the answer! The big thing we’ve been working on is this particular year as it’s the 75th anniversary, and I think the aim has always been to raise awareness about what happened – the aim has always been to try and get people to record these stories, because they are disappearing rapidly. The foundation of our project has been oral history, and the contemporaneous generation is rapidly disappearing. I think we also have a particular aim within Britain, to get Britain aware of its role in the events.

LUX: Regarding artists and the film-making that you employ, was that something that you had conceived from the start that is not just a means of storytelling, but something that you want to focus on and encourage?

SD: With Project Dastaan, the aim has always been cross-border collaboration. For our animation teams, one of our animators had a family who fought in 71, another family was part of the trading diaspora across the Bay of Bengal. I think one of the interesting things is, and I’m not sure how deliberate it was, but the types of animators and the team we built around ourselves, seems to have brought in people whose stories kind of corroborate the stories we are telling.

People working in a field holding baskets on their heads

Hand building highway – Hydrabad, India, 2004

LUX: Durjoy, with regard to the next generation that you’re supporting in terms of art and culture, do you feel that there’s a role for creative practitioners to break down these borders?

DR: I would say that I am not only very hopeful, but I am very optimistic. In this post-covid scenario, in this globalised atmosphere, I personally believe that we were in the right moment where we could take the entire South Asian art movement to the next level. Now the West has started looking at the East. Of course, our foundation and activities focus on promoting artists from South Asia, but we have seen a massive global increase in interest for South Asian artists. I also believe that these artists will take great advantage from the rising virtual scene within the context of the more active online and digital art scene within the past two years.

SD: I think what you said then is exactly right. One of the most interesting pieces that I’ve read recently was by Fatima Bhutto in her book ‘New Kings of the World’, which talks about the shift in the past 20 years. The biggest film industry is Bollywood, the biggest TV industry is Turkey now and the biggest music industry is now South Korea K-Pop. I think there is a lot of hope and a lot of growth in the artistic sphere here. I don’t think that will necessarily mean the borders themselves disappear; I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think there’s going to be more collaboration, more interesting art pieces and more embracing of technology for it.

People moving in a station and a man reading a newspaper in the middle

Local commuters at Church Gate railway station. Mumbai, 1995

DR: Would you ever choose another region as your beaming point, other than India?

SD: I think the idea of virtual reconnections is something that you can use in an array of different countries, but we are so focused on areas affected by the Partition as that is where the personal connections of the team lie and a very specific area of interest where we can enact real memory connecting change. What’s unusual is that these countries are so close in so many ways, it’s just that trauma etc has left them severed from one another It’s a bizarre, specific situation that neither of them have ability for tourist visas, there’s no tourist visas for India and Pakistan, you can’t just visit, you have to have a reason and government approval.

Read more: Rana Begum and Durjoy Rahman on South Asian art’s global ascendancy

LUX: Possibly controversial, but I would love to hear from you both, what do you consider needs to happen for conceptions to really change around the Partition and affect the vast majority of the population?

DR: We have to perform what we believe and have to do what is good for the community, what is good for the region, despite what the supremacy wants to establish.

SD: I don’t think there is a simple solution, but I think that creating conversations and conflict resolution is always a noble aim. I think conflict resolution and actually talking about it is where to start, without bias and actually listening.

All images © Raghu Rai

Find out more: 

durjoybangladeshfoundation.org

projectdastaan.org

 

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Reading time: 10 min
A tree and the sun shining over a vineyard
A tree and the sun shining over a vineyard

St. Eden vineyard

Darius Sanai examines the creation of Bond, one of the world’s most desirable wines and brainchild of Napa Valley wine royal Bill Harlan, over a tasting with its winemaker

Legacy is an important concept in the luxury industry. In a world where perception and status form a fundamental part of a brand, legacy means stability, and retained value. A Ferrari derives its value partly from the racing Ferraris of the 1950s, now worth multimillions. A Picasso or a Matisse is valuable because the artists retained and enhanced their status long after they stopped producing works, though the legacy of their collectors and dealers.

The world’s great wine brands have long traded on legacy: indeed, they are among the longest-lived legacy brands in the world, Chateau Haut-Brion, owned by Prince Robert de Luxembourg, was name-checked by Thomas Jefferson, American revolutionary and one of the country’s Founding Fathers. Brands like Chateau Lafite, Chateau Petrus and Domaine de la Romanée Conti may be hot among a new generation of collectors, but they have been desired and collected by royals and the wealthy for centuries.

No watch, jewellery or leather goods brands can claim a legacy as long as the world’s luxury wine brands: Chateau Latour came to prominence as long ago as 1680, centuries before Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Patek Philippe or Rolls Royce existed.

vineyard with a tree

Vecina vineyard

Bill Harlan is the founder and owner of Harlan Estate, one of the wine world’s modern luxury brands, based in Napa Valley, California. Unlike certain luxury goods, whose brand equity can be created by the illusion of marketing, the status of a wine, as a consumable product, rests largely on its inherent quality. No amount of brilliant marketing will make collectors crave a mediocre wine.

Harlan’s wines rose to the top of the tree through their quality, and also scarcity: to this day, to secure a case or two of top vintages, money isn’t enough (although they are as expensive as any of the world’s top wines), you need contacts.

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Harlan stepped back and handed the reins to his son, Will, a couple of years back, although Harlan Sr is still involved in the background. And one of the founder’s most interesting moves was the establishment, in the late 1990s, of a sister estate to Harlan in Napa Valley: Bond.

Bond would make wines from specific vineyards, all planted with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, deemed by Harlan and his team to be the best of the best in the region. The stated aim was to create “Grand Cru” quality wines, from specific sites whose terroir – combination of climate, soil and positioning – had been analysed closely.

A vineyard with mountains and a lake in the distance

Melbury vineyard

Grand Cru is, itself, a challenging term in the wine world: in some places, like Burgundy, it generally denotes the very best, and most expensive, wines in the region and the world. In others, like Champagne, it is less meaningful, in Bordeaux the term “Grand Cru Classe” covers hundreds of estates at different levels, and in Napa it has no formal meaning at all.

But a self-certification from the Harlan family has a meaning of its own, given their position at the top of the Napa Valley wine tree. And Bond is all about legacy: just as Domaine de la Romanee Conti has been known as among the very best physical vineyard sites in Burgundy for centuries, so Bill Harlan’s stated intention is for Bond’s vineyard site to be known as the very best places to create Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley for hundreds of years to come.

And it takes many years to make, and judge a great wine: for a great wine is not one that tastes excellent when it is five years old, but one that develops and is magnificent when it is 50. So, the jury is by necessity still out, but that doesn’t stop us from dipping our toes in the judgement pool.

A vineyard surrounded by fur trees

Pluribus vineyard

With that ambition in mind, Darius Sanai settled down for a Zoom tasting with Max Kast, Bond’s Estate Director and Cory Empting, Bond’s managing director of winemaking, of wines from Bond’s five sites: Melbury, Quella, St Eden, Pluribus and Vecina. We have a little history here, because a few years back, Darius included a bottle of Bond Melbury in a tasting of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignons, which he hosted for the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan at the Four Seasons George V in Paris, which he chronicled in GQ magazine.The Bond wine was the overall winner in a field that included the likes of Chateau Lafite, Chateau Margaux, and California’s Screaming Eagle.

A man in a suit and red wine sitting with a glass of red wine in front of bottles of wine

Max Kast, Bond’s Estate Director

Empting is an engaging and self-effacing tasting host, without a hint of pomp or self-aggrandisement, despite the desirability of his products. He told LUX that he is constantly examining new sites, making wines out of them to assess their potential, to see if any other wines can be permitted into the Bond club. For the moment, there are five, all of them sharing power, finesse, and a sense of grandeur. Each subtly different in character, these are attention-seeking wines in that they demand your full intellectual engagement: they would be the centrepiece of any dinner, like an extra guest.

a man in a brown gilet and blue shirt standing in front of barrels of wine

Cory Empting, Bond’s winemaker

Although we will all have our favourites, it is not possible to choose an objective winner here: Bond wines are about the character of these ultimate vineyard sites in one of the very greatest wine growing areas in the world.

The Bond wines (tasting notes by Darius Sanai); in order of tasting, not of preference. All wines from the 2013 vintage.

Bond Vecina
A kind of wildness here, amid the grandeur and size. Very savoury, umami and smoked bacon with mulberries. Also a refreshing twist. My personal favourite, and one to sip, on a hilltop, alone, contemplating sunset over the distant forested hills.

Bond Melbury
Big and rich, but also stylish and layered, not overwhelming. This would be the Bond wine to serve to a lover of Chateau Margaux, to show California’s equivalent, before racing away the next day in your Ferrari GTO.

Bond wines: Melbury, Quella, St. Eden, Vecina and Pluribus

Bond St Eden
Fascinating wine: one we felt was being opened far too young. Very structured, concentrated, packed with nuance, shielded by a shell at the moment: stones, berries, plums, Mediterranean herbs, it’s all there. Decant it ahead of time and serve to a collector of Rembrandts, next to one of their Rembrandts. It’s that grand.

Read more: Chef Heston Blumenthal: The Culinary Resurrector

Bond Pluribus
Pluribus is so concentrated, so dense, that it would be the dominant factor in a meal of Simmental beef with foie gras and a béarnaise sauce. There’s a black fruit nature to this wine, with a kind of intense, graphite power, you feel you should write a letter with it.

Bond Quella
This fascinating wine was quite closed, almost light, on opening, but transformed in the hours after our tasting to have a Burgundy-style elegance and lift, along with a freshness of mountain river beds and plenty of dense fruit. We’d find the oldest vintage available to drink now, or buy a case now to drink in 2040.

Find out more: bond.wine

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Image courtesy of Aicon Gallery

Pakistani engineer turned conceptual artist, Rasheed Araeen, is using his geometric art to highlight racism and inequality. LUX explores the history behind his celebrated works
A man wearing a beige jacket and striped shirt standing in front of a geometric painting

Rasheed Araeen

Rasheed Araeen is now considered one of Britain’s pioneers of minimalist sculpture during the mid to late 20th Century. But during that period, he received little institutional recognition for his contribution to the modernist discourse in Britain. Araeen’s Pakistani background side-lined him as a non-European whose work was consistently evaluated within the context of post-colonial structures, which inevitably resulted in far less exposure.

A yellow, blue, red and black wooden clock with cut out shapes hanging on a wall and open sided cubes in blue, yellow, greed and red on the wooden floor

Black Square Breaking into Primary Colours, 2016, from the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

This latent racism led to his work in the 1970s and 1980s – in performance, photography, painting and sculpture – developing an overtly political content which drew attention to the way in which black artists were invisible within the dominant Eurocentric culture.

pieces of paper with colourful drawings stuck on a wall

Untitled, 2015

Araeen is now famously known for using geometric structures, in which vertical and horizontal lines are held together by a network of diagonals, to play on the links between Eastern and Western thought and the frameworks of social institutions and aesthetics.

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He often overlays his photographs within geometric structures, to further emphasise humans and the social structure in which they exist.

Rhapsody in Four Colours, 2018. Image courtesy of Aicon Gallery

Araeen comments, “I’m sick of the avant-garde and I want to get out of it. It is believed that the idea of abstraction is a twentieth-century phenomenon. In Damascus, it took place 1200 years ago. Nobody wants to hear about that in Europe.”

Read more: Behind The Lens Of Sunil Gupta’s Photographs

purple, green and orange triangles on a black and white diamond background

OPUS TD 3 (2), 2017. Image courtesy of Aicon Gallery

Through his artworks and books, Araeen has become a key activist in establishing a black voice in Britain’s art scene, publishing ‘Black Phoenix’ in 1978, and subsequently ‘Third Text’ in 1987, and ‘Third Text Asia’ in 2008. Araeen also founded Kala Press, to spread information and recognition of unacknowledged African and Asian artists in Britain who contributed to the development of post-war British art.

Rasheed Araeen lives and works in London. He is represented by Grosvenor Gallery.

This article was published in association with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

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Two men playing with a basket ball standing next to a van filled with basket balls
Two men playing with a basket ball standing next to a van filled with basket balls

The 2023 edition of Art Dubai will feature 24 Dubai-based galleries, the largest number the fair has ever had, reflecting the continued growth of Dubai’s artistic ecosystem and its increasing reputation as a global creative and cultural hub

The most significant art fair in the Middle East opened today with a focus on artists from South Asia. LUX reports on the multi-sensory experience that Art Dubai is currently offering to its visitors

Art Dubai has traditionally bee a blend of art from the Middle East from surrounding regions and the rest of the world. This year the focus is firmly on South Asia, specifically countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, whose thriving contemporary art scene is informed by ancient cultural and craft influences as well as much more modern societal conversations and clashes.

A woman looking at a red and pink light installation

Art Dubai is featuring over 130 contemporary, modern and digital gallery presentations from six continents

“South Asian artists are receiving reinvigorated attention on the world scene due to a new generation of collectors, artists and galleries. Many of the most interesting artists from the region have been creating significant works for years or even decades, as the recent Pop South Asia exhibition at Sharjah Art Foundation, hosted by Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, demonstrated. Although there is a current growing interest in South Asian art, it is also important for collectors to understand the cultural and historical nuances that inform it.”

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“People in these countries have been creating notable art works in a variety of mediums for a very long time and we should be careful to avoid a simplistic western-orientalist perspective that it is just being ‘discovered'”, says Durjoy Rahman, LUX partner, philanthropist and founder of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation.

A man looking at three squares of art in blue, yellow and purple

The 2023 fair includes over 30 first-time participants and more than 60% of the gallery programme is drawn from the Global South

Rahman’s foundation supports both the Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai.

The programme is unlike other art fairs, delivering daily performances and food-based experiences spanning Dubai to South Asia.

Read more: Rana Begum and Durjoy Rahman on South Asian art’s global ascendancy

People in costumes standing on a stage holding bowls of food

The focus on the Global South has been heightened by a new commissioned performance programme in partnership with leading South Asian galleries and institutions

The themes explored at the fair include those of community, celebration, hope and connection. Among the significant galleries involved in the South Asian focus at Art Dubai are Galleria Continua, Efie Gallery and Unit London.

Art Dubai is open from Wednesday 1st-Sunday 5th March 2023

Find out more: artdubai.ae

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Two men and two women standing around an award
Two men and two women standing around an award

Left to right: Kamruzzaman Shadin, Salma Moushum, Sangeeta Jindal and Durjoy Rahman

The Asia Society India Centre hosted their first in-person event since COVID-19 for the The 2023 Asia Arts Game Changer Awards in which the winner of the Asia Arts Future Award 2023 was announced.The event was attended by a diverse group of collectors, curators, artists, gallerists, business leaders, and global institutional heads

This year’s winner of the Asia Arts Future Award 2023 is the Gidree Bawlee Foundation of Arts.The Foundation was founded in 2001 by Kamruzzaman Shadhin and co-run by Salma Jamal Moushum in the village of Balia in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh. The organisation aims to develop artworks and projects that respond to local history, culture, and the environment. This is done through various social practices and community-focused activities.

An artwork of sculptures of people holding hands in a circle

Bhumi Project at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022/23. Image courtesy of DBF/GB

This award category has been supported the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) since 2020 for. Since 2019 Gidree Bawlee has been working with DBF on various projects. Kamruzzaman Shadhin was even a participant in the organisation’s first Majhi Art Residency Project in 2019 in Venice, Italy.

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In 2020, DBF collaborated with Gidree Bawlee Art Foundation, to create the “Bhumi” project which supported traditional crafts and workers in the Thakurgaon District during the pandemic. Subsequently, the works are currently on display at the Fifth Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Fort Kochi, India until April 2023.

three women and a man all wearing dresses and tunics standing side by side

Left to right: Salma Moushum, Varunika Saraf, Nilima Sheikh and Kamruzzaman Shadin

DBF also funded another exhibition with Gidree Bawlee Director, Kamruzzaman Shadhin, titled “The Elephant in the Room”.

Read more: Rana Begum and Durjoy Rahman on South Asian art’s global ascendancy

The exhibition was was hosted at the US Embassy and the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka in 2020 /21 and was later exhibited in D3 space during Art Dubai 2021.

Find out more:

www.gidreebawlee.org

durjoybangladeshfoundation.org

 

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vineyards and the ocean in the distance with mountains

Colgin Cellars was founded by Ann Colgin in 1992

One of the greatest of all American wineries, Colgin, makes sublime wines from distinctive vineyard sites, and is now majority-owned by LVMH. CEO Paul Roberts, himself a wine world superstar, takes Darius Sanai on a tasting of its great cuvées and chats about the importance of geography
A man standing with a wine glass on a balcony with a lake and vineyards in the distance

Paul Roberts

One of the most compelling things about wine, for any serious wine collector, is the dramatic differences that can occur in quality, reputation and price, between wines that seem, on the face of it, extremely similar.

Any admirer of luxury goods can see why a Patek Philippe commands a greater price than a Swatch. But with fine wine, you can often have several bottles that, on the face of it, all appear to be Pateks, yet with some costing a multiple of tens, hundreds and in some cases, thousands, of times the price of the others.

This is most famously the case in Burgundy: wines made from the same grape type, in the same place, sometimes just across the road from each other, or occasionally from adjacent vines, can command prices so different you might think one was made in a factory and the other from moon dust.

The alchemy here is a combination of what is known as terroir (a blend of the exact soil, the aspect of the slope, the nanoclimate, and so on) and the people making the wine: and the differences are greatest in the world’s greatest wine regions.

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Paul Roberts believes in the importance of all these elements, and he should know. His in the unique position of, firstly, being one of the most successful master sommeliers in the US – an “MS” being a notoriously challenging position to achieve, requiring almost unfathomable theoretical and practical ability; and, secondly, being the CEO of one of the world’s great wine estates.

A road going into the distance with vineyards on either side

The Colgin estate is made up of three vineyards: Tychson Hill, Cariad and IX Estate

If you have been brought up on a diet of Bordeaux and Burgundy, you may not know Colgin, Roberts’ estate in Napa Valley. But you should. Colgin is, along with names like Screaming Eagle and Harlan, at the top of the tree of American wines, and commands prices to match: the same as those of a Château Lafite or Cheval Blanc.

He is also, as I discover when we speak over Zoom for this article, as passionate about the specific geographies within Napa Valley as any Burgundy producer is about the inflections of the slopes of the Côte de Nuits.

A view of hills and vineyards with the sun shining on it

Tychson Hill was originally planted in the 19th Century and belonged to Josephine Tychson, the first woman to build a winery in the Napa Valley

Colgin wines come from three distinct vineyards sites in Napa: Tychson Hill, Cariad, and IX Estate. Roberts, quietly spoken – almost gentle – thoughtful, articulate, is very keen to counter what he thinks (and we would concur) is a widely held misconception that Napa is just one warm, sunny valley. “It’s a small wine region, and it’s also one of the most diverse places on earth,” he points out. Due to repeated volcanic activity over the aeons creating dramatic differences in soil (“we have more than half the world’s soils,” he points out), the proximity to the cold Pacific Ocean, the location and topography of the mountain ranges on either side and San Francisco Bay to the south, Napa Valley is geographically intricate – more so even than Burgundy, which famously lies on a leeward slope just south of France’s continental divide and at a location which allows it to benefit from various unique climate effects.

Roberts flies the flag for Napa’s diversity and distinctiveness, and also for the fact that Colgin is what it is, partly because of the three sites the estate has chosen to make wines from. IX Estate is the most southerly of the three: to a neophyte that might suggest it makes the richest wines, but the neophyte would be wrong. This vineyard is located at between 335 and 425 metres altitude up in hills on the east side of the valley, and it’s actually located beyond the first hillside ridge, which means it partly faces east.

vineyards and a lake with mountains in the distance

Cariad vineyard is located in the western hills overlooking St. Helena

Cariad is on the west side of the valley, a few miles away, on the hillside but at a lower altitude, on volcanic soils. And Tychson Hill is at the lowest altitude, on the hills outside the pretty town of St Helena, further north. North in Napa terms normally means warm, because you are further away from the cool of San Francisco Bay (of the famous sea fog), but a gap in the nearby mountains lets in cool air from the Pacific…

All in all, the permutations of climate (exact location) and terroir (general wine vibe) in Napa are almost endless, and enough to make Burgundy and Bordeaux plain by comparison. “We are fortunate to have three of the best vineyard sites in Napa,” says Roberts. Tasting the wines, below, we can only concur. Colgin wines have power, subtlety, length, and a kind of dreaminess that only really great wines achieve. We would rank them as high as any Chateau we have tasted from Bordeaux.

wine bottles on a table in front of trees

Colgin wines include Tychson Hill, Cariad, IX Estate and IX Estate Syrah

The Tasting
Notes by Darius Sanai

Colgin IX Estate 2018
Although it contains a similar blend of grapes to a great Bordeaux, this wine shows how Napa is a world unto itself. Drippingly hedonistic yet also beautifully balanced, it’s a bottle to share with great friends over dinner at Bacchanalia on Berkeley Square in London.

Colgin IX Estate 2013
Similar blend, from the same high vineyard over on the east ridge of Napa Valley; this, with the benefit of a little age, is showing itself like an arrival at a ball at Versailles taking off their coat and allowing a glimpse of the diamond necklace. Needs the respect of a delicately cooked cut of Kobe beef.

green rows of vineyards

There are huge differences in the soil around the estate due to volcanic activities

Colgin IX Estate 2010
Diamond necklace and also those bespoke, emerald-studded Louboutins on show. At 13 years old, this is a wine that just suggests what it will be like at 30. Gloriously complex, but we would wait another 17 years.

Colgin Cariad 2018
An extraordinary wine for its savoury, velvety, stone-infused decadence. If this were from Bordeaux, people would be talking about it as a peer of Haut-Brion and Margaux. Young but so drinkable. One for diner à deux in your Chateau in la France Profonde.

a birds eye view of a vineyard and a lake in the distance

IX Estate was carved into an east-facing slope overlooking Lake Hennessey

Colgin Tychson Hill 2018
Another utterly distinctive wine; Roberts points out the volcanic soils here on the western side of Napa Valley. Layers and layers of summer fruits, with a controlled punch, and freshness. We would have this at Christmas with closest family, at the Gstaad Palace, with Simmental beef and a light peppercorn sauce, girolle mushrooms, and truffled mashed potato. The food can’t overwhelm the wine.

Read more: A tasting of Dalla Valle wines with the owners

Colgin IX Syrah 2018
The outlier: from the IX vineyard, but made with Syrah grapes rather than the Cabernet Sauvignon blends above. Think of the greatest Hermitage wines but then amplify them through a Pivetta Opera sound system for richesse like you have never encountered. Extraordinary.

Find out more: colgincellars.com

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Two men in suits sitting under an umbrella
For the winter 2023 issue of LUX, rising star photographer Angie Kremer captured the stars of an emerging Parisian creative scene. Her evocative images and her interviews with these individuals explore their relationship with the city and its evolving cultural ambit

Tom-David Bastok & Dylan Lessel
Co-founders, Perrotin Second Marché, which offers collectors a bespoke alternative to auction houses

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed recently?
The art scene in Paris is becoming more dynamic than ever. Some say that the city is regaining its essential place after New York, following Brexit in the UK and the coronavirus pandemic. Paris has always played a key role in art – especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was the absolute artistic epicentre of the world. Therefore, what the city has lately been experiencing feels more like a logical return to its roots, rather than an unexpected change. Paris has been providing fertile ground for artists and international galleries that have just opened their doors – such as David Zwirner, Skarstedt, Mariane Ibrahim and White Cube.

Anthony Authié
Founder, Zyva Studio, a trans-design architecture studio

LUX: What do you find most exciting about what you do?
The thing I like the most about my job is the fact that you can practise it in different ways. Architecture is plural. You can talk about it, write about it, draw it, virtualise it. I’d really like to write an architectural novel, to be able to do 3D, create NFTs, launch a furniture line. I feel that I can constantly reinvent myself.

A man with his tattooed hand on his face

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
For someone like me, who loves clichés above all else, Paris is the city of love, while London is the city of punk. While the idea of being able to design rock ’n’ roll architecture appeals to me, I will always choose the love and romance of Paris. So, yes, Paris forever.

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
I think this is a fantasy. I often have the impression that the provinces tend to have a harder time accepting Parisians than the other way around. Paris can seem harsh, but I think it’s really more about openness than rejection. Let’s just say that you can’t be too sensitive to live and work in Paris.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Sidonie Gaychet
Director, 110 Honoré, a new Parisian cultural venue on rue Saint-Honoré

LUX: What will Paris+ par Art Basel bring to Paris?
Since 1974 Paris has hosted the unmissable event of the autumn season – the FIAC. Last year was a little different, since the slot at the Grand Palais Éphémère was been allocated to Paris+ par Art Basel. On the bright side, it attracted the highest crop of art institutions, collectors, artists and critics.

A woman with a black bob

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
The London art scene is very different from the French one. London has always been the wild child. Paris takes a little more time to open up. But when it does… A concept such as the one that we’re launching with 110 Honoré has already been somewhat tested in London or Berlin. However, we will bring a very Parisian twist to it.

Brice & Regis Abby
Paris-based twins, known as Doppelganger Paris, who are visual artists and DJ/ sound designers

LUX: What are your biggest challenges?
Before the pandemic we had two separate activities – music and the visual arts. We are working now to create a bridge between our iconographic references and our new musical and cinematographic projects. They deal with our childhood and a period of tension in Ivory Coast. Inclusivity and difference need to be heard and seen.

A man and woman wearing sunglasses

LUX: How has the Paris creative scene changed?
The pandemic changed the creative scene globally, and Paris has been touched by the same phenomenon. Many artists are part of that scene, but don’t live in Paris any more; they moved to the countryside. But the renewal is definitely there, with new galleries and creative agencies. It was a challenging time, because the culture was non-essential.

Sophia Elizabeth
Co-founder, Spaghetti Archives, which presents a monthly selection of archival fashion pieces around a given theme
Olivier Leone
Co-founder, Nodaleto, a made-in-Italy luxury shoe label

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
SE: They are two different cities, but I love London and the freedom people have in their style. They don’t judge and don’t care about judgment. I love the way the city always evolves. But to be honest, I am a true Parisian.

OL: My fellow London friends won’t like it, but at the moment Paris is the best city for creatives. We are all gathered here, and the mentality is evolving. This city never ceases to amaze me.

A man and woman standing up wearing black

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?

OL: Less and less, mostly because many foreigners came to live here and they are making the city evolve. But it’s true that it’s not a city where you can make friends easily. I was born and raised here, but always grew up with an open mind. So many Parisians, though, are snobs for no reason. It’s part of our charm, but it can be difficult.

Charlotte Ketabi-Lebard
Founder, Ketabi Projects, a contemporary art and design gallery

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Well, you are asking a Parisian! How could I say no? Paris is the city of my heart and I don’t think I could live anywhere else. When I lived in London I would come back to Paris three to four days a week. I have never worked in London, but I know it’s been very complicated for some galleries since Brexit.

A woman with her hands over her chest

LUX: How has the creative scene changed recently in Paris?
More galleries are opening that show young artists from the French scene who have decided to remain in Paris – a few years ago a lot of artists fled to the US or Belgium. And many residency programmes, such as les Grandes-Serres de Pantin or Poush Manifesto, have been developing in Paris and its outskirts.

Anna Gardère & Raphaëlle Bellanger
Co-curators and art directors, KIDZ Paris, a book showcasing the creativity of today’s youth

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed?
We love to see initiatives promoting crossover between the art world and other universes. We were talking with Joy Yamusangie, an amazing British painter, who told us how they loved working with Gucci, who gave them carte blanche on a wall in Shoreditch. We love to see artists and their visions in dialogue with scientists, too, like the one at CERN, which has opened its door to a residence of artists.

two girls back to back with one resting her chin on her fist

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
Paris still has its own code, but social media has definitely disturbed Parisian snobbery. Influencers have forced the whole creative industry to reconsider its criteria. Nowadays you can break into this world with a simple social-media account, because you’re supported by a community that believes in you and that is ensuring a high rate of engagement. It’s much more egalitarian – even democratic in a certain way, but also much more competitive.

Roxane Roche & Capucine Duguy-Noblinski
Co-founders, Invida Communication, a PR and digital agency

LUX: How has the Paris creative scene changed?
What has changed is the emergence of new brands with real storytelling, and a very thoughtful brand image based on editorial content. There’s a vintage rebound, too, from the 1960s and 1970s, with the relighting of brands like Courrèges and Carel. But, above all, brands are turning towards an ecological and eco-responsible approach.

Two girls in black jackets and jeans standing back to back

LUX: Is Paris still a difficult place for non-Parisians?
Paris can be difficult for a non-Parisian. People often keep to themselves and don’t easily open their doors. It’s sometimes quite confusing, but no one is ever really alone in Paris.

Ferdinand Gros
Founder, superzoom, a contemporary art gallery that offers a platform for emerging artists

LUX: How has the creative scene in Paris changed?
There are a growing number of younger galleries, and older ones that are refreshing their programmes. The emerging art scene is at its strongest ever. Additionally, there are great new artist residency programmes in Paris that work like incubators and host hundreds of studios, like Poush Manifesto. We are also seeing the established blue-chip galleries giving opportunities to younger artists.

A man wearing a white shirt with pockets on his chest

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Not quite yet. London has managed to stay very fresh and is always ahead of Paris, in terms of art trends. London collectors are bold and forward-looking. The Parisian scene is getting there, especially in this time of creative momentum. The recent private institutions contribute a lot to this. Perhaps it will surpass London in those areas, but I don’t believe it has happened yet.

Read more: Adrian Cheng Celebrates 200 Years of Couture

Annabelle Cohen-Boulakia
Founder, Millenn’Art, a club concept that connects young artists and collectors to the art market

LUX: Is Paris better than London?
Paris is the historic city of the art world, but above all the city of my heart and the one in which I founded my project. Admittedly, it is not London, with Anglo-Saxon magic and a cosmopolitan dynamic.

A girl wearing a headscarf

LUX: What will Paris+ par Art Basel bring to Paris?
Paris+ par Art Basel, which belongs to an international group, opens up the art market beyond the Parisian sphere. I think it is a fair that leaves more room for artistic experiment and so has less conventional and, perhaps, more original content than FIAC.

About the photographer

Angie Kremer experiments with unconventional techniques in her ‘Elements Portraits’ series. “I explore the relationship between the controllable and uncontrollable, and nature’s four elements. It comes from a feeling that we have forgotten how to connect with the wildness of nature and its unpredictability.” Prints are dipped in the canals of Venice, creating a mysterious layering effect and adding tension to the portraits on these pages.

LUX: Why is Paris an inspiring city for your career ?
Paris is a truly unique place and I am fascinated with how each person living here and working in the creative field takes from its energy and uses it in their own way. Everybody in the industry has their own take on things, so they are definitely part of what makes the city so inspiring to me.

LUX: What do you have in common with all the people you photographed in the feature ?
The art industry is broad and encompasses so many different professions that there is always something inspiring about each actor of this world. Whether they specialize in design, art, fashion, music or work in Public Relations, everyone contributes to the ever-evolving culture of the city, which is something that we all have in common.

LUX: Can you tell us more about your photographic technique ?
My technique is rooted in the need to always experiment and find new ways of approaching photography. It is an ongoing process of discovery of my medium and how I can play with each stage of the creative process. For this series, I got to use a layering technique mixing chemical reactions, paper, pigments and water. So, the moving, lifelike feel of the photographs comes from me dipping the prints into the Venetian Canals and incorporating the elements of nature into the series along with a factor of unpredictability.

LUX: What are your future plans ?
I will keep meeting new inspiring people from different spheres in the industry and exchange ideas with them and have encounters that will translate into exciting future collaborations and projects. I also aim to keep working on the technique shown in this series, and I want to broaden it and turn it into something organic, that has a life of its own. I think that combining the physicality of this technique with the possibilities of the digital could make for an exciting creative venture, so I am eager to explore that.

Find out more:

angiekremerphotography.com

artbasel.com/parisplus

These interviews were conducted in June 2022
This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX
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Reading time: 10 min
A man in a yellow dress and white trousers wearing a black cardigan standing with a woman in blue dress in front of a multicoloured net hanging from the ceiling

Durjoy Rahman is a collector of Rana Begum’s mesmerising works

The second of the LUX dialogues co-hosted with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation covers the hot topic of artists from a region long overlooked despite a powerful legacy and thriving local artistic culture

South Asia was, until recently, dramatically underrepresented in the global art world. Contemporary and historical artists from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan had few champions on the world stage, and their home countries often lacked the infrastructure or cultural will to support them. In this fascinating dialogue, moderated by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai, British-Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum chats with Dhaka-based philanthropist Durjoy Rahman, Founder of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, about how things are changing, Western perceptions, and whether everything can be blamed on colonialism or post-colonial legacy

LUX: Durjoy, for artists from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, is private patronage needed, with institutions not as strong as in wealthier countries?

Durjoy Rahman: Private patronage is essential for the development of art and its ecosystem in South Asia. Western art practices are organised, with support systems between government and private institutions. That’s missing in South Asia. Art and culture have historically been important, but during colonialism, what are now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were controlled by the British, who didn’t promote them. After independence, there was the Bombay Progressive Arts Group (PAG), but no significant structural developments – and there have been religious and political tensions. Interest has grown in the past two decades but, I think, not yet into in the wider communities.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Rana Begum: I feel, in arts terms, that India got attention, Pakistan struggled along, Bangladesh was left behind. It’s only in the past decade, since people like Durjoy have created support networks, that art and attitudes towards it are changing. Durjoy, I think you have three works of mine, and that shows a seriousness that artists require to survive and grow.

LUX: Rana, as a Bangladesh-born, UK-based artist, has the perception of you and your art changed?

RB: I remember, as an artist studying and growing in the UK, being pigeonholed as a “female Muslim artist from Bangladesh”. I tried hard to not be restricted as that – you have to be careful how you and your work are perceived. I see myself as a Bangladeshi-British artist. Ironically, to make it into institutional collections you must meet certain criteria. I don’t fulfil Bangladeshi criteria for a certain institute; I fall under the British category – a bigger pond to select artists from. There are positives and negatives. In terms of my career trajectory, it really started at Dhaka, 2014. That’s where it took off.

red, blue, yellow and green glass frames on grass outside a building

Rana Begum’s works blur the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture

DR: Before that, people were aware of your practices but didn’t have access to your work. With, say, the basketwork at Dhaka, people saw you take a local material and transform it. So you have been in our ecosystem, but were not properly presented until then.

LUX: Rana, is this an historical moment for art from South Asia? Are we seeing change in its creation, perception and global transmission?

Rana Begum: I saw a shift when I first exhibited at Dhaka Art Summit in 2014. It was amazing to see an international audience. I’ve seen artists’ visibility grow since – and politics around #MeToo and race has meant female artists and artists of colour have become more visible. It’s great to see the calibre of artists in the limelight having the success they deserve.

LUX: So if we had this conversation 10 years ago, would there have been less recognition in Europe of South Asian art?

DR: For the past decade, there has been great momentum around South Asian art, so yes, there was less then. But interest in South East Asian art started around the millennium, and grew with events like Art Dubai.

A woman spraying paint on a canvas wearing a mask

The geometric patterns in Rana Begum’s works are influenced by Islamic art

RB: Curators and institutes are more aware of what to do to be multicultural and grow a multicultural audience, and galleries are looking for artists working in different ways. My relationship with Jhaveri Contemporary has opened up a wider South Asian collector base. Slowly, things are shifting in how the art worlds work in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and they support each other, which gives a strong base for artists.

LUX: Thinking of your 2022 show at Pitzhanger, Rana, how important is it for people to understand your history when they see your works?

RB: Not at all. My work is about experience and what the viewer achieves from it, so, for me, my culture or gender doesn’t dictate that. I can see that background can give an insight, but, for me, it’s not significant.

LUX: Durjoy, what needs to happen around South Asian art in the next ten years in Europe and the States?

DR: South Asian institutions and corporate bodies should build connections with Western institutions, so our voice is heard and our art is seen. UK-produced work is not considered as South Asian or as produced by a South Asian diaspora, so those areas need highlighting. Regional tensions also need straightening out to develop the ecosystem. And I agree with Rana about Bangladesh: we only gained independence in 1971, and there are tensions that must go to get to the next step.

Read more: Liza Essers and Durjoy Rahman on art and the Global South

RB: Having a collector, like Durjoy, is a huge factor. Some artists wouldn’t have opportunities to develop without collectors. It’s also important that artists get support from other artists in positions to give it. For me, the opportunity to go to Bangladesh to see Durjoy is a chance to see what’s going on and what can be done.

LUX: Durjoy, you have three of Rana’s works. What fascinates you personally about her work?

DR: I actually have four of Rana’s series – her paperwork came to my collection from her 2022 Cristea Roberts Gallery exhibition. Rana’s work has many elements that move me – I saw Folds as kites, which are important in Bangladesh, where we have a famous kite festival. Net reminded me of the fishing nets of Sylhet, where Rana is from. She also uses a green that resembles the green of the Bangladesh flag. There is a particular motif that looks like a river flowing, and our rivers look like that exotic pattern. Rana’s work is influenced by Islamic architecture, but I also see it from a Bangladesh perspective.

A woman wearing jeans and a black t shirt standing in front of multicoloured nets hanging on a wall

Rana Begum’s art distils spatial and visual experience into ordered form

LUX: Rana, what’s next for you?

RB: I’m working on some US projects; there’s a site-specific installation at the Dhaka Art Summit; and Dappled Light is touring to Concrete, Dubai from 26 February, then to The Box, London, and to St Albans, where I grew up.

LUX: Fantastic. Durjoy, is there anything you would like to ask Rana?

DR: I would just offer my appreciation and recommendation – keep doing what you are doing; engage through the community and your practice, especially the charity work I have the pleasure to attend. Communities need you, collectors need you. Keep doing those good things.

Find out more:

durjoybangladeshfoundation.org

ranabegum.com

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Reading time: 6 min
A man in a white hoodie sitting next to a man in a striped shirt

William Rand and Rene Ricard 1988, Rand Studio NYC 1988. Photo by Will Daley © Estate of Will Daley

William Rand, has dedicated his latest book, ‘Rene’ to the life of his friend, tumultuous artist and poet, Rene Ricard. Here he reminisces with Maryam Eisler about New York’s exciting community-led art world during the 1980’s and 90’s and his more mellow life now as he resides in Maine

Maryam Eisler: ‘Rene’, your latest book, is a form of diary of your East Village studio from the 80’s to the 90’s, with a backdrop of your friendship with the artist and poet Rene Ricard, set within an atmosphere of tragic events interlaced with street crime and drug addiction. Let’s talk about the shoe box time-capsule method you used for recording these events.

William B. Rand: I remember writing things down because the first time I did it, I couldn’t believe what was happening at my studio. It was so surreal; the drama and the fear around Rene was the most intense you could probably find in the whole of New York City.

ME: You have made references to a ‘safari’. Was it really the ‘jungle’ you have often referred to?

turquoise book cover and a black and white photo of a man's profile

RENE book cover, front and back. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, quote by Raymond Foye, executor Rene Ricard Estate. Courtesy of William Rand and Osprey Press

WR: Rene himself referred to it as ‘Abercrombie & Fitch’! It was all so over my head really, that I felt like ‘ok I’m just going to write this down, because this is all too unbelievable for me not to write down’. The way Rene spoke, the order of his words, it was all so unique that five minutes later, he wouldn’t remember anything. So, writing things down as he said them was the closest way to preserving his rapid-fire complex communication – I just put them all in a box, and I certainly couldn’t let him know.

ME: What I found interesting about the time you are referencing is this sense of strong (artistic) community that reigned in New York City. Rene sometimes slept on the street, but there was a real sense of community that pulled itself together to support him … at times even paying him above normal artist rates, to perform, so as to keep his voice alive! In today’s art world, I don’t feel we have this same sense of artistic community and support. It may have been very chaotic then, on many levels, but to me, it seems like there was more authenticity in feelings, in compassion, in humanity, than there is now?

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

WR: Well, the people that cared about Rene could calm him down; Brice Marden and he had a very stable and authentic friendship; Brice is from the Boston area, as was Rene – they really understood each other. There were a number of us who were truly dedicated to him, and as Schnabel and other friends of his learned only too quickly, Rene loved being broke. ‘If he got $60,000, it would be gone by 5:00 pm, and Rene would be begging for cigarette money’ as Raymond Foye once said.

A man wearing a black shirt holding a cigarette

William Rand by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders 1982 from the series Art world. Collection of MoMA, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders 2023

ME: Were there many other big names in the art world whose careers were strongly linked to Rene’s?

WR: Yes. Rene, for example, wrote about Francesco [Clemente] and it was used for a publication at Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. Rene was the one person who could cut through everyone and tell them what he thought; they all loved his poetry, Clemente especially. Rene would often say ‘We’re going out, we have a mission!’ and I’d get dressed and go with him, and it was often on a very good adventure; sometimes, there was trouble lurking around the corner. He was a junkie but there was always this fabric of poetry, art and life behind it all, which made it both interesting and intellectually rewarding.

A collage of black and white photographs

Debra Grid, William Rand. 16 canvases assembled, collage. All decades 32″ x 32″ © William Rand/ARS NY 2023

ME: Any stories of Ricard with Basquiat?

WR: I remember when gallerist Pamela Willoughby was living on Ave A over the Pyramid Club, in the 80’s, with my friend Hayne. One summer, Rene and Jean Michel were living in a tent across the street on Tompkins Square Park. They would always ask to come up and take showers, and Hayne would always let them in, much to Pamela’s horror. They would put on such innocent faces at the door- you had no choice but to let them in!

Rene was the one who said ‘Jean Michel doesn’t draw, he makes lists’. He would often talk to me about Jean Michel in his studio. He was heartbroken when Jean Michel died; after his death he famously went to a gallery opening of Jean Michel’s works, and placed a bottle of champagne on the table; it literally exploded! Rene believed in magic and he often referred to Basquiat as a saint. What Jean Michel became was the voice of inclusion for all the people that had been excluded to the party. He was a major movement-shaker for human change.

paintings in a studio

William Rand Maine studio 2017. Painted Collages. Rand Photo © 2023 William Rand/ARS NY

ME: Any memorable stories related to Ricard and Schnabel?

WR: Well, I asked him once if we could go and meet Julian and he said ‘that would take a papal decree…’ because – as you’ll read in the book – Rene had smashed up Julian’s car and he went to jail for it… in Rene’s mind, it was a very big deal. He had to wait a long time to get let out. I mean, Rene was drunk driving. Rene came in and out of the rain like a wet crow, I just held him as he sobbed and sobbed. Jean Michel was dead, his apartment across the hall from Allen Ginsberg had burned down, he was fired from Artforum, the eighties were shutting down hard. I was receptive to his pain. I think Rene did wonderful things for Julian; their work is highly connected and I would like to see Schnabel’s paintings hung with Rene’s paintings one day, because, love and war … well, they are connected. That’s a page of art history right there.

ME: What I find interesting is that whilst the book gives the reader a great insight into Rene’s life, I also think it projects a great picture of NYC’s subculture of the time, both high and low brow… the speed of the city, its psyche. I loved all the references to Warhol, to Edward Robert Brzezinski being rushed to the hospital after eating a Robert Gober artwork … All these funny anecdotal stories, above and beyond Rene’s story, yet all part of his world, and also yours!

WR: Exactly. That world, our world, was like a circus with so many rings going on … some of them were badly lit, and some of them were even less lit. I have to say when I left New York in 1996 to go to Europe, I brought the notes with me to Spain; that’s when I started transcribing them. And I said to myself, I don’t know what will happen when all the anecdotes are put in a row – will they breathe? I didn’t know what it would all do, but what had been a thorn on my side clearly became a rose.

a poem on a piece of paper with a drawing

Rene Ricard ‘On the Subway’. Ricard poem 1989. 8 1/2″ x 11″ on photo copy © 2023 Estate of Rene Ricard. Courtesy Willoughby Gallery NY

ME: Well, it’s an amazing way of telling the story of a time, a space, a place, and a stellar powerfully charged bohemian within it all… a mover and a shaker, a real iconic operator. You get a real sense of New York, but also realise how much the art world has changed. How mould- breaking it used to be. I, for one, don’t feel that same sense of art pushing boundaries today. Society and the art world have become more clinical, more sanitised.

WR: To answer your question on the Rene front, most of the gallery people were scared when I walked in because I was so associated with Rene and well, things happened around Rene. And a lot of what happened around Rene was in very select areas, amongst the elite, in a very beautiful but dangerous atmosphere. His friends were Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol… and he had a very strong opinion of his position. Yet, Rene was sleeping on trains. Today, art and money go hand in hand – you can’t be a bohemian anymore in New York City. It’s all about the commerce.

ME: I think there was also less fear of judgement then?

WR: Interesting you say that. Yes. Rene came out of 60s street theatre. These are the people who stopped people in the streets, did things, provoked them, and that was very much part of the fabric of Rene’s life. Of course, now that’s all gone. That was very much the downtown thing, to attack the squares. He truly belongs to a different era.

A collage with black and white squares and a woman's face

The Diamond Thief. Courtesy Willoughby Gallery NY

ME: Interesting that you were one of the only few people in Rene’s world who escaped this vicious circle of homelessness, addiction and trauma. You continued beyond that time, fruitfully, as a painter and a poet in your own right. Do you feel like you’re one of the lucky few who managed to escape that chaos?

WR: I left because somebody was going to get hurt. I also left New York in 1996, because the art world was very cliquey – who was in, who was out. It was just like Junior High!

ME: Let’s get onto your own practice – Peter Frank said that you belong to a generation of American artists ‘reared on images, on consuming them, on producing them, but not controlling them’. Do you agree with that?

WR: I grew up on black & white images.

ME: You were the first TV generation, right?

WR: Yes. Black and white TV, photographs, image reproductions in books… Records were also printed in black and white. So, yes, I agree with Peter because I would drown myself in thousands of images, looking for the one that calls itself the question, the one that did something, that hooked you, that engineered something.

writing on a turquoise piece of paper with vertical grey lines

‘The other side of the mirror’. Poem by Rene Ricard 1988 3″ by 5″ on green lined paper, pencil and typewriter. © 2023 Estate of Rene Ricard Raymond Foye Executor. Courtesy Willoughby Gallery NY

ME: Much like your memories placed in a time-capsule, your artwork, adopts a grid format; you create a puzzle of images and thoughts, and then you recreate a narrative out of it all. Tell us about this approach to your work?

WR: Yes, I make the grid. The viewers then bring their narrative to the artwork; they make up the story.

ME: It’s like hanging your psyche on the wall, but you ask the viewer to make sense of it?

WR: The grids are modules so they can be combined in any shape or form you want… each slot can be combined; I find this process fascinating and I continue to explore the process. I have grids and grids and grids, 4ft by 4ft, 5ft by 5ft… they’re my notes and I love them. I particularly love what they can say.

ME: Let’s now switch to your 90s modular ‘Ava Gardner’ grid mural, an assemblage of painted canvases brought to life through a collaboration with poet Richard Millazzo… letters, poems, photos and paintings…much of which is based on your conversation with the concierge at the Madrid Hilton Castellana hotel, a man who lived through much of the Ava Gardner narrative you exposed. Talk to me about this project and its inspiration. Is it a form of Ophelia sinking into dark waters?

WR: Well Ava Gardner came to Madrid, when she ran away from LA and Las Vegas, Sinatra and the guns. She loved Spain. She was pretty wild. She had the gypsies over all the time, they’d steal all the silver, all the furniture but she didn’t care – they would stay till dawn!

collage of black and white images

The Modular Ava Gardner 2000-2002 Madrid, William Rand. 54 square metres, assembled, mixed media on canvases. Exhibited at Galeria Najera Puerta Alcala 2002 Madrid. Essay by Richard Milazzo © 2023 William Rand/ARS NY

I have lots of notes of her antics jumping on beds, running up and down the hallways naked, ringing up the reception ‘Oh I see you have a new bus boy, could you send him up right away…’ She went through the whole staff! The worst thing was how the piano went off the balcony… and the desk rang up and said ‘Excuse me is everything alright in the room?’, and she [Ava Gardner] said everything was fine, then the front desk said ‘We see the piano has gone off the balcony, would you like to explain?’ and she turned around and said, ‘As you can see gentlemen, this is the finest and most expensive suite in Spain, and we are used to the best. The piano was not good enough, so we threw it off the balcony – it was out of tune!’

I unveiled my Ava project in ‘The European’, this magazine back in the 90s which was in every Ritz hotel in Europe. The American Embassy people came to my opening. Funnily enough, the opening was two days before the one year anniversary of 9/11. The embassy had set up a huge ceremony for Americans, with military bands, speakers… but guess what? My Ava Gardner project took up all the press in the whole country. The embassy said: ‘You stole our press for 9/11! You stole our show!’ But in fact, they were happy for me.

A doodle on a lined piece of paper

Raymond Foye Executor © 2023 Estate of Rene Ricard

ME: What took you to Spain in the 90s in the first place? Why not Paris, why not London?

WR: In the 90s, I had met a lot of Hispanic people in the East Village through the festivals. They would pray to the Virgin Mary and drink beer at the same time! And I said to myself, these people are very relaxed about it all! I also got involved in the Hispanic scene on the Lower East Side. When I arrived in Spain, I didn’t speak a word of Spanish – I had to learn it on the streets. And I didn’t really know anybody but I saw these drag queens, and thought to myself, ‘If I want to get ahead in Spain, I may as well hang out with these people’, so I introduced myself. They then introduced me to all the movie people, and I immediately had a peer group.

ME: Talk to me about your ‘Les Affiches’ project. Affiches were big during the Belle Epoque period in Paris; they were used to advertise military recruitment, political opinions, advertisement etc. What did they mean to you?

WR: It was funny; one of the last things Rene said to me before I left New York, was ‘You know, you would make a great affichiste !’ – I’ve always loved posters, I’ve always loved graphics … the Russian Revolution… the Black Panthers… flat areas, letters and images with volume… Graphics are what move you… they are punchier than art. ‘Les Affiches’ is very much about war, and the price women pay in war; it’s about the spirit of resistance, socio -politically and culturally.

black and white paintings along a road

Les Affiches, 2017-2019, Mixed Media on Wood. Courtesy of William Rand Studio

ME: It seems to me that although there’s continuity in your work, there’s equally a referencing to the past, a continuous dialogue between today and yesterday?

WR: The eternal present.

ME: What are your current concerns?

WR: I’m obsessed with painting with linseed oil, the house smells so wonderful! I love the shiny black surfaces in my new work … I guess I would just say that moving on and continuing is the best reward and inspiration.

ME: And not being afraid to try new things – is abstraction your new frontier?

WR: It’s actually something I never get to do; abstraction is so fun because it’s so different from realism. I’m doing some paintings of the surf at night. I’m interested in the materiality of things, and I’m really not getting too hung up on the images themselves.

painting of gold sand and stars

Guitar player in the surf, 2021-2023, William Rand

ME: Would it be fair to say that you belong to the fluxus generation, with Marcel Duchamp being a forerunner of that movement?

WR: That’s a very good question – it is precisely what I’m doing.

ME: It’s reductive and it’s meditative.

WR: Very right! Albert Fine saw me painting in art school, French interiors, and he said ‘this is not going to do, we’ve got to take some responsibility of you.’ And he went to the art shop and came back with this black spray paint. And then he said ‘I want you to start going to New York, forget about what they’re teaching you here, none of these colours are permitted; what they’re doing to you is criminal and we have to get you back’. So, I got involved with new materials. I hid the work I was doing with Albert when the professor came around. If I hadn’t met Albert, God only knows what I would have turned into!

Read more: Joel Isaac Black: The Coolest DJ In The Alps

ME: Please share your last memory of Rene.

WR: I saw him at the Chelsea [Hotel]; he had just had a show with Ronnie Wood in London. He had a brooch on, in the shape of a pirates’ skull, encrusted with a big dazzling jeweled eye, probably a ruby. He had received a lot of money obviously and had acquired all these fancy things. We were excited to see each other; it had been a long time. But it also brought back memories of why I left the scene.
Wherever there was cash there’d be crap, parties, degeneracy, and as long as there was cash it would just go on for days, Rene and whoever he got involved with. That was the danger. That’s why I left.

A man with a beard and black hair laughing with his eyes closed

Rene Ricard, 1990, photograph by William Rand

ME: Now you’re back in wholesome Maine, are you happy?

WR: Although I had my parents die, my husband die, and I was very sad, I had learned how to read as a child in Blue Hill [Maine], so I decided to move there. This 1840 house was the town funeral home; no one would buy it and it was sitting there for years, empty. I said to myself ‘I’m getting it’ and I truly love the house – the chapel, the front rooms, this and that… I have a private park of four acres, and I’m writing and painting, and couldn’t be happier.

ME: Are you still using the same method of putting ideas in a box?

WR: Oh yes – people tell me so many things and I go home and write them down and put them all in a box.

ME: Any exhibitions planned?

WR: Yes, I have an exhibition and artist-in-residence week late September 2023 at the new Willoughby Gallery in Southold, on the North Fork of Long Island. Pamela Willoughby is an art world veteran, and this new gallery is unique and very cool. Southold is different from the Hamptons, so that is very attractive.

Find out more:

williambakerrand.com

@mainenewyork

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Reading time: 16 min

Our hotel of the month is a resort on a tropical island, surrounded by lush rainforest. It’s also in Singapore, one of the most densely populated places in Asia. Read on to see how The Capella on Sentosa has created a tropical island hideaway, less than 15 minutes from Singapore’s downtown financial district

The arrival

It’s slightly surreal. We got in our car, having finished meetings in Singapore’s hyper-urban financial district, near the landmark Marina Bay tower. Barely 12 minutes later, raising our heads from our phones, we were heading up a winding driveway lined with lush green foliage and surrounded by a tropical forest.

a pool surrounded by green plants in a rainforest

One of the Capella’s three outdoor pools. Photograph by Darius Sanai

We were greeted by a striking, long, whitewashed colonial era building – built for British army officers in the 19th century. Whisked through reception, we were in a garden leading to another long building, modern and curvy – Sir Norman Foster‘s creation, more than 100 years later.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Through the arches in Foster’s building we saw glimpses of swimming pools, more foliage and the sea.

The Room

The juxtaposition of old and new British – colonial and Foster – was notable, but our room was something else. We were in a kind of Zen rainforest retreat, the vibe as tranquil as a Balinese yoga hideaway. Open plan yet cosy, it had a bedroom with bed facing the forest and sea through picture windows; the living room had a similar view, and there was a small sheltered (from the frequent tropical rains) balcony to one side.

a sitting area with blue and wooden chairs and sofas

The Colonial Manor sitting area

The bathroom ran the length of both rooms, with a bath overlooking the forests, and a striking sculpture made of a rainforest log as a feature. The art all over the hotel is memorable: the owners are among the most respected art collectors in the region.

Exploring

Landscaped grounds drop down from the back of the hotel into the sea. Mostly, they are occupied by rainforest trees and exotic birds, although there are also three showpiece swimming pools each built on a terrace at a different level. The lowest one, the lap pool, is almost completely surrounded by thick foliage.

A bath by a window with a view of the sea

Our bathroom overlooked the Singapore Straits

You can chill on the terrace (very attentive wait staff and Aesop Factor 50 suncream in glass bottles await) around any of them; above the top pool is the broad terrace of Fiamma, a new Italian restaurant. We recommend the seafood carpaccios, delicate and beautifully done. There is also an excellent list of Italian wines, including some expertly-chosen Franciacorta, the ideal sparkling wine for a hot climate and often much better than champagne, which can taste gooey in the heat.

Read more: Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris Review

Above Fiamma, on a broad terrace, is Cassia, a contemporary Chinese restaurant with light laquered interior designed by the peerless Andre Fu. It also has an expansive bar terrace where you can sip on a grower champagne and ponder the greenery.

a table at a restaurant with a lantern light over the table

Cassia restaurant serves contemporary Chinese food amid interior splendour designed by Andre Fu

We had a very reviving revitalising treatment at the Auriga spa, which has a delightful little private garden outside its relaxation room: we too several turns of the lawn, enjoying the solitude and greenery.

Drawbacks

Sentosa, the island the Capella is located on, is 15-20 minutes by car from the Marina Bay business district and a little further from the Orchard business and shopping district. So it’s away from the heart of the action, but that’s price worth paying for staying in such a sophisticated tropical island resort, we feel.

Rates: From £740 per night (approx. €840/$915)

Book your stay: capellahotels.com/en/capella-singapore

Darius Sanai

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Reading time: 3 min
Joel Isaac Black, a.k.a. Hazy Pockets, is the curator of the legendary playlist for Zermatt’s eco-chic hotel CERVO. In the panoramic terrace and restaurant of the hotel, which is decked out entirely in vintage market finds including a well-travelled camper van, guests and visitors will hear tunes from Benin to Bolivia. Isabella Sanai speaks to Black and photographs him in his adoptive hometown of Berlin.

LUX: When did your interest in music begin?
Joe Isaac Black: My father is a fantastic blues guitar and harmonica player, his organic sounds permeated every moment in my childhood home. Some of my very earliest memories include positioning a small stool in front of a quite temperamental vinyl record player, stepping up and learning to balance coins for weighting on the tone-arm, and dropping the needle on a remarkably diverse collection of records. Hearing the dusty crackle of the needle in the groove, and sprinting to the sofa to perform an improvised dance routine in my underwear was where the lifelong musical love affair started. I suppose I am still reliving this moment to this day.

A restaurant with barstools and high tables and copper lamps hanging from the ceiling

Bazaar restaurant at Hotel Cervo Zermatt

LUX: You describe seeing music in 3D spaces/shapes – what does that mean?
JIB: I would describe it more as my ability to project myself into hypothetical sonic spaces, to really “hear” and “feel” what it might be like to be in a certain room with certain music or sounds. I can often slip into my own imagination, and have a very powerful and tangible gut feeling of what needs to fill these spaces.

a man pulling a record out of his bag

I essentially audition a few prospective musical ideas with quite a bit of clarity and specificity with this process, and usually end up manifesting versions of these ideas with clients in my music curation activities. In some regard, every artist has some parallel practice, however, mine is this well-honed sonic voyage.

A man with a moustache and black hair wearing a black jacket and white shirt

LUX: You mentioned you were first drawn as a child to the geometry of percussion. How did your affinity with rhythm evolve into music curation?
JIB: This can be understood in a bit more of a dry and scientific manner. I am a drummer, DJ, and dancer, all pastimes that at their best have an inherent coordination and swing to them. Symmetry, repetition, the quiet spaces in between … This rhythm is an essential human energy, a level or mood that affects every individual in a room whether they know it or not.

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The architecture, dimensions, and materials of a space reflect the sounds and music, and are factors in that basic rhythm. Curating music is an imperfect attempt to match that geometry with a beat that makes everything feel just its proper place.

A man sitting on a bench next to plants wearing a trench coat

LUX: What do you think makes a DJ successful?
JIB: The right song at the right time is the most powerful tool in the universe. Knowledgeable channeling of shared moods meaning more right songs at the right time helps with the success. I sound like a grumpy gate-keeper, but a deep understanding of music genres, strains, traditions, and histories allows one to make those choices. Also, personality, character, and presence sell the songs, but in the end, it’s elemental synchronicities lining up that make a DJ magic and thus memorable and hopefully building momentum to a crude definition of success.

A factory with pipes

Along the Rummelsburger Bucht, a few minutes walk from Black’s first studio

LUX: Do you feel your music taste is influenced by your surroundings?
JIB: Absolutely. I am a compulsive integrator, imitator, absorbing everything around me and consciously or subconsciously mixing this up with all of my older instincts.

A man wearing a white shirt, jeans and a denim jacket over his shoulders standing by a willow tree

LUX: You mentioned your involvement with Allah Las. What do you think of this rebirth we’re seeing of psychedelic rock?
JIB: I was close with them from their infancy as a band as we were colleagues at the record store. The boys are just sweet and genuine west coast surfer golden children. Rock and psychedelic are slippery words these days. Kids are becoming more genuinely open-minded, factually-driven, and informed about altered states and beneficial psychedelic experiences, and thus they really need the right soundtrack. Set and setting. The bold experimentation and indelicate purity of 60s rock psychedelia and guitar music must be very very appealing to kids coming of age in an era of digital overload.

A man wearing a blue jumper and jeans standing with his hands in his pockets

LUX: Are there any new projects on the horizon?
JIB: I am dedicated to launching my agency, Wild Mountain Honey, a unique address for sourcing and building immersive music experiences and collaborations for the finest luxury hotels, restaurants, and unique clients world-wide. It’s really an exciting culmination of my music curation and event-building activities, a highly-refined expression of all of my network and skills, a chance to work with incredible talent from live music, to DJs, to culinary stars, and create unforgettable magic moments.

Read more: Henry Lohmeyer on the impact of words and photography

My work with my home base, True Blue Music Berlin continues to provide thrilling soundtrack, sound-design, and studio production undertakings…and as the germans would say, I am a ‘Rampensau’, a shameless slave to the stage, so my live band Tegel Boys will release new music and tour, while my true love, my endless DJ voyage continues as Hazy Pockets.

A man wearing a denim jacket looking up at the sun

LUX: What advice would you give to young creatives?
JIB: Own your talents and flaws, and refine and shape those into a form that is irresistible to your patrons and clients and still fulfilling. Unhitch the trailer of ‘giving a f*ck’ what peers, competitors, or critics think of you and your work. Repeat it. The show must go on!

Find out more:

www.wild-mountain-honey.org

www.instagram.com/hazypockets

Photography: @sheherazade_photography

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women in white ad red sparkly outfits and a man wearing a white suit with another in a black jacket and white t shirt

K11, the multidisciplinary art, culture, retail, fashion and design organisation created by Hong Kong mover and shaker Adrian Cheng, is staging a show in the city celebrating 200 years of couture, together with the V&A.

It’s an auspicious occasion: Cheng has just been given the responsibility to reestablish the territory’s reputation as an international cultural hub, after three years of isolation caused by COVID. During that time, the cultural and touristic pendulum has swung towards Seoul, with the opening of Frieze Seoul, Singapore, which has seen much incoming financial and cultural capital, and Bangkok. It’s a big ask, but if there’s anyone who can do it, it is Cheng, scion of one of Hong Kong’s biggest dynasties and also a cultural statesman and innovator with a visionary understanding of east, west and the future.

Meanwhile, The Love Of Couture: Artisanship In Fashion Beyond Time curated in collaboration with the V&A and production designer, William Chang Suk Ping, aims to to bring together Western European traditions with eastern innovation, highlighting the extraordinary creativity, history and craftsmanship of couture.

The opening of the exhibition was celebrated at K11 Night with some of the most influential people in Asia, particularly from the fashion industry.

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a man in a white shirt lifting his glass at a dinner
two women with their arms arund their waist and one is wearing diamond ear muffs
people standing for a photo at a party
two men and a woman at a dinner

K11 collaborated with with the V&A, assembling a team of revered industry veterans and emerging fashion designers, who, within the exhibition, explore the evolution of fashion across time and space and celebrate the next generation of designers.

Read more: Adrian Cheng On Brands To Watch In 2023

Cheng says, “Fashion throughout history is reflective of how traditions, craftsmanship, creativity and societies continue to evolve. I am thrilled to present this exhibition in collaboration with the V&A and work with our brilliant designers who have all in their own individual way, reinvented and modernised history with their unique perspective and talent. This collaboration truly reflects my mission to create a deeper cultural exchange between east and west by providing a platform for next generation talent.”

The Love of Couture: Artisanship in Fashion Beyond Time Exhibition is on until Sunday 29th January at the K11 Art & Cultural Centre

Find out more: www.k11experience.com/love-of-couture

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A woman wearing a black veil and dress and red earrings

Zar Amir Ebrahimi, the first Iranian to win a Best Actress Palme d’Or at Cannes

At a time of upheaval in her homeland, the Iranian born actress and director, who won Best Actress at Cannes in 2022 for her role as a journalist hunting a killer in Holy Spider, speaks of the beauty and consolation she finds in Iran and her hopes for a new generation of women there

My favourite place in Tehran

Zahir-od-Dowleh Cemetery is a private cemetery in the north of Tehran. Many cultural figures are buried there, including Forugh Farrokhzad, a female poet I adore and admire. She was a modernist, very brave, but died in an accident in 1966 before she was 30. She made a very interesting movie that was the beginning of the nouvelle vague in Iranian cinema. Very few people can reach the cemetery, as it’s not public, but some who admire the poet sit there at the weekends reading her poetry. The cemetery belongs to my family, so I used to go there in sad moments and I would always find a good feeling. I miss it.

What reminds me of home

Jasmine. The scent is stronger in Iran than anywhere else. And borage, a very beautiful tea, which has a fruit whose odour is very strong and reminds me of springtime. I also miss the rain. Tehran is a dusty city, and when it’s raining wonderful smells come out of the dust.

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The biggest difference between Paris and Iran

Paris is where I have found myself finally as a woman. I lived in Iran for around 25 years and, for almost all those years, I was trying to hide my femininity, to look like a boy. After one or two years of living in Paris, I became okay with my female feelings, my body, my hair. The freedom I found in Paris was so different from when I lived in Iran.

My hopes for the next generation of women in Iran

Women in Iran are so brave. The new generation is even braver. They don’t have boundaries or borders. If they don’t like something, they don’t accept it. If I wanted to send them a message, I would say “Never give up”, because we have the power. I don’t want to make it a feminist message, because we need men. If we are separate, nothing moves. So just keep hoping, keep trying to have liberty.

fields with flowers and a mountain in the distance with snow on the tip and a blue sky above

Spring wildflowers in Iran’s Alborz mountains

The most challenging part of my role in the crime thriller Holy Spider

One challenge I had was understanding the motivation of my character, Rahimi. At points in the film, she risks her life to arrest a killer, when no one else is even trying to find him. Why does she do that?
I think I finally found the answer in my personal life, and my personal experiences as a woman in a patriarchal country. But it was difficult to balance the two.

Read more: Mickalene Thomas and Steve Lazarides on art gamechangers

What it meant to win the Best Actress Palme d’Or award at Cannes

I was shocked. I think it’s just amazing: there is a message of courage, there is a message of justice.

My all-time favourite film

David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.

What’s next

The meaning of life for me is just creating things – being part of creation. The most important thing now for me is my future film. I hope I can finish the writing and start production, and find the best producers in the world.

Find out more: @zaramirebrahimi

This interview was conducted in June 2022
This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX
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Reading time: 3 min
a white plate with a tuna tartar and a leaf on the top
A room with large stained glass windows and red velvet chairs around a table with a white table cloth and wine glasses

Carrara is situated in one of Courchevel’s most iconic luxury hotels, Les Airelles

LUX correspondents are based around the world, and our other staff travel on a regular basis. Here are some of our favourite culinary destinations

Carrara, Les Airelles, Courchevel

At the next table, which wasn’t really a next table because it was a couple of miles away, such is the setup of the Carrara restaurant at Les Airelles, a couple were finishing their meal just as we sat down for ours. He had the look of an heir to an old-money European fortune, bespoke Brioni loafers and a Cifonelli blazer. She, animated, flicking her hair, not much younger than him but dressed for a ball. They left around a third of their bottle of Chateau Latour, and probably another quarter of the bottle was sitting in their glasses as they rose to leave. Depending on the vintage, which we couldn’t quite make out (distance between tables, and all), that could be thousands of euros of wine casually left aside.

A table by a window with red velvet chairs

Carrara offers an immersive transalpine gastronomic experience

That’s the kind of place Carrara is: huge comfort for the hugely well off. Big red velvet chairs are as relaxing as rocking chairs after a day’s skiing (or a day spent dining at La Soucoupe). White tablecloths and the kind of serene yet highly organised service seen only in classical European hotels gives an extra feeling of comfort. We didn’t go for the Latour, but started with an equally impressive Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2010. The cuisine at Carrara is described as a “tour of Italy” and you could indeed choose from an array of Italianate dishes as classical as Michelangelo’s David. Mediterranean tuna with oscietra caviar and seared scallops wth basil vinegar were limpid starters, better in the execution, with very high quality vivid ingredients, than in the description.

The food is not only Italian but a blend of Mediterranean flavours

Sticking with the seafood as it was so good, despite us being 1900m up in the mountains, we moved on to a shared clam orchiette, clams bulbous and feelsome. Sea bream with sautéed vegetables is a summer-in-Porto-Cervo dish that works equally healthily in the Alps; herb-roasted free range chicken breast in a kind of calzone was original and more hearty, accompanied by some volcanic Sicilian red wine. Desserts looked historic but were not feasible; portions are hearty.

a table with pasta, bread and wine on it

Marco Garfagnini is head chef at Carrara

Carrara is an intriguing blend of comfort food and clean, California-style Italian: clearly a place that knows its clientele. Across from us, a well known business leader from London was celebrating a birthday with his family. They were at ease, as were the staff serving them. We didn’t want to leave Carrara; unlike some establishments in Courchevel, you have to check your brashness in at the door, relax, and, as long as you can afford it, chill out. A lovely combination of old and new world Italian, right on the most famous slopes in the world.

Find out more: airelles.com/restaurant-carrara

CUT by Wolfgang Puck, 45 Park Lane, London

Glamour is the number one ingredient in many types of fine dining these days. Sure, there are no tablecloth Scandi caverns of cool where foraging minimalism and sustainability are the key components; but many people spending a small fortune on a meal just want glamour, not grass. The question is, how do you create glamour? Plenty of expensive feeling restaurants are not glamorous, and a few vice versa.

a white plate with a tuna tartar and a leaf on the top

CUT was opened by Wolfgang Puck in 2011

Wolfgang Puck’s CUT on Park Lane in London has it all, the moment you walk in. We attended a kind of soft relaunch of this London icon recently with Puck himself in attendance. It may be a hotel restaurant, but the moment you sweep in past the Damien Hirst‘s and sit down you feel a million dollars. The light wood panels, gold lighting and curtains and elaborate Venetian chandeliers, appearing like sea anemones at intervals along the ceiling, give it a kind of modern-Versailles hauteur.

A dining room with white curtains

CUT is located in 45 Park Lane which is owned by the Dorchester Group

During our visit, owner and restaurateur extraordinaire Puck was there himself, patiently going round all the tables greeting diners. Puck himself is glamour personified in a chef: and he seemed far more enthusiastic talking about art (Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were early collaborators) than talking about cuts of steak. Artists collaborated with him on his first menus, and he retains an interesting balance of Mitteleuropean grace (he is originally from Austria) and the go-getting, art-culture edge of his adopted homeland in the US.

As does his menu. CUT is primarily all about beef, and where else can you have a tasting of the same cut of three different types of beef, simply presented and gorgeously cooked? Each one of the Tasting of New York Sirloins (USDA Prime Black Angus, Japanese Wagyu, Australian Wagyu) was fascinating, changing in character the longer it rested on the plate, as did our order of preference. Perhaps surprisingly our ultimate favourite was the Australian: delicate yet piercing in flavour.

raw steak with rosemary on a tray

The menu offers the widest selection of Wagyu beef in London

Perhaps strangely, given the nature of the restaurant, the raw and chilled seafood section of the menu had proved just as memorable. Raw seafood is all about preparation and extreme subtlety, and the chefs proved that they can master both with the bigeye tuna tartare, tosa soy, ginger and wasabi aioli; and also the yellowtail sashimi, black ponzu truffle and pickled wasabi.

A bowl of tomato and basil pasta with prawns on top

Elliott Grover is now the executive chef at CUT

The greatest meals are ones which seem to proceed in phases: the warm, elegant entry, thoughtful taking care of the order, a wait of just the right period between courses, lights dimming slightly as the evening progresses, the atmosphere, more intimate yet still lively. CUT had it all. It’s not cheap, but true glamour never is, and even in a city and area (Mayfair) full of some of the worlds greatest restaurants, it stands out. Some high-end restaurants are ultimately not worth the price as they charge. This one certainly is.

Find out more: www.dorchestercollection.com/cut-45-park-lane

Al Nafoorah, Jumeirah Al Qasr, Dubai

In the rambling, animated and increasingly glamorous metropolis that Dubai is becoming, sometimes you need a break. So it was with an increasing sense of relief when we stepped down the stairs of the palatial Al Qasr hotel, near the beach, walked through a calm high ceilinged restaurant swathed in Mediterranean colours, and were seated at a table at the edge of a long terrace overlooking trees, gardens and what at first we thought was a swimming pool and then realised, in the evening light, was a waterway. Beyond, more trees and night time birdsong with spots of lighting illuminating the dark parkland.

A restaurant on a terrace with palm trees around

Al Nafoorah is located in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah

Al Nafoorah is a Lebanese restaurant, and in a country where nobody is quite what they seem, it was even more refreshing to discover that the manager, both bustling and friendly, is Lebanese himself. We immediately established ourselves as customers to be remembered (hopefully for the right reasons) by asking if they had any Lebanese pickles to go with the assorted cucumbers and carrots they had put on the table as a refreshing meze pre-starter. Another staff member wandered past offering me Shisha (we declined) and after a glass of 2020 Chablis by Domain Laroche (not Lebanese, but very apposite in being a refreshing yet fleshy white Burgundy) we felt 1000 miles, not one mile, from the hubbub of downtown Dubai.

A salad wth nutes and figs

The restaurant is inspired by the Berdawni Riviera, known as the ‘city of wine and poetry’ in Lebanon and is headed by chef Ali Fouad

The menu is a panoply of Lebanese classics and it’s probably best explored with a group to be able to try all the sharing options. For example, it would be ideal to dip into a table of fattoush, moutabal and jergier – all variations of salads and vegetables in various sauces – rather than ordering just one as a starter. As it was, our fattoush salad starter, in a delicate pomegranate dressing, provided further refreshment in the warm evening, and after a little debating about whether we should go for the possibly more typical Lebanese lamb dishes, we opted for a whole seabass main course, plain grilled, with a side of taboulleh and steamed vegetables – not conventional Lebanese food as we know it, but light and healthy and very nicely put together.

chicken on a plate with stuffed mushrooms

The restaurant is both artistic and nostalgic in style, embracing Beirut’s cosmopolitan feel but also Lebanon’s more historic culture

The heat of the evening was finally dissipating as we ordered dessert, in our case single scoops of home-made raspberry sorbet, surprising and delightful for not being too sweet.

We went for a wander along the waterway and in the gardens and then departed to a smiling wave from the manager, feeling ready for the rigours of Dubai again the next day.

Find out more: www.jumeirah.com/dubai/al-qasr-al-nafoorah

Chotto Matte, London

Readers who know Chotto Matte from its other locations described it to us as “Nobu with a vibe”, and while we were not sure that was how the owner of the group, Kurt Zdesar, would have described it, it seemed tempting enough. The latest branch of this international group is in Marylebone, a genteel part of London more known for its affluent young families and private clinics than for its vibe, but Chotto Matte is one of a number of newcomers starting to define the area as a culinary destination. You certainly appreciate the restaurant’s design and concept as soon as you walk in from Paddington Street: it’s a theatre of art and design, and a big feature bar at the back, a horseshoe design so smart that you have to overcome the temptation to perch there all evening and ask the bartender to dream up variations on Martinis.

A bar with coloured green and orange lights

There are two Chotto Matte restuarants in London: the first opened in Soho and the second restaurant has now opened in Marylebone

The menu is also a work of art, contemporary in style and concept. Starters include Redefine Meat Gyoza, El Jardin Maki and BBQ Huacatay Broccoli: in fact all the starter concepts were so tempting we were slightly lost. So, kudos to our server for suggesting she put together a compilation of the best of, although perhaps in future the restaurant can be reminded there can be a tad more customer input. Enthusiasm about star dishes is excellent, but customer choice needs to be balanced (we don’t eat lychees, for example).

sushi, vegetables, salads and edamame on plates and in bowls on a table

The executive Chef at Chotto Matte is Jordan Sclare. Before joining Chotto Matte, Sclare opened Buddha Bar in London

What emerged as starters was delicious, trim, healthy, poignant in flavour; and then it all kept on coming. The spicy tuna with crispy rice? A memorable signature dish, as good for breakfast as dinner. BBQ mushroom salad and pollo piccante were also memorably vivid. Seabass tempura was merely good, in comparison, while the black cod aji miso was an original dish and split opinion: some preferred it to the Nobu version, some did not, but quality was undeniable. In the end, a restaurant can be remembered for one memorable signature and the spicy tuna has it all.

a restaurant with blue and green chairs

Kurt Zdesar is the founder of Chotto Matte which is part of NZR Group

Chotto Matte is proud of its pisco sours, which are offered on arrival as other restaurants might offer water or prosecco. These were pretty good, with a satisfying crema to sip through. But the restaurant’s wine list, probably underexplored due to the cocktail bar vibe throughout, is memorable. A beautifully selected array of specialist champagnes (which would match the clear, bright and clean flavours of much of the food) as well as some world-beating white and red wines. And we didn’t even try the martinis. Credit to Zdesar for enlivening the London restaurant scene with not one but two of these sites – the other, in Soho, has a guaranteed vibe due to its location, but Marylebone is trying hard and so far, succeeding nicely.

Find out more: chotto-matte.com

Sumosan Twiga, London

Glamour is out. Barefoot, or bare table, style is in. Ritzed-up instagrammers clumping together around flaming magnums of champagne on the Cote d’Azur have been replaced by pared-down TikToks of imperfect ceramic plates of foraged plants in Oslo. That’s a conclusion you might be justified in drawing on looking at current social media food trends.

A man in a green suit playing guitar next to a man singing in a purple striped suit

Alessandro Ristori & The Portofinos performing at Sumosan Twiga. Photograph by Dominic Martin

So it is both refreshing and surprising to walk into Sumosan Twiga in Knightsbridge. A DJ plays house tunes in the centre of the floor. Booths of highlighted highlifers dance, eat, drink and video, simultaneously. There’s a serious vibe, even on a Wednesday night. It’s also quite private: you have to get past the receptionist, into a lift, and up two floors and past another receptionist.

sushi rolls with orange sauce on top

Isobe Maki

Some of the vibiest places compromise on food. Sumosan Twiga serves parallel menus of Italian and Japanese, which shouldn’t work, but it really does. The Raw Bar offers nigiri, sashimi and maki rolls. Our buba roll (seabass, cucumber wasabi tobiko, jalapeno) was more than the sum of its vivid, intense ingredients. Spicy scallops and orange tobiko were curiously mesmerising.

A cut up steak sandwich into a square with a bowl of french fries

Wagyu sando sandwich

You have to be careful not to over-order. Off the “Italian” menu (which is not that Italian, but probably all the better for it), we had seabass ceviche, again intense and crisp in flavour, no disguising with heavy sauces, and not too thickly sliced) and Kobe beef sliders which were as wonderfully rich and well formed as our fellow guests.

Those guests were getting livelier all the time, but the restaurant has enough space that nobody’s in your face. You could go on a date and be unfazed by the partying tables.

People dancing in a restaurant

Wednesday live music at Sumosan Twiga. Photograph by Dominic Martin

As for the mains, it’s pretty astonishing to be able to deliver a Wagyu sando sandwich, a kind of uber-glamorous burger, and a comfort-food tagliatelle alla bolognese (we like that they don’t even try to call it “ragu”, the Italian way), each of the best possible quality. This kind of food just doesn’t get better; you’d pay Sumosan Twiga prices to have it delivered to your room, even without the vibe. And the vibe just got vibier as midnight approached.

Sumosan Twiga knows its market very well, and then delivers even more than what they expect. It’s a smart formula. It ain’t a repurposed wooden table at a silent restaurant in Copenhagen, and it doesn’t try to be. The world is, after all, a diverse place, and this is a joy.

Find out more: twigaworld.com/sumosantwigalondon

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Reading time: 13 min
A man wearing a black suit and pink shirt sitting on a chair in front of green portraits hing up on a wall

During the pandemic, the conventional public and private art spaces closed their doors as it was clear art was not a necessity at this time. Durjoy Rahman realised this but thought there must be a way for creativity and discussion to still occur during this difficult period and so the DBF Creative Studio was born in collaboration with Porcelanosa Studio Bangladesh

A sculpture of a lion walking in a wooden room
buddhist statues underneath a chandellier
A brown sculpture on a wooden plinth

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DBF Creative Studio, located in the heart of Dhaka City, invites creative thinkers to showcase their work for others to enjoy and appreciate. This alternative space allows people to engage, converse and experience art and creativity on a limited scale whilst maintaining safety parameters.

Nupami Grupo, founded in 2013 in Spain, originated with the goal of brining high-quality products from Spain to different South Asian markets. Nupami, as a Porcelanosa Associate, very quickly became a leader in the high-end building materials sector. Nupami’s collaboration some of the industry’s most prestigious architects and developers has provided a platform for new materials to be discovered and used as well as refresh the market with new trends in the architectural and design field.

wood crafted sculptures and furniture in a room
green portraits on a wall
portraits in a room hung on a wall

CEO of Nupami Bangladesh Ltd, Porcelanosa Associate of Bangladesh, Aritz Izura commented “The planning and design of this 1,450 square foot gallery included the reuse of materials from old cultural heritage sites, resulting in a beautiful interplay of the old and the new. So, when we were tasked with choosing the material for the gallery display wall, we gave it careful consideration and research.

Art and the contexts in which it was displayed changed dramatically with the rise of modernism. The use of neutral colors was thought to be an effective way of creating a “pure” space; a void-like atmosphere in which art could be experienced without being distracted by extraneous distractions. For private galleries, the practical solution was to select a color and material that would complement the majority of the works on display.

We felt that XLight, a timeless large-format porcelain tile featured on these walls with artworks by such great artists, would provide the ideal setting and enhance the aesthetics of the space. Marble has long been used in both art and architecture as a design element. Thanks to technological advances, the beauty of marble has been captured by Porcelanosa’s exclusive range of products. Concrete Grey, the XLight used in this project, serves as a subtle canvas on which artists can tell their stories for many years to come.”

This article was published in association with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

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Reading time: 5 min
A man and woman sitting on chairs having a discussion
A man and woman sitting on chairs having a discussion

Liza Essers and Durjoy Rahman in discussion at Goodman Gallery, Mayfair, London

In the first of our series of online dialogues, Liza Essers of Goodman Gallery and South South speaks with philanthropist Durjoy Rahman about the western eye on art, and the future of culture in the Global South. With an introduction and moderation by Darius Sanai and created in association with the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation

History is always written by the winners. Whether or not that is true, there is more than an element of truth as far as art history is concerned. The West, home of most of the world’s wealth for most of the past millennium, is where the biggest auction houses, collectors, galleries, institutions, and market-makers are based. When the average LUX reader thinks of art history, they are more likely to think of Michelangelo or Monet than Khmer sculptors or 12th century Chinese visual artist Zhang Zeduan.

The art fair is now a global phenomenon, and Art Basel and Frieze, the two biggest players, have editions in Hong Kong and Seoul, as well as London, Paris, Basel, New York, Miami and Los Angeles (note the weighting there between East and West). But they are American and Swiss-owned organisations driven by legitimacy from heavy-hitter galleries in New York and London. When Abu Dhabi wanted to gain instant credibility in the art world, it opened a Louvre (with a Guggenheim coming soon).

Yet art did not start in the West, and is unlikely to end in the West. One of the most significant organisations seeking to loosen the western grip, and accompanying neo-Orientalist viewpoint, in the art world, is South-South. Co-founded by the esteemed Johannesburg-based gallerist Liza Essers, owner of Goodman Gallery, who represents William Kentridge, among many others, it bills itself a resource for artists, galleries, curators and collectors across the global south.

A woman wearing black sitting on a silver chair and a sculpture of a person with a green head and colourful body next to her

Liza Essers. Photographed by Anthea Pokroy. Courtesy Goodman Gallery

For the first in our series of online dialogues, we brought Liza together with a growing force in the rebalancing of east-west art relations, Durjoy Rahman. Founder of the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, Durjoy is a multifaceted collector and philanthropist supporting artists and institutions across South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The foundation supports a residency at Amsterdam’s Rijksakademie, is launching a new partnership with India’s Kochi Biennial and London’s Hayward Gallery, and supports the esteemed Sharjah Art Foundation, among many other initiatives.

The dialogue between two intriguing leaders in art in the Global South was moderated by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai, himself from Iran, in Essers’ Goodman Gallery in Mayfair, London.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Liza, you set up South South as an organisation which does not just promote dialogue and art action, but additionally serves as a way to provide artists and galleries with a new way of interacting and selling work.

Liza Essers: Absolutely, it goes back much further than I think most people realise. South South started in 2010 after visiting Brazil and being completely inspired by walking through the streets of Sao Paulo and thinking about Johannesburg. These two places I felt had shared histories and realities of their current situation. South South then started as a curatorial initiative that I began with Goodman Gallery. There were two strong curatorial initiatives; South South and another project called In Context, that was looking at the dynamics and tensions of the place. I was really interested at the time in the term the ‘Global South’ which was very much established by Lula da Silva, as an economic term around foreign policy. I suppose my background in economics got me thinking about seeing these real distinctions within the Western art market and The Global South, in a context of underlying political and economic realities. Over the last 12 years, there have been big multi-place projects with galleries around The Global South.

A blue red and white scarf hanging on a washing line

Samson Kambalu, Beni Flag- Sovereign States (this is not what I meant when I said bang bang), 2019

LUX: Durjoy, do you see any parallels between the work of your foundation which is focussed around supporting south Asian art, artists and organisations, and the work of South South?

Durjoy Rahman: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation (DBF) was founded in 2018 and our mission was to support artistic, socially-activated practices. Not only do we promote South Asian artists, but also all across The Global South. There are many similarities between artists living in Asia, Africa and even South America with a lot of their work being interwoven as they live in similar social positions and environments. We also work with artists from Africa whose practices are aligned with social contexts that exist in South Asian countries like Bangladesh. For example, we hosted an artist from Ghana whose work we collected back in 2017 and his practices are very similar to those that we see in Dhaka. When I found his work and I realised the similar socio-economic environment, we started working with him and donated his work to a museum in the Netherlands for his first show in 2018, which is now in their permanent collection.

LUX: As part of the driving force behind the gathering momentum and support for artists from The Global South, is there a need for more organisations like yours?

LE: I feel that there is a need of course, but more importantly, we need collaboration. Instead of everyone trying to individually reinvent the wheel, the whole art world needs to shift together. Collaboration is so much more powerful if people work together to achieve better things for the arts.

DR: I agree, but I also believe that we need to make these artists more visible in their role throughout European history. A lot of South Asian or African artists came to Europe in the 50s and had shows alongside Picasso or Miro, there was a real cultural exchange. Unfortunately, due to the economic situation right after the end of colonial history, in Asia we became less visible and prominent. There is an urgency to work together to establish the position of the global south so that we are equally important in the development of modern art.

LE: Absolutely.

A TV in a gallery with a bench and headset

SP-Arte 2022

LUX: Is there a challenge for people to become artists in some countries in the global south, due to the lack of recognition of an art as a viable career? My father, who was Iranian, was a huge art lover and collector but he would have been aghast if I had wanted to actually be an artist.

LE: You are spot on. It is much better than it was, as there are more museums and contemporary art spaces, but there is still a long way to go concerning cementing arts and culture as central to education. For example, in our school system in South Africa, it isn’t part of the mainstream education system, so it is not something that kids are even growing up with. People who are struggling and are below the breadline want their kids to go and become professionals rather than artists due to the perception that they would be unable to make a living.

DR: Regardless of which class, middle or upper, the concept of your child having an arts career, has always been looked at with scepticism from the parents. Every family wants their children to be prosperous and this is not something that has traditionally been considered with an art career, as it is a high-risk option. I think, however, that the times are changing with the increase of museums and art spaces. I think more and more people will be interested in creativity and artistic practice because of the larger income generation.

LUX: Let’s talk about the Western Eye on the Art world. People might say “I’m going to go to an African Art Fair” or “going to look at some Asian Art” but they wouldn’t talk about a “European Art Fair”. Should that change and how important is it?

LE: I think it is of critical importance and one of the main reasons why I felt that it was not constructive or positive for Goodman Gallery to associate with the term African Art Fair. I do think we have to move away from the confines that come with these labels, and consider art as a global language, which is about the human condition globally. I think it is too driven by economics and markets in the West.

women dancing in long colourful dresses on the street

Yinka Shonibare CBE, Un Ballo in Maschera, 2004.

DR: I agree! Art is global – it’s not about Asian, African, American. I also think that it has a lot to do with the influence of a lot of organisations that have a ‘South Asian Sale’ or ‘Asian Art Week’. It doesn’t matter how much we think that the art is global if the branding or wording pushes us further into the corner that we want to come out of. This seems to be shifting as the West is looking more at the East. Of course, it will take time, but eventually one day art will be global, and for now we must work together to create global branding rather than regional.

LE: I will say that where it has been useful, if one thinks about a counterpoint, is something like the Johannesburg Art Fair. There has been a benefit of this as it becomes an educational opportunity to build a local collective and for artists to make money. I think we need give a little bit of credit as these regional fairs help to build art markets within our particular communities where there is an absence of cultural institutions and big museums.

Read more: Alan Lo On The Next Asian Art Hotspot

We also encourage these regional fairs to focus on quality and moments, bringing international art into the programme. That’s why for the Johannesburg Art Fair this year, being on the advisory board, South South have an interesting role in creating this shift. We included a video program with international galleries showing artists within the art fair context. It would be too expensive for galleries to show up at international art fairs, but it is an interesting way for audiences to experience international artists and galleries through the South South platform. This has been successful at art fairs this year as audiences can see international art.

LUX: Do you think there is a form of colonialism within the art world, whether conscious or unconscious, from major galleries and auction houses?

LE: I do feel so, although this is probably a bit controversial. We have all got a broader responsibility within our lifetime that I think we generally don’t necessarily take seriously enough and many of the big galleries will colonise or take the artists from the galleries in the Global South. They could be supporting artists and the community in a more productive way. Many galleries want William Kentridge, for example, but how many of them have actually shown up in Johannesburg and understood the context. It just becomes about brands and markets.

a grey, white and black doodled art work

Nolan Oswald Dennis, notes for recovery (touch), 2020

DR: In these galleries the financial aspect is a very big factor and a lot of emerging galleries are not able to participate in the big fairs. I think it is more about the financial strength of certain galleries and their ability to dominate space rather than colonialism.

LUX: Looking to education and the consideration that many people who move in the Western art world have Art History Degrees, a.k.a an education dominated by the teaching of the European History of Art and 20th Century US history. Does there need to be a shift in the way the history of art is taught and its many origins and truths?

LE: Definitely – I think that is one of the fundamental pillars of South South. It is much more about the curatorial aspect and the archive than it is around the selling of art. We have a whole archive section on the website where we are looking to gather in one central place and repository of the history of art from The Global South. It is amazing how all of these histories or particular moments in The Global South are not written into the history books, so the idea is really around gathering all of them into a central space.

DR: Information, which is a big factor, was not available or generated in our part of the world – it always generated from Europe, for example there was a huge printing industry in Germany. Due to the fact we, politically and financially, relied on the Western world, they became the authority of information through their dissemination. That is where a lot of things have been influenced, it is not because of colonialism but because of the financial strength they had, that they told their own story, rather than The Global South.

A projected screen under a wooden canopy in front of a purple wall in a gallery

Installation at FNB Art Joburg

LUX: Liza, Durjoy, what would you like to ask each other?

LE: For us at South South, we are now in a place where we want to recognise that post-covid we are returning to ‘business as usual’ with exhibitions and art fairs. I suppose what I am struggling with is how to make South South post-covid meaningful in the art world going forward, when we have to deal with the art world in its old form which is being on the road every few weeks for another fair. I am interested to know if you have any ideas while we are in a moment of reflection on how to move forward and make a success out of it?

DR: The South South platform must be balanced between commercial and non-commercial activities, because ultimately no activities can be successful long term if the business is not culturally sustainable. I think that covid has given us all a realisation of what the world needs, but I always say that art is an object too. We need to ensure its commercial viability. But on the other hand, what we have seen pre-covid at the art fairs is everything attached to the commercial sense. If we can encourage all the stakeholders and beneficiaries associated to work together to create a programme that is designed to give The Global South a stronger presence, I think that would be brilliant and give more representation and visibility to these artists.

Find out more: 

durjoybangladesh.org

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A corridor with a wooden plank leading to a view of vineyards
A man in red trousers and a grey shirt standing next to a woman in a white shirt and trousers standing on a terrace

Will and Amanda Harlan

Will and Amanda Harlan have taken over an American icon. The siblings are now running Harlan Estate, the legendary wine estate created by their father Bill Harlan, who famously set out in the 1980s to prove that America could create the equivalent of a Chateau Lafite. Included in the family’s holdings are two other top-end California wine estates, a luxury resort, and one of the world’s most exclusive private members’ clubs. Darius Sanai speaks with the new generation about succession, family harmony, and plans for the next 200 years

Chatting with Will and Amanda Harlan, you wouldn’t think they were royalty. Will, Amanda’s elder brother, is thoughtful, gentle in his mannerisms, philosophical but focussed in his thinking. Amanda is, ostensibly, more outgoing, more cheery and chatty, although plainly her social vibe hides plenty of deep intent – she was, earlier in life, a professional dressage rider who won gold and silver at the junior OIympics.

And although neither Will nor Amanda are actually royals, even in a my-great-uncle-was-a-Hapsburg, European extended way, they are royalty in an important sense. Their father, Bill Harlan, founded Harlan Estate in Napa Valley in 1984. A real estate developer (among other things), Harlan Senior set out to create a wine estate near California’s Pacific Coast that would rival the great names of France – Château Lafite, Cheval Blanc, Romanée-Conti – for both quality and reputation.

Harlan set himself a monumental task, but achieved it remarkably quickly. His fourth vintage was rated a perfect 100/100 by the uber-wine critic Robert Parker; his British counterpart Jancis Robinson of the Financial Times labelled Harlan one of the ten best wines of the 20th century. Harlan Estate then rode on a wave, partly of its own making, of enthusiasm and glamour for the top wines of California. The wave was fuelled by the 1990s dot com boom that minted thousands of new millionaires in the area: if your home was in Pacific Heights, why would you only champion wines from across the world in France?

hills and vineyards and a blue sky

Harlan Estate is on the west side of the fabled Napa Valley

Harlan Estate rapidly became a near-mythical wine, family owned, hard and very expensive to get, desire and scarcity fuelling each other. Part of it was a lust for the new, among the newly rich, that created the contemporary art boom of the era that has never stopped since; part of it was that Bill Harlan made exceptionally good wine, a true match for the great names of the old world, in a style that was more rich and less bitter than a classic Bordeaux. Harlan Estate was a top-level wine that didn’t need an instruction manual to be properly appreciated.

Harlan Snr contributed to his revered status by announcing a 200 year plan for the estate, to gain a long-term reputation equal to the world’s greatest chateaux. Napa Valley was turning from a beautiful area, between two mountain ranges, with some wine farms, to some of the most desirable real estate in the US. The area’s private members’ club, Napa Valley Reserve, part-owned by the Harlans, is one of the most exclusive in the world, with a $165,000 entry fee. Billionaires are left on waiting lists for the top Napa wines, led by Harlan and other names like Screaming Eagle.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

I first met Bill Harlan and his wife Deborah at an event in France in 2015. The division I headed at Condé Nast had just been asked to take over a wine and luxury magazine run by a Hong Kong wine writer, and the Harlans, along with other celebrated names in wine, were at the publication’s lavish launch party. They were incisive, distinguished, curious.

I then spent some time with Will and Amanda in Napa in early 2022. It was wintertime, but the ongoing drought and days of blue sky and uninterrupted sunshine made for a spectacular backdrop as we toured the Howard Backen-designed buildings and high vineyards, bordering forests, at Promontory. Promontory is another of the family’s properties: situated on a mountaintop separating Napa with neighbouring Sonoma, much of it is wild woodland, interspersed with vines, making wines with a cool, stony complexity.

We also visited Bond, another property of the family, another intellectual project, this time with the aim of making distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon out of single vineyards chosen to be distinctive. While much of the Harlan vision is inspired by Bordeaux, Bond has a vision rooted in Burgundy, where individual vineyards, and even areas within vineyards, are identified as the best of the best.

vineyard with trees and hills in the distance

St Eden Vineyard

And we tasted The Mascot, the brainchild of Will: a wine they would hesitate to call entry level, as the price of a bottle is more than a meal for four in a family restaurant in Europe, but which is aimed to be more accessible, both in terms of price and style. The Mascot’s raison d’être is that it is made from younger vines of all three properties (Harlan Estate, BOND, and Promontory). Initially, it was a blend made for the family table, but Will and Amanda convinced their father and the winemakers to let them offer it on its own. The Mascot is a delicious red wine that is both fresh and deep: a more playful Miu Miu to Harlan Estate’s architectural Prada.

One of the most striking aspects of the trip was a visit to the Napa Valley Reserve. This is part super-exclusive wine estate, part hyper-exclusive members’ club, on the eastern side of Napa Valley with views of the Mayacamas Mountains. Members pay very high fees to join, and as well as access to some quite sublime restaurants and spaces, they get to create their very own blend of top-level Napa wines.

I was amazed so little has been made of Napa Valley Reserve globally – a similar club in France or Tuscany would have attracted reams of magazine pages and petabytes of digital coverage, and would have hosted numerous fashion shoots and art shows. But royalty is discreet. Too discreet, I wondered, as I wandered around, thinking idly of who might create something at a similar level in Europe. Bernard Arnault of LVMH would make it a Cheval Blanc and commodify it. François Pinault of Kering has the pedigree in Chateau Latour (and Christie’s) but no hospitality experience. Michel Reybier of La Reserve group? Soho House? Sharan and Eiesha Pasricha of Maison Estelle?

Finally, I caught up with Will and Amanda together, over Zoom, to speak about succession and what it feels like taking over such a carefully assembled portfolio of estates and properties – the family also own Meadowood, a luxury hotel resort in a wooded valley on the edge of Napa – with a view to the next 200 years.

Will, ever thoughtful, sometimes philosophical, never predictable, tended to take the lead, as elder sibling and managing director. Amanda, with a smile in her voice, would defer but sometimes come in and make her point, enthusiastically and with an articulacy and economy of words.

Meadowood Spa Reception Lounge with sitting area and fireplace

The spa at Meadowood, the family’s luxury resort on the east side of Napa Valley

The impression was of the next generation, in a family succession, taking over from a powerful and charismatic father, who are taking the reins thoughtfully, respectfully, and with the same determination shown by their parents: and with the confidence to do what they wish, within the context of a 200 year plan.

LUX: What is it like to be part of a succession?

Will Harlan: That’s not a word we have internally used, but it is a succession at the end of the day. And this transition of generations, I think the most important word we find ourselves using is continuity. Being able to provide that structure and environment in which we can pass along the most amount of experience and wisdom and everything from the previous generations, not just of the family but of the team as well, so I think we find ourselves thinking more in terms of continuity.

LUX: Taking over a family business, do you ever feel daunted, ask yourself, what if I mess it up?

WH: I mean, there’s always going to be an element of that and I think it’s important to have an element of that, because without feeling that it’s daunting you might be missing, first of all just how much potential there, is, and I think you’d be missing a certain aspect of humility, and without that I don’t think you’re open minded enough to grow and continue to improve and evolve. As Amanda says, we’ve been doing this for a little bit and my learning curve feels vertical, it feels like we’ve been drinking from a fire hose, for me, a little over ten years and it doesn’t seem like the fire hose is turning off any time soon. So, there’s that element, but at the same time, I’m now building up a bank of things that I’ve now gotten the hang of, and some familiarity, enough that there is a little more balance between the comfort and discomfort of the daunting nature of the role.

Amanda Harlan: I was going to say, Will is a couple years ahead of me and I think in a very different way has been working very closely alongside my father, there was a very crucial passing of the baton the last few years, and on the visionary, philosophical side, has been a lot closer to it than I have. The first five or six years of my joining the business, I was out in the market, so for me, I think it was very exciting and maybe the daunting part is just setting in a little bit. But I do have to say, maybe along with the inevitable rollercoaster of emotion that comes day to day, I’d say the most exciting and maybe solid part for me is that I’m not doing it alone, and that I have my brother and Cory [Empting, Managing Director of Wine-growing] and a really solid team around us, that is arm in arm with us as we climb this proverbial mountain. But I can’t speak for my brother.

A corridor with a wooden plank leading to a view of vineyards

Promontory, the Harlan family’s newest property, has a winery designed by Howard Backen with long, organic sightlines

LUX: What are hardest things that you have to do day-to-day in the business?

AH: I mean I would say, a lot for me of this steep learning curve… my studies took me to other places, studying psychology, studying sociology, being very close with people and human behaviour and I think as I delve deeper into leadership and management and learning from our team and my parents and with Will and Cory, I think a lot of the thing I’m learning most is how businesses run, how finances run, a lot of these behind the scenes inner workings, of opening the hood of the car and recognising you’ve driven this whole thing but you didn’t really understand how it worked. So maybe the most challenging thing for me right now is really trying to get up to speed with my contemporaries within the company. And I think, time. I find myself on a day-to-day basis challenged with how can I maximise the time and I do my best to prioritise but when you’re so close to something and so passionate I find myself challenged with time to get everything done with intent and great focus. That’s what I would say my greatest challenge is.

WH: I think maybe the thing that hasn’t come as naturally to me, while I love the wine business, is the management of people aspect. It is just such a different kind of role and I think that is the place where I’m really trying to put in the work to improve: management, leadership, as we go through this generational shift, I think that’s the place where I find myself feeling it every day.

LUX: Will, is there pressure being your father’s son?

AH: I mean, in some ways. There’s an expectation, whether or not that’s what the world expects or what the team expects, there’s always going to be, at least for me, this drive and dedication to go further and beyond and always attempting as a team to realise our potential and go beyond anything the first generation could have.

LUX: And with the wines themselves, obviously you want to keep things on track, everyone wants to improve what they already have, but is there room for improvement?

WH: I feel really strongly about this. Yes, of course. There’s room for improvement. It takes generations to really understand a piece of land and you take Harlan Estate, no one farmed the land before us, we’re the first people to farm this plot and to think we’ve got it figured out would be almost hilarious.

LUX: We spoke about the 200-year plan, so it’s now 200 years’ time from now, and my successors are creating a book on 200 and something years of Harlan and they’re speaking to your successors. What are they going to write about the second generation? What will you have done by the time you hand down to whomever you’ve have handed down to?

A wooden house lit up

A reception at the Napa Valley Reserve

WH: I feel like they may recount that th