Rock, paper, scissors, one, two, three! You will agree with me that It’s impossible not to say it without feeling the 5-years-old-kid-pre-game excitement. Who has never played this hand game as the best method to resolve conflicts when we were kids? I have to admit I still do it in some cases. Doesn’t remind you the fun of playing? The way to negotiate before enjoying a game? By playing we have discovered what is around us, where we belong to, we have settled rules with different people and ways to behave in order to be fair to everyone. The merriment present when playing is the analogy proposed behind the exhibition at the UAE Pavilion in the 57th Venice Biennale under the name “Rock, paper, scissors: Positions in Play”.
In the previous article about Venice Biennale, we mentioned the different venues. You can find the UAE pavilion in the marvelous Arsenale, in “Sale d’Armi”. This year number 5 has an important meaning. Why? Because the UAE pavilion has been present at the Venice Biennale since 2012. So, it’s the fifth year. And also because this edition it features 5 artists UAE based.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
There are 5 lucky artists who were selected to represent the UAE at the top art fair. Very different artists, with different backgrounds and origins. Translating into different artworks as proposals for this 57th edition of Venice Biennale. They are enriching the pavilion’s content and the concept it wants to transmit us. Truth is that they are really different but at the same time they have something really important in common, they all feel UAE as home. UAE has lot expats residents. But, no matter where are they originally from, it’s beautiful how they can feel this land like home.
Among the artists, we can find Nujoom Alghanem, filmmaker, journalist, poet and artist who is presenting 3 art pieces focusing on her poetry and her role as visual artist. Along the pavilion we can see a manuscript “Space”, “Between Heaven and Hearth”, “The Body I Borrowed” a text and documentary photographs and also a photocopy with poetry and drawings by Khalid Albudoor, Yousif Khalil, Hassan Sharif and herself.
SARAH AL HADDAD
Sara Al Haddad is a crafty woman. She loves crocheting, knitting, and stitching and that is how she creates objects easy to hang. By this, she wants to talk about the feeling of loneliness, insecurities, fears… and how she makes a space homey through personal relationships. Her art pieces are “As you try to forget me” a pink crocheted yarn, “Can’t you see how I feel” and “Don’t you ever leave me alone” as new commissions.
Vikram Divecha is more sculptural. He has extended the urban interventional project from 2013 at Al Ghubaiba Bus stand pavement called “Degenerative Disarrangement”. There he painted diagonal yellow lines on the pavement. Now they have been reallocated by workers in Venice. The art piece will have a new meaning when it is back to UAE, their home. Similarly to the workers who live in the Gulf and return home after completing his work after a period of time. His second work is a video “Bathing Shoulders” and he presents it as a new commission.
Lantian Xie focuses about the sense of belonging, how people feel about their life experiences and how this affects them daily. He loves day-to-day gestures like smoking and the intimacy created between smokers who are talking or eating. At the pavilion, we can find 4 art pieces under his name. “A rumble interrupted our chat “as a new commission, “Taxidermy peacock”, “Half cup saffron” and “Hassan’s Ashtray”.
DR MOHAMED YOUSIF
Dr. Mohamed Yousif presents two art pieces “Al insiyabiyya bil majadeef that al maa” and “Al Shawahid”. Both were lost works which he has re-fabricated in 2017 for the Venice Biennale. The first one is composed by ten wooden oars displayed along the pavilion. They remind him of the fishermen, their lifestyle and his days at Sharjah Creek. The second one is a collection of handmade aluminum spoons representing different generations as a family picture or family tree.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
The display of all the art pieces mentioned above couldn’t have been possible without its curator Hammad Nasar. He is art curator and writer originally from Lahore and currently living in London. He is well-connected internationally with art organizations like Alserkal Avenue, Delfina Foundation in the United Kingdom and the Lahore Biennal Foundation in Lahore.
VENICE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The UAE pavilion has an educational program: the Internship Program. You can join if you are Emirati or a long-term UAE resident. If you are over 21 years old and have art or architecture as background. It is also open to art lovers and emerging professionals in the art field. The internship starts in UAE and finishes spending a month in Venice during the 57th Venice Biennale. The aim is to be able to learn how such an exhibition works from the inside. They also have the chance to engage with other interns from prestigious universities in Venice such as Ca’Foscari University in Venice.
It is such a great opportunity to get closer to the amazing art world by the hand of UAE Pavilion!
If you are going to visit the Venice Biennale, the UAE Pavilion is a must-go!
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Then check these links and this other article about the Venice Biennale. We know you will love it!
All this has been possible by the commissioned of Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and the support of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.