Barjeel Art Foundation Collection

Imperfect Chronology: Mapping the Contemporary I

  • Yto Barrada, Northern Provinces, Tangier, 2009. Image courtesy Sfeir-Semler Gallery

    Yto Barrada, Northern Provinces, Tangier, 2009. Image courtesy Sfeir-Semler Gallery

Past Exhibition

This exhibition was on 26 Apr - 14 Aug 2016

Imperfect Chronology: Mapping the Contemporary I

26 April – 14 August 2016

The Barjeel Art Foundation holds an extensive collection of art from the Arab world. This display drawn from the collection looks at the rise of media-based practices among a generation of artists who emerged in the 1990s.

Dealing with issues of migration, the aftermath of war and media representations of history and culture, artists such as Lebanon-born Walid Raad (b. 1967) and Akram Zaatari (b. 1966) construct real and imagined archives out of Beirut and Cairo, while Yto Barrada (b. 1971) maps and photographs her hometown of Tangier tracking border crossings and those who hope for a better life across the Mediterranean.

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The display features artists from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, United Arab Emirates and the United States and includes Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Mona Hatoum, Khaled Hourani, Mohammed Kazem, Maha Maamoun, Basim Magdy, Michael Rakowitz and Abdul Hay Mosallam Zarara.

GCC Collective, Micro Council, 2013, Wood, brass, acrylic glass, glass web


Sat 22 Oct, 11.30am-6pm
Considering the themes raised in the Barjeel Art Foundation collection displays with speakers including Sultan Al Qassemi.

Barjeel catalogue image


A fully illustrated catalogue edited by curator Omar Kholeif maps a genealogy of modern and contemporary Arab art. Price: £24.99


This series of four chronological displays from the Barjeel Art Foundation collection continues the Whitechapel Gallery’s programme opening up rarely seen art collections to the public.

Display 1: Debating Modernism I

8 September – 6 December 2015

Debating Modernism I explores the emergence and subsequent development of an Arab art aesthetic through drawings and paintings from the early twentieth century.

Display 2: Debating Modernism II

15 December 2015 – 17 April 2016

Debating Modernism II focuses on figurative works of art produced between 1968 and 1987.

Display 3: Mapping the Contemporary I

26 April – 14 August 2016

Mapping the Contemporary I presents photography and video works made between 1990 and 1998.

Display 4: Mapping the Contemporary II

23 August 2016 – 8 January 2017

Mapping the Contemporary II explores how artists using various media artistically engage with the cities where they either live or work.