Skip to content

Take a deep dive into humanity’s relationship with water at Jameel Arts Middle exhibition

What’s water? It’s a deceptively easy query — however one which Jameel Arts Middle’s present worldwide group exhibition, An Ocean in Each Drop, explores in an expansive and various means.

Whereas there could also be no straight ahead reply, the journey at Jameel Arts Middle reveals that water is much more vital than we notice. It’s an historic, sacred and essential aspect that has outlined and sustained mankind throughout many intersecting fields and aspects.

The exhibition permits guests to rethink their relationships with water via the views of artists and thinkers throughout an expansive timeline—re-enchanting and recontextualizing the importance of a component that many take as a right.

The title of the exhibition is derived from a phrase by the Thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi: “You aren’t a drop within the ocean. You might be an ocean in each drop,” which speaks to the abundance of water on the earth, concurrently alongside the potential of abundance inside every particular person.

The nuanced existence of water in all its types is explored all through the exhibition by 15 artists from indigenous communities of 14 nations.

“This theme of water has been actually key for us since day one,” Antonia Carver, director of Artwork Jameel, the humanities group which runs the centre, tells The Nationwide.

“Even earlier than we moved into Jameel Artwork Middle we’d come to the development website and actually take into consideration the function of the creek and the way this type of artery of town actually gave Dubai its buying and selling mandates. And, at all times with the alternate of products via commerce, you even have exchanges of cultures and concepts and languages.”

The exhibition is a well timed one, with the UAE internet hosting Cop28 in November. It follows from final 12 months’s occasion, held in Egypt, because the area locations the highlight on numerous points pertaining to the local weather disaster, together with polluted oceans and shortage of unpolluted water in lots of components of the world.

By current and newly commissioned works, the exhibition examines water via the prism of the surroundings, mythology, spirituality, lived experiences and folks traditions. Water is repositioned within the minds of tourists as a central aspect that connects us to 1 one other and to the world. It’s reframed as an plain pressure that has formed historical past, tradition, language and social and religious relations.

“The theme of water relates additionally to sustainability and ecology,” provides Carver.

“The exhibition has come at a extremely well timed second when, globally, individuals are enthusiastic about our relationship with water. And this exhibition grounds these concepts about water in a deeply historic timeline in addition to a really broad geographic one.”

A manuscript in a glass case shines at the hours of darkness. A highlight on the getting older, open pages reveals an intricately drawn map depicting, even to a novice reader, that the physique of water is not an impediment to sail throughout and would not separate land lots, however is a connecting aspect—simply as vital because the land itself.

It is a map of Bahr al-Rum, The Roman Sea, which is right now often called the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the work of the Tenth-century Persian writer and geographer Al-Istakhri from his main work Kitab al-Masalik wa al-Mamalikalso referred to as The Ebook of Roads and Kingdoms.

Al-Istakhri traveled extensively all through the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf, East Africa and the Mediterranean, his maps have been vital within the illustration of the then huge and increasing Muslim world. Our bodies of water, together with oceans, seas and rivers, have been central in his work, not solely to indicate their significance for commerce and motion however equally to suggest their hyperlink between the earth, the cosmos and the divine.

“I actually wished to have this type of trans-historical method,” says Nora Razian, head of exhibitions at Jameel Artwork Centre.

“I used to be tremendous eager about medieval Islamic maps and the way water was at all times on the heart of the world. So the maps have been not likely meant for use for navigation, however reasonably for visualizing the world, like an iconographic picture. So it is easy to memorise, it is easy to position.”

Water is a monumental theme to discover in its scope, historical past, symbolism and context. Nonetheless, the exhibition narrows what might appear overwhelming, right into a seamlessly pleasant expertise via many entry factors for guests.

“I actually wished to discover the way in which that humanity was basically fashioned with water,” Razian says.

“It is a foundational a part of many cultures and religions. We’re, you realize, our bodies of water ourselves. We relate to the world in that means, water is continually coming out and in of us as properly.”

Whereas water is used to attach with guests via rigorously curated areas, themes round water are additionally analyzed and magnified.

Palestinian artist Jumana Emil Abboud’s evocative and fascinating sequence of drawings and work are created from the folktales she gathered from native communities in her residence nation throughout her analysis on water websites and the tales they maintain.

Perpetual Brightness is a sequence of work by Vietnamese visible artist Thao Nguyen Phan, who makes use of conventional lacquer portray methods on silk, held inside a folding display. The piece depicts the fragmented map of the 9 Dragons River also referred to as the Mekong River in Vietnam, in addition to fishermen mourning and worshiping the spirits of stranded whales.

Daniel Otero Torres’s set up Rain, or Rain in Spanish, appears to be like on the ingenuity of engineering born from the marginalization and discrimination affecting indigenous communities in Colombia.

Greater than seven meters excessive, Rain was created within the UAE utilizing discovered objects, performing as a tribute to the resourcefulness of community-driven infrastructure and the resilience of marginalized indigenous communities all over the world.

The breadth of the exhibition is not restricted to a historic timeline but in addition via various geographic views and mediums of labor. From historic manuscripts and movies to work and sculptures, this variety of time and area invitations guests to consider water via a nuanced lens, and its place in our collective historical past and our future.

An Ocean in Each Drop runs till April 2 at Jameel Arts Middle in Dubai. Extra info is out there at

Up to date: January 10, 2023, 8:02 AM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *