20 November 2023–26 November 2023

Iris Projects present The Return (راجعون)

Juma Al Haj

Part of Alserkal Art Week

Iris Projects present The Return (راجعون), a new solo exhibition by Juma Al Haj that chronicle self-reflections on existence, triggered by loss.

Starts 20 November 2023

Ends 26 November 2023

Venue Warehouse 46


In his paintings and drawings, Al Haj transcends the confines of calligraphy as he documents personal experiences. His abstract notations appear unconscious, though his process is in fact method-based, calculated and always originating from his personal journals. In this exhibition, Al Haj chronicles self-reflections on existence, triggered by loss. The immersive canvases convey epitomes of spirituality and custom, and explore the implausibility of memories in time. Whereas Al Haj maintains his distinctive technique of abstracted text, The Return signifies a clear development in his practice - his choice of sand as a medium, the transition from script to tally marks, the shift to geometric abstraction.

Juma Al Haj’s (b. 1990, UAE) art practice took on following notable residencies, including with the Sharjah Cultural Foundation, and an art mentorship program he received under the esteemed Ted Ramsey, resident artist at the New School of Northern Virginia. Notable exhibitions include Unwritten, Unspoken & Told, a pivotal part of the inaugural Dubai Calligraphy Biennale in 2023, Art of Living at Jubail Island, Dubai, in 2022, as well as the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival in 2021, Frame of Mind at the Foundry by Emaar in Dubai in 2021, Covid Conversation at Tashkeel in Dubai in 2021, Explorations in Abstraction at Al Marsam Al Hor and Al Qattara Arts Center in 2021. Juma Al Haj currently lives and works in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Iris Projects, formerly known as Iris Art Advisory, emerged in 2020 through the collaborative vision of Lateefa Bin Hamoodah and Maryam Al Falasi. Their identity transcends the conventional boundaries of an art gallery; instead, they realise off-site exhibitions, produce public and private art commissions, advise on art acquisitions and sales and deliver cultural strategies and programming, Purposefully artist-led, Iris Projects nurtures discourses, inspires creativity, and promotes a deeper comprehension of the world through the lens of contemporary art. Their commitment is twofold: to promote the creative ambitions of painters, sculptors, photographers and multi-disciplinary artists of the UAE; and to preserve the artistic legacy and heritage of the region.

Image: Juma Al Haj, Painting of Sad Letters, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 100 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Iris Projects, Photo by Ismail Noor of Seeing Things