In collaboration with SWALIF Collectives, ZUHOOR an interactive art installation
10 March 2023 – 4 June 2023
Venue: F-stop, Manarat Al Saadiyat
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Visual imaginations of Arabness are limited to the cultural products we see in news, film and marketing campaigns. Seldom is there a study of our daily, colourful attire that extends beyond the structures of formality? The fabrics we place on our skin, the patterns we highlight through our bodies, and the colours we brighten our souls with are familiar narrative elements that we investigate daily.
Through our artists’ installations, we enter a dreamlike world and enjoy a glimpse of various visually alluring stories — dresses, gloves, flowers and planets, coupled with accessories that delight those who wear them. The hyperfixation of the artists on traditional houseware, props, clothing, lighting, carpets and backdrops recreates familiar environments that slowly become unrecognisable. The exhibition then deploys a strong juxtaposition between the two artists and the worlds they create, with Shafaf using warmth and realism, while Fatma delves into vibrant, neon Gulf-surrealism.
This exhibition incorporates an element of interactivity, creating a dynamic relationship between the visitor and the artist and blurring the line between the art and the audience. It introduces an immersive experience that informs visitors about the process the two artists underwent in creating the photographs.
The audience is invited to participate in the storytelling, not simply as passive onlookers but as active agents in the narrative. The documented mind mapping of sceneries, the production of a set and costume, and the opportunity for engagement with props aim to create an educational landscape.
This exhibition travels through typical explorations of identity and lands with an articulated observation of what it feels to be photographed, fruitful and colourful. As the old saying goes, beauty is the eye of the beholder, and nothing is more beautiful than the patterns we see and image we create ourselves in our homes, communities and cities.
Meet the team:
Salem Al Suwaidi:
Salem Al Suwaidi is a writer and curator from Abu Dhabi. He is also the founder & Editor-in-Chief of SWALIF Collective, an art and literature collective for youth based in the Khlaeej. Salem completed a degree in Politics and Geography at King's College, London, and is interested in exploring nationalism, cultural hegemony and post-colonial development. He aspires to become an academic in Middle Eastern political science and urban studies.
Roudhah Al Mazrouei
Abu Dhabi-based visual artist, Roudhah Al Mazrouei (b. 2003, Al Ain) expresses herself through her Emarati culture. A lot of her paintings depict patriotic themes and the Emirati experience through a female lens. She is recognised for consistently developing her thematic expression to encourage creativity and artistic nuances. As of 2022, she is a junior studying Visual Arts and Art History at New York University Abu Dhabi.
Humoud Al Muqbali
Humoud Suwaidan (b. 1996) is an Emarati Artist and digital photographer who specialises in the art of digital portraiture, focusing on the stories of illustrated characters. His inspiration stems from listening to the people around him and their unique and contrasting stories. Through his method of visual and interactive works, Suwaidan conveys people’s lives and messages. He has participated in several local photography exhibitions, the latest being a solo exposition at Bait Al Nabodah in Sharjah. Suwaidan has won several awards in the field of photography, including ‘Abu Dhabi Through Your Eyes’ and a photography competition during the Emirates Heritage Festival, among others.
Fatma Ali (b. 1997) is an Emirati architect with a passion for visual art and design. She translates her visual perceptions and stories through collage storytelling works. Her art revolves around representing the Emirati culture and identity in a contemporary light. Fatma often captures Emirati fashion vocabulary through her lens, juxtaposing it with digital art and celestial iconography. Her typically focus is showcasing the traditional Jalabiyas in prints, settings and colourways that go beyond their usual depiction. She has gained recognition for her dreamlike compositions, which aim to evoke curiosity in the viewer and present them with a joyful coming together of contrasting elements.
Book your tickets HERE