East West Dialogue: The Shafik Gabr Collection

I was fortunate to attend the New York premier of Shafik Gabr's orientalist collection, and panel discussion on East West dialogue. The opening was at the Met's Temple of Dendur.
Taken from the website,which provides a clear summation,  the initiative will sponsor exchanges between young and mid career Middle Eastern and Western leaders in the arts, science, sports, media and both social and business entrepreneurship.
The exchanges are designed to provide unique insights for participants into their respective societies, and a basis for developing professional and personal relationships across cultures.
Mr Gabr drew his inspiration for the initiative from his experience as an Egyptian whose world view was transformed by travel and the friendships and lessons that resulted.
He has also been inspired by the experiences of the Orientalist traveller painters, the artists whose work he has been collecting for over twenty years.
The initiative will be launched at a series of panel discussions held in London, Washington, New York, Paris, Istanbul and Cairo – accompanied by the publication of a new book Masterpieces of Orientalist Art: The Shafik Gabr Collection. for more information.



Shots of the interior exhibition @ Katara Cultural Village, in Doha during November. The solo exhibition featured a Neo Orientalist TM take on the American Television classic " I Dream of Jeannie" 



After my trip to Doha, I came back with a wonderful model of a landcruiser, and modified it to reflect a sense of realism I had come to expect. Including plastic interior, and vinyl stickers on the rear. 


GLADD Art Auction 2012

GLADD Art auction Fall 2012. 


Landing on the Moon. NEIL ARMSTRONG خدا به تو برکت بده G-D BLESS YOU

1:6 model in studio

Arabic information booklet on Space 1970s

Iranian commemorative stamp 1969

I have always been inspired by space exploration. Neil Armstrong's passing signifies a singular moment that transcended petty internal conflict on the planet, and will be remembered in the millennia to follow. Hopefully, we will once again come together as a community in the future if we travel to Mars and beyond. 


Neo Orientalist™ Car

A major undertaking, "Neo Orientalist™ Car" (2012) is the artist's elaborate, one-of-a-kind creation of a unique vehicle embellished with signature Parnes attributes of Neo Orientalism™ (a term trademarked by the artist, in a sharp reminder of the contemporary insoluble transfusion of world cultures and corporate branding). Historically, the luxury brand Mercedes-Benz of German origin has been a preferred car of the Kingdom and its sister regions. For instance, a 1935 model was customized by the manufacturer, with unique particulars such as an 8-cylinder engine, for the former King of Iraq. From the general matte black skin to the minutia of gold-leaf Farsi numerical symbols as well as the interior's authentic Persian royal carpet details, the formidable "Neo Orientalist™ Car" takes us on a journey not only into the mystical past but into the rich cultural imagination of the Middle Eastern kingdoms.


Neo Orientalist Car #1

The decision to take a 1978 Mercedes 280CE and modify it to speak to a merging of East and West, was a natural one. The Mercedes W123 is still highly valued in terms of its durability and use in the Middle East, and is also still regarded as a luxury vehicle in the West. Here is a preview shot of the instrument cluster. 


Iranian Playing Cards

Specially manufactured Playing Cards for the Iranian monopoly by Thos. De La Rue & CO Ltd. London. Designed by V. Romanowski de Boncza. Circa 1930s.  What makes these so interesting is that not only were these cards designed for a Persian market, but they were fanciful in their designs, taking inspiration from Persian motifs.  These will be a perfect series of paintings I am working onClick here for more of my photos.


A space Ark of the Covenant, אָרוֹן הָבְּרִית, Taboot-e-Sakina

First a some background, This is a 36 cm length model that I built based on the specs of  the Pioneer probe, in addition I fabricated the Plaque that was attached to the side of the craft. I modified it to include the representation of the female reproductive system, and the deletion of Pluto. In addition, I have also fabricated the gold anodized metal housing that contained a record with examples of music, human sounds, and photos, placed on the Voyager probe. Most people are aware that Nasa launched these probes in the 70s, but we tend to think very little of them as they are seemingly obsolete. But they are the first man made objects to leave our solar system, and may be the first representations of our species, or the last surviving examples to another life form.

Take for a second to consider that either our planet is destroyed, or an alien life-form intercepts these small artifacts floating in space. what would they conclude. What will they be able to properly formulate who we are (or what we were).  In ways these floating pieces of technology are akin to the Ark of the Covenant which housed the commandments. something sacred,  bejeweled in gold, and serving as a container of precious information.

These future antiquities including their plaques simplify the human experience that we have made so seemingly complex. All of the cultural differences, religious, languages, morals etc are non existent. Just as the biblical figures of Adam and Eve were initially simplistic and representative of the first beings, these two engravings are equally mysterious and compelling. The records onboard Voyager contain only enough information that could be housed on a double 12 inch record, basic human sounds, and phrases in a variety of languages ( Here are a few samples Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian,  and Akkadian ( the language of the ancient Sumaria) which I would assume would sound virtually the same to an entity that had never encountered the "differences" in human language.  Again, a slim lined representation of the basic aspects of humandum, perhaps also similar in ways to the ten simple, laws of Moses.  

It is also interesting to compare the use of pictural information, including instructions, and specifications about the human race, to the ancient human pictural representations found on cave walls. We are in ways using technology to transmit information in the most primitive/comfortable way possible. 

Pioneer 11 (also known as Pioneer G) is a 259-kilogram (569 lbrobotic space probe launched by NASA on April 6, 1973 to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn,solar windcosmic rays, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and heliosphere. It was the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and byJupiter. Due to power constraints and the vast distance of the probe, communication has been lost since November 30, 1995.

The Pioneer plaques are a pair of gold-anodized aluminium plaques which were placed on board the 1972Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft, featuring a pictorial message, in case either Pioneer 10 or 11 are intercepted by extraterrestrial life. The plaques show the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft.The Pioneer spacecraft were the first human-built objects to leave the Solar System. The plaques were attached to the spacecraft's antenna support struts in a position that would shield them from erosion by stellar dust

The Voyager program is a U.S program that launched two unmanned space missions, scientific probes Voyager 1 andVoyager 2. They were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable planetary alignment of the late 1970s. Although officially designated to study just Jupiter and Saturn, the probes were able to continue their mission into theouter solar system, and are as of December 2011 on course to exit the solar system. These probes were built at JPLand were funded by NASAVoyager 1 is currently the farthest human-made object from Earth

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Sagan and his associates assembled 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of birds and whales), from the Environments LPs. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.
The collection of images includes many photographs and diagrams both in black and white and color. The first images are of scientific interest, showing mathematical and physical quantities, the solar system and its planets, DNA, and human anatomy and reproduction. Care was taken to include not only pictures of humanity, but also some of animals, insects, plants and landscapes. Images of humanity depict a broad range of cultures. These images show food, architecture, and humans in portraits as well as going about their day to day lives. Many pictures are annotated with one or more indications of scales of time, size, or mass. Some images contain indications of chemical composition. All measures used on the pictures are defined in the first few images using physical references that are likely to be consistent anywhere in the universe.


Iranian Mercedes Benz Grill Badge


There was a time particularly in the 50's and 60's when European cars were adorned with badges on the front grill. The Mercedes Benz was particularly suited for people to show the world what club or place they belonged to. Iran also happened to have its own Mercedes club. My 1989 Mercedes 300TE is modeling for this shoot.