Art can mean different things to different people. No two individuals probably enjoy the same work of art in a similar vein. What may pass off as a puffed up piece of indulgence from a seemingly over-imaginative mind for some would be an object de’art in the eyes of others. That is what makes art so subjective and equally complex to define.
In a world turned topsy-turvy by the abrupt appearance of a hostile virus, compelling us to seek the security of sterilised environments, where every breath we take and every tactile connection we seek to forge is permeated with potential harm, art comes as a saviour. It shows us that there is beauty in simplicity and that we can seek an escape from the uncertainty around us through the reassuring aesthetics inherent in the creative works around us. Art shows us that it is not often what we see but how we feel it that matters.
Into this realm Dubai based artist, founder and creative director of Impeccable Imagination, a cross-disciplinary art and design firm, Ambika Hinduja Macker, brings her first project. The Sublime Nature of Being, an immersive art experience, showcasing the works of ten internationally renowned artists will be on show from January 23-February 27 at Summer Garden, ICD Brookfield Place, DIFC.
Ambika is known for curating ethereal environments and multi-sensory experiences that elevates the beauty of the natural world around us.
A resident of Dubai she is “continuously inspired by the exquisite quality and inventiveness showcased in this dynamic city. It attracts such a diverse and cosmopolitan audience from all over the world, art collectors and art lovers in particular, hence it is an honor to create and curate in Dubai,” she says.
Excerpts from an interview with the artist and art curator ahead of her first project launch in the city.
How do you feel about launching your first art project in the midst of a pandemic in Dubai?
During these challenging times I feel blessed to have been so deeply immersed in the process of bringing The Sublime Nature of Being to life; it kept my mind focused on creative work and my soul uplifted by inspirational artworks that manifest the magic and harmony of nature. My hope is that the upcoming exhibition will transport the audience to an oasis of tranquillity and beauty. I’m grateful that the UAE government did such a great job to secure the health and safety of its people, which makes opening an art exhibition in a public space possible.
Do you believe art can play a special role in elevating our aesthetic senses at a time when the world as we know is losing its sheen?
I believe that certain art and spaces can do more than elevate our aesthetic senses, they can lead to a sublime state of being. A magical exchange occurs in a space when nature-inspired artwork, lighting, and design are curated together harmoniously, like a dance between earthly materials, textures and tones. I consciously design such spaces because the alchemy generates more than just luxurious and beautiful environments; it inspires positivity, relaxation and contemplation all at once.
Today we live in a world where we are cautioned against touching anything and every breath we take is filled with dread. As such, how can immersive art installations like The Sublime Nature of Being help us?
The Sublime Nature of Being is an alchemic sonic environment that provides an opportunity to feel in tune by being in resonance with the flora, fauna and the elements. When several of our senses are gently activated simultaneously, our attention is focused, our mind is present, our heart is at peace, and we can live in the moment (as the Japanese term ‘Ukiyo’ suggests). We could all use a few more moments of bliss…
How do you hope your art will elevate the mood of people at this time?
I designed the exhibition with the hope that the immersive journey stirs a sense of optimism, harmony, and equanimity. The concept for the show stems from my fascination with the shared human experience of awe and reverence that nature inspires, imagining how that might translate into transportive spaces that conjure an emotional understanding, which transcends words or language.
Your Dubai project has artists from all across the world — a true reflection of the multi-cultural space the city occupies. Art surpasses borders — is that also what makes it so universal?
The poetic beauty of exploring nature inspired art in The Sublime Nature of Being is that it blurs any audience categories. It touches on a shared experience and invites the viewer to participate emotionally, imaginatively and sensorially. The exhibit features artworks by internationally renowned contemporary artists and includes large-scale sculptures, sonic landscapes, light and shadow installations, modular components, and natural materials.
‘Discovering beauty in simplicity’ is your guiding philosophy. Why is simplicity so important to you in a world which is outdoing itself in creating the most extravagant objects for all to feast on?
I believe that a space cleared of distractions and designed to evoke the divinity of nature helps balance the mind, feel connected with ourselves, and truly discover beauty in simplicity. Nature is ephemeral, nudging us to pay attention to fleeting moments of grace, and it’s that kind of sublime moment in time that I try to channel through everything I create.
You are also a fan of Scandinavian and Japanese concept of minimalism. Do you believe post pandemic we have all come to realise that less is more specially considering we are comfortable spending much more time at home?
I can only speak of my personal philosophy and I believe that the home is a reflection of the self. My journey down the path of naturalistic minimalism led me to contemplate what I truly value about the space I live in. The Japanese and Scandinavian design aesthetics draw inspiration from nature in its purest form, showcasing that a minimal environment is not about the number of objects in a space but the energy that flows through it; one of harmony, feeling zen and sublime.
How do you view Dubai as an art hub? In what way does the city reflect your ethos?
Dubai is progressive, innovative and safe hence it attracts top tier artists and designers from around the world, making this city a major destination for experiencing and collecting incredible art. The visionary imagination associated with Dubai aligns with my ethos, and I am continuously inspired by the exquisite quality and inventiveness showcased in the city I now call home.
Art is perceived as highbrow and out of reach for the common man out there. How would you describe the significance of art to someone who is sceptical of it all?
To me, the significance of art is the expression of genius as it flows through a creative mind, and the energy that the specific artwork brings into your space. My portfolio is about making people aware of the grace of nature, curating art that creates a profound emotional impact.
A roster of regional and international artists will showcase their mixed media for ‘The Sublime Nature of Being’ from January 23-February 27: Nadim Karam, Lebanese sculptor, painter and artist; Jacob Hashimoto, American contemporary artist; Fred Eerdekens, Belgian sculptor and contemporary artist; Mathieu Lehanneur, French designer and artist ; Hadieh Shafie, Iranian visual artist; Rowan Mersh, English multi-media sculptor; Xavier Lust, Belgian furniture designer and sculptor; Janaina Mello, Brazilian contemporary artist; Michelle McKinney, English contemporary artist and Satya Hinduja, Indian composer, sound artist and producer.
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