Tuesday 23, August 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: COYA Dubai—one of Dubai’s most popular dining destinations—expands its COYA Collective after the summer to showcase Moroccan artist Najoua Ajjour’s (Naj) work during the very first week of September.

With an exhibition titled “Na Mila Asili” –which means tradition and culture in Swahili—COYA Dubai will be hosting the first preview to this exhibit from 7 to 9pm on the 4th of September. The artist Naj combines the usage of traditional materials like ceramic and sand with more modern, eclectic elements like body paint and balloons. The results are a striking and compelling combination of soft, natural tones and bold primary colors, not only illustrating the role of heritage and culture in the modern world but also how those things connect us all.

The artist’s inspiration came from her interest in anthropology and the contrasting cultures of Morocco (her heritage), France (her birth country) and most recently the home she made in Dubai with its melting pot of different nationalities.

“The ethnic mix fascinates me.” Naj explains that each piece begins with photography. “It took weeks to find the right models, to create costumes and do the body painting,” she says. “The photos are then printed on canvas and then I work with different media, sometimes superimposing wood and paint, ceramics or metal and natural products like spices, gold or sand.”

In this exhibition Naj explores the heritage of countries such as Japan, New Zealand and her beloved Morocco and plans to create future shows exploring similar themes. “This exhibition is the first and the summary in a series and is a way of saying thanks to all these cultures that persist despite the modernity of the world and I am excited to be able to unveil this at one of Dubai’s most culturally diverse dining destinations, COYA Dubai,” says Naj.

“We are delighted to collaborate with diverse talents from our region within the COYA Collective and are proud to offer artists of the Middle East an additional platform and a place to express themselves. Our COYA Art Collection has expanded quite rapidly since we have opened and we have since been able to present patrons of COYA Dubai with the art of XX different artists to view as they dine,” says Cedric Toussaint, Director of Operations for COYA Middle East.