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Art Seen: Specific Sightings

Carolyn Lavender
(lives, works in Phoenix)
Journal 37 (detail)
Acrylic, Graphite on canvas panel
12 x 12 inches

Najilaa Al Ramahi
(born Baghdad, Iraq; lives, works in Amman, Jordan)
, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
9.84 x 11.81 inches

If you are in Scottsdale, AZ, and looking for a great local coffee shop, Echo Coffee is the perfect spot. The coffee is terrific, and the people are very nice there. But wait a minute… why are we talking about coffee on Culture Seen? Well, they have been putting on some great mini art exhibits there, and currently there is a great reason to have some coffee, and see Specific Sightings, now through May 31, 2012.

Falah Al Saidi
(born Baghdad, Iraq; lives, works in Amman, Jordan)
, 2011
Oil on canvas
11.81 x 11.81 inches

The exhibition was curated by Ted Decker and Salman Al Wastey. Mr. Decker is a Phoenix and Rio de Janeiro based international art consultant, co-founder of Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art [phICA], and founder of the Ted Decker Catalyst Fund which supports legacy investments in the professional careers of artists. Mr. Al Wastey, originally from Baghdad, Iraq (now residing in Phoenix) is a noted art critic, writer, and curator. They have put together a compelling collection that represents “art sightings” across cultures and countries. There are 13 artists represented from diverse locations, including the United States (Salt Lake City, Boston, Phoenix, and California), Iraq, Jordan, Brazil, and Iran. According to Al Wastey, “The most important means of expression for man’s humanity are the senses, so art is one of the most important means by which he/she expresses the human senses. So there will be a number of artists from America, Iraq, Iran and Brazil, brought together by one language, the language of art.”

Monica Aissa Martinez
(lives, works in Phoenix)
World Stage, A Play in Finite Acts
, 2004-05
Casein, egg tempra on canvas
30 x 28 inches

Ted Decker is very interested in bringing artwork to places outside the traditional gallery. He says, “For the better part of the last 20 years, I have advocated for artists and art in various ways, one of which has been hanging art in coffee places and alternative venues, including new car dealerships and restaurants. Art that may be “threatening” or a mystery in a more formal setting like a gallery or museum can be viewed in a more relaxed and open minded way in a place like a coffee house or restaurant.”

Jaber Al Saria
(born Baghdad, Iraq; lives, work in Irvine, California)
The Harvest
, 2011
Oil on wood
19.69 x 19.69 inches

Andrea Sherrill Evans
(lives, works in Boston, MA)
The Tree #2
, 2011
Silverprint, watercolor on prepared paper
30 x 22 inches

Specific Sightings is installed at Echo Coffee through May 31st, 2012. Echo Coffee is located on the) at 2902 North 68th St, Suite 135 in Scottsdale (northwest corner of N. 68th Street and E. Thomas Road). Open 6:00 am to 10:00 pm every day. Call Ted at 480 577-8295 for additional information or visit

  1. Ted Decker (Reply) on Thursday 16, 2012

    Thanks for posting this Chris! I hope your readers will stop by Echo Coffee in Scottsdale to see this special exhibit while it is installed there (through May 31st). For me, these “micro burst” exhibits in alternative venues such as Echo Coffee are wonderful. And to be able to see work that I have never seen before from Iraq, Iran, and Jordan is a treat! Please visit my website soon: Enjoy art!