Art of the matter

Layla Haroon (Contributor)
Filed on May 28, 2008

THE PRODUCT of an unforgettable art workshop with German-Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna, the amazing artwork fashioned by the creative minds of Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, gives a glimpse of the awe-inspiring creativity Emirati students possess.

The five-day workshop kicked off with a round table discussion of issues of visibility and invisibility, inside and outside, seeing and not seeing in the context of a reflection of life stories and the identity of female Emirati students.

The students talked about their background and biographies with the help of audio-visuals such as photographs, songs, writings or any other objects that the students identified as important or interesting for their lives.

In addition, Susan Hefuna introduced examples of her own work that deal with issues of visibility - invisibility, such as her installation project ‘Vitrine’ and discussed her experience of creating and exhibiting this installation in Cairo with people of the old city in 2007 and in South Africa with Muslim women in 2000.

After this first explorative phase, the students created their own objects thus learning how to reflect on an abstract idea, how to develop this idea and how to translate it from thought into a concrete form that can be shown to others.

Students cum artists Sara Al Aidarous, Shaikha Rashid Al Mehairi, Buthena Muraikhi, Mouza Al Mazrouei, Hessa Abdul Rahman Al Qamzi and Alia Al Hamiri talk to City Times about their work.

Sara Al Aidarous:The subject matter of my art, ‘What got you inside would never get you outside’, is applied through photography and a light box. The two X-ray pieces show an internal image of the head. As much as the viewer goes inside the x-ray, the outside will always be invisible; he would never know the identity of the outside. And the opposite would be the same.

Shaikha Rashid Al Mehairi: My work talks about the people who play a part in creating our society but no one notices their existence.

I want people to appreciate them and their work.

Buthena Muraikhi: My concept revolves around unnoticed labourers working in construction. I have used silhouette photographs of the men working in a different position, and on the floor, the word ‘workers’ is sculpted by board foam.

Mouza Al Mazrouei: My first art piece ‘The Eye’ is a 3-D photo that represents the seen/unseen idea. See the unseen; go deeper in your mind through your eyes. My second art piece ‘The Masculine Mashrabiya’ is a mirror that represents the idea of visible/ invisible, influenced by the artist Susan Hefuna’s work ‘Mashrabiya’.

Hessa Abdul Rahman Al Qamzi: My concept is about pollution, I conveyed that by using specific symbols such as oil tanks and litter waste (bottles and cans). If we look closely to the process of pollution, we can understand that the only thing we notice is its consequences, not the aspects leading to it.

Alia Al Hamiri: The message I am trying to convey through my artwork ‘set a foot in the future’ is: as we all look through the rusty past, we always hope for a better future. I took an image of a long corridor and worked with it on Photoshop, to visualise the message I want to send through the image. The image was then framed by an antique door, which symbolised the past and communicated the idea of being the bridge to the future.

WHAT:'Life Stories' exhibition of artist Susan Hefuna and Zayed University art students.

WHEN: Ghaf art gallery

WHERE: till May 29


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