It’s Pancake Day today. At first, I wanted to catch at least one of the several pancake races happening around town today, but even the prospect of pancakes did not motivate me enough to step out into the gray mistiness of today. So I had a pancake lunch indoors (once the thought of pancakes strikes, I generally do not stop until I have ingested some), and decided to go to the posh and pretty Duke of York Square in Chelsea instead, where I have spent many a fine weekend lately. Prettiness generally doesn’t fail to banish gray misty blues for me.

Barely had I begun to click, that a nattily dressed security guard complete with a tiny wireless earphone and a finger stuck to it came running up to me and (suprisingly) politely requested me to refrain. Asked why, he said it’s a privately owned estate. Which it is, indeed, except it’s a shopping estate open to all. Whether or not that meant I could not click, the grayness had permeated my being, and I did not feel like arguing. I did manage a shot of relatively posh litter, though! Hah.

click on pictures to enlarge
Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
NOT a dirty beer can.
Then I turned my attention towards the Saatchi Gallery, which was anyway part of the original plan. Unluckily for the natty guard, the Saatchi Gallery sits in the Duke of York Headquarters, which although a part of the Square, is a separate institution. The grounds of the HQ outside the gallery generally have a life of their own, and my camera was amply rewarded with at least two groups of art students visiting the gallery today with their instructors, (which also meant too many teenagers inside the gallery, but oh, well…) the usual book readers and time-passers, the genuine art lovers, the clueless strollers, schoolchildren from a neighbouring school at football practice and the odd passer-by.
Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

The gallery itself has a new exhibition on. Called Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, the title is pretty much self-explanatory. I found it an eclectic mix of different genres and different media – some impressive, some that did not quite appeal to me. I especially loved the work of Wafa Hourani and Laleh Khorammian, both, for their intricate attention to detail. I did not click pictures because a) I didn’t think the pictures would do justice, especially to Laleh Khorammian’s “Eden – 1st Generation”, which had me riveted for at least ten minutes; and b) because I was too engrossed to remember to click!

Some other impressive works and general scenes around the gallery though, were clickable. Some of the common apparent themes that I could read through the works were war and destruction and the status or rather the lack thereof of Muslim women in Middle Eastern society.

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
Kader Attia’s ‘Ghost’ – an aluminium foil installation of Muslim women in prayer – certainly the most popular exhibit

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
Diana Al-HAdid’s‘All The Stops’ – ‘impossible architecture’ made of cardboard, wood, metal, plastic and paint

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London
Halim Al-Karim’s ghostly triptychs – Lambda prints covered with silks – very powerful and very disturbing depictions of his personal experiences in the Gulf War and his observations of the horrors of Middle Eastern conflicts today. I clicked the last picture with a person in it to bring out the ghostly apparitions of his prints.

And a couple of gallery scenes
Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London

An evening well-spent (and better spent indoors when the outdoors are so dreary.) Though if this dull gray weather continues, I think I’ll be forced to abandon this blog and go into hibernation. Wake me up when the sun is out.
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