Current MFA student Merna Liddawi, who was recently runner-up in the Gemini Prize, is soon to exhibit her work in a group exhibition at Leyden Gallery in London, between October 12th and 22nd. Entitled 'Platform for Emerging Art #12' and curated by Adriana Cerne and Lindsay Moranthe, the mixed media exhibition showcases six artists in one of East London's most vibrant art spaces. Merna will be exhibiting alongside Andy D'Cruz, Buffy Kimm, Grace Holliday, Isobel Church, and Martina van de Gey.
"Merna Liddawi grew up in Jordan, her grounding in the Orthodox Church and a later career in maths and science can be glimpsed through her paintings. Her work attempts to touch upon the sublime and open up a window into a belief in harmonious universe, in a world that is otherwise full of strife and conflict. She describes her art as 'a spiritual journey to discover the hidden beauty at the very heart of the universe'.
Using fifteenth century methods, the paintings are worked in layers upon layers of mineral and earth pigments, mixed in tempera medium to create depth and transparency. The tempera is laid down on gessoed panels prepared in her studio using a lengthy method. The process is a contemplative one adding to the richness and depth of the image. Genuine gold leaf is applied using gilder's techniques of water gilding.
Process and materiality is central to the art: the authenticity of the base elements, the careful preparation of the materials and the layered depths glimpsed in base elements are revealed by time as if through alchemy."
Another MFA student, Hala Sabet, was recently selected as a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
The Society is an "independent artist led organisation that promotes high professional and creative standards among sculptors/artists and is committed to making the full range of contemporary practice accessible to all (...) Membership of the RBS is selective and the sculptor members of Council meet before the full Council to review applications and select new members."
In other Alumni news, two recent graduates from Visual Arts programmes, Eleanor Buffam (London) and Sheila McGrath-Hayward (Sussex), were both shortlisted for National Open Art 2016, while another Alumnus, Carrie Goldsmith (Graduate Diploma), presented a solo exhibition of paintings at Galeria Sa Tafona in Mallorca between September 30th and October 12th.