Islamic Art Festival blooms like the mural of a spiritual garden
SHARJAH: Under the theme Prospect, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, has announced its extended year-end programme to Feb. 22, 2020 as part of the 22nd edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival.
In addition to Bloom, a solo exhibition by renowned Chinese artist Li Hongbo, the centre is also hosting Arc ZERO, by James Tapscott and The Spirit of The City, by Ahmed Karaly.
Maraya Art Centre has also unveiled two new Jedariyahs (Murals) in Al Qasba, Sharjah, Mural II by Egyptian duo Magdy El Kafrawy and Mohamed Abdel Aziz and The Geometrical Garden by Danila Chauzi.
Inspired by the prevalence of water in Islamic architecture and garden design, Australian artist Tapscott devised an installation that aims to create a unique spatial experience.
Arc ZERO reflects the impact of Islamic art on the artist’s practice, exploring the impact of materiality and texture on the audience experience, through the creation of an interactive experience that presents the materials in an unfamiliar way.
The exhibition engages with each individual sense to create an awakening of the senses, fostering a new appreciation for our natural environment and questioning the significance of texture in the facilitation of an experience.
Composed of eight layers of chiffon fabric that engage with a fixed source of still light, The Spirit of The City is both an installation that questions the definitions of a sculpture by using light as the main material.
Egyptian artist Karaly creates a different sculpture each year that depicts his interpretation of that year’s spirit. For 2019, the artist chose light, as it represents strength in times of prayer and labour, to represent the spirit of the year.
The chiffon layers are shaped uniquely in eight uneven layers that also represent Karaly’s interpretation of the history of Islamic architecture.
Curated by Joaline Frizzell, Bloom presents paper sculptures of guns and bullets, by Chinese artist Hongbo, unfurled in a floral, polychromatic geometric arrangement inspired by the patterns prevalent in traditional Islamic art.
Hongbo’stransformationoftoolsofdestruction into a vibrant and delicate landscape provokes questions of established conceptions, removing negative connotations and instilling a sense of optimism for a peaceful future.
An artist who works across drawing, street art and installation, Chauzi has spent over a decade developing a unique three-dimensional graffiti technique. The Russian artist’s practice is inspired by his childhood in Moscow, surrounded by graffiti and the city’s vibrant visual culture.
His work, The Geometrical Garden, was designed to transport its audience on a safarilike journey through a series of drawings and has been installed on the exterior of Block D, Al Qasba.
Making their return to the Sharjah Islamic Art Festival, Egyptian duo El Kafrawy and Aziz were commissioned to create a second Jedariyah in Al Qasba. Located across the canal from their original work, the artists’ work explores Arabic calligraphy through a contemporary lens, by making use of acrylic brushes and paints, ropes and canvas, to present a new perspective on the development of contemporary Arabic calligraphy design and installation.
Arc ZERO and The Spirit of The City are both open to the public on the second floor of Maraya Art Centre and will run till Jan. 21, 2020; Bloom is open to the public on the third floor of Maraya Art Centre and will run until Feb. 22, 2020.
“Li Hongbo has carefully adapted his work here to the local context”, says Dr Nina Heydemann, Director, Maraya Art Centre. “Resembling an Islamic garden, the third floor of our building is reminiscent of what one calls a “trompe l’oeil”, an “eye trap” that challenges the visitor to take a closer look.
“Paper is the material of these bendable sculptures and their three dimensionalities, haptics and thicknesses make us believe that we are looking at materials which are much denser than paper, such as stone, wood or resin.
“Also, the subject matter that Li Hongbo has selected plays with deliberate contrasts – having chosen guns, bullets and AK rifles for the installation, in this rendition, they indeed turn into harmoniously arranged, bright and colourful forms that are seductively pleasing to the eye”.
Says Frizzell: “By evoking feelings of harmony and optimism, Li’s work is not intended to downplay the significance of war, but rather to act as an allegory of power and subvert symbols of power into symbols of beauty”.
Established in 2006, Maraya Art Centre is a non-profit creative organisation located in Sharjah. It offers programmes through multifaceted initiatives and public outreach activities including workshops, lectures, talks and other art related events.
The centre strives to support emerging artists by providing opportunities for growth through research, exhibition and project development.
The annual Islamic Arts Festival began in 1998 under the supervision and organisation of the Directorate of Art in the Department of Culture and Information, with the intention of exhibiting various kinds of traditional and contemporary Islamic arts.
Over its consecutive editions, the festival has been able to display different vibrant styles of Islamic art through projects, illustrating the authenticity of Islamic art and its ability to keep pace with current artistic changes.
It is one of the most renowned Islamic art events in the region, and its agenda includes local and international exhibitions, intellectual programmes and interactive activities.
↑ Li Hongbo’s installation Bloom is adapted to the local context of an Islamic garden. ↑ A detailed view of Li Hongbo’s creation, Bloom.