Going the Extra Mile

Going the Extra Mile

While London might dominate the UK’s art scene, a show titled ‘Contemporary Art of the Middle East’, currently taking place at Wetpaint Gallery in Stroud, approximately 144 km from the capital, is proving to be a win-win for both artists and audiences 

A new exhibition of contemporary Middle Eastern art in the market town of Stroud is providing artists with welcome exposure outside of London, while offering audiences in and around the area the opportunity to view an exciting and eclectic collection of works without having to head to the UK’s capital. 

Titled ‘Contemporary Art of the Middle East’, the month-long show runs until July 14, 2018 at Wetpaint Gallery and is a joint project for owner Celia Wickham and curator, Janet Rady. 

The exhibition, which features over 40 works by 17 artists from across the region, is believed to be the biggest commercial display of Middle Eastern art outside of London.

Wetpaint Gallery


Rady, a specialist in Contemporary Art from the Middle East with 30 years of experience, is delighted that the show is extending the reach of what represents one of the fastest-growing art markets in the UK.

“Many of us have long felt that art is too London-centric, despite the city’s attractions,” she acknowledges. “I believe artists deserve a wider audience and audiences deserve the chance to view a broader range of artworks. This will, of course, take time and effort, but I’m very proud to have played a part in driving this process forward.”

‘Contemporary Art in the Middle East’ features a rich variety of works by artists from Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and the UAE, as well as pieces by others connected to the region, who are living and working in the UK. 

Photo from the Contemporary Art of the Middle East exhibition


The works on display range from sculptures, paintings and installations to digital photography, with highlights including a skull decorated by Iranian craftsmen and Persian miniatures.

Rady says that reactions to the show have been unequivocally positive.

“Visitors have been pleasantly surprised at the scope and content of the exhibition, in part, I think, because there are so many misconceptions about both the region generally and the art being produced there,” she explains. “For example, some people believe figurative work is prohibited in Iran, which simply isn’t the case.”

Photo from the Contemporary Art of the Middle East exhibition


She adds that visitors cite a variety of reasons for finding themselves drawn to the pieces, ranging from the colours and patterns, many of which are reminiscent of those found in Persian carpets, to the composition and historical aspect.

“It doesn’t really matter what the attraction is,” Rady says, with emphasis. “The main objective was to instil an interest in artwork from the region and provide a platform for emerging artists to show their visual interpretations of stories referencing the Middle East. The signs are that we’ve met this aim, which is immensely satisfying.”  


‘Contemporary Art of the Middle East’
Wetpaint Gallery: June 14 – July 14, 2018, in association with Janet Rady Fine Art

Sign in to your account to get exclusive access to new works, receive personalised experiences and place bids.

Forgot your password?