“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
-Henry David Thoreau
To change the world that has been badly painted by mankind, here is an artist who is trying to put colours on it. Shiba Khan of Funun Arts is envisioning and repainting that canvas and trying to change the world into a better place for posterity. World Art Dubai (WAD) 2023 becomes a platform where Khan’s attempts to give a new definition to art and sustainability take the form of a sustainable stand that creates change. The difference that she intends to bring is not only in the art but in the thoughts and ideologies that govern human behaviour. Khan is using art as a tool to bring changes in deeds that are irresponsibly creating a threat to nature. She firmly believes that correcting one’s inner self can have a tremendous and lasting effect on how one perceives the world, conceives the idea of sustainable living, and incorporates them into their day-to-day life.
“You might have heard the famous quote 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder'. What is special about being an artist or a creative is that you can find beauty in anything and can turn anything into beautiful art. The elements I have incorporated in this stand are ordinary objects from everyday life. But when they are given colours and installed in specific places, they are capable of creating meanings. This stand is to give meaning to Funun Arts’ mission for the year, which is art can change climate change.” says Khan.
World Art Dubai is one of the largest international art exhibitions in the world and Funun Arts has been an integral part of this art extravaganza since its first edition. Funun and the Khan sisters have been working towards the goal of creating a sustainable world for years. Last year, they conducted the Annual Student Art Show, where hundreds of artworks by students from more than 70 countries were exhibited. Funun declared sustainability as their key focus at the Art Vision Conference 2023 held in Dubai to mark the beginning of the new year. The sustainable art stand by Khan becomes a remarkable step as they adhere to the cause.
The art stand is the first of its kind and is attracting many like-minded people from every walk of life from across the world. It is made of scrap from construction sites. The discarded wooden boards were procured from the work sites and converted into art elements in the stand. Khan gives credit to her husband Sarfraz Khan, who is a civil engineer doing construction and interior business in Dubai. The team Al Saqf Al Lamia and Speed Performance Contracting Company worked diligently under the guidance of the Khan couple to create a stand at a villa that was under construction. These were later painted and installed by Khan herself.
The 3 boards of 80 X120 plyboard and a discarded door frame have been reused to build the stand. The boards were coloured black to denote carbon which is a major contaminant causing climate change. Using these blackboards as foil, three major elements from three major causes of climate change are represented in the form of a shovel, a painting brush, and a spoon. The base of the shovel is kept as it is and the stick is painted in colours. This is displayed on a monochrome background with texture given out of the sand. The life-size paintbrush and the spoon also follow the same pattern. From the utter black of despair and hopelessness, the artist takes us to the colours of hope and wisdom. She is giving these elements the power to rewrite history by throwing colours on them. According to Khan, these three elements resemble in shape and are symbolic of how instruments can be disastrous if not handled responsibly. The shovel denotes the construction field, the brush symbolises the art field, and the spoon represents the food industry. The artist is trying to raise three relevant issues and spread the message that the world can be saved if these elements are used smartly and responsibly.
There is a wire installation of a thinking man on a blackboard which signifies man’s despair as well as the hitherto unexplored capacity to look within oneself and be a cause of change. The man here represents both sides of the human mind, the light, and the dark. The wire has knots on it that represent the circle of life. The knots can be hindrances and hardships but life goes on creating new meanings. There is also an artwork made of leftover wood that has been painted in colours that show the materialistic ever-changing life. The four metal blocks on their corners represent the four elements of life that control everything. One can also see hammer boxes painted with organic colours and the sustainable artworks of Raisa Mariam Rajan exhibited on this stand.
Khan thanks her entire family, especially her husband and his team for the immense support she received in creating the sustainable art stand. She expressed her gratitude to one of Funun’s mentors, Syeda Bhanu, for her help in painting the three elements in the stand.
“I am so happy to develop this unique concept and see the beautiful outcome. It will be impactful to the viewers and will be a beautiful addition to WAD 2023. We, the Funun Art fraternity believe that art can change not only the climate outside but inside every single soul and this is our wake-up call to join hands to create a beautiful world inside out. This novel step by Funun is in support of the UAE government’s initiatives on sustainability and COP 28 which shall be hosted by UAE this year. This wonderful land has offered the best platform for us creative people and has given us the freedom to express ourselves through art. I have been awarded the cultural visa and this is a small step to repay the immense love and support that UAE gives us,” says Khan.
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