UAE Unlimited to explore communication in new show
The next iteration of the UAE Unlimited platform will come to Alserkal Avenue in March. Ishara: Signs, Symbols and Shared Languages curated by Karim Sultan, will feature new works by 10 UAE-based artists, in addition to loaned works by guest artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian.
The concept of the exhibition is derived from a broad understanding of the meaning and use of language. In Arabic, ishara, denotes “sign”—the most basic form of communication, and refers to the linguistic marks, gestures and indications, as well as commonly used signals that transcend language, like those used in traffic or urban spaces. The curatorial process for the exhibition has been thematically informed by the idea of “lingua franca,” which hints at constructed, second or third languages that were used to aid communication between various groups or in situations where communication was difficult.
“In the context of the UAE, with its major port cities, this leads to an intrinsic interest in this mediated form of communication, where numerous languages are assembled together in trade, transportation, and interpersonal relationships. A broader view incorporates body language and infrastructure, where signs create paths but also erect barriers, where appearances or dialects signal the existence of certain publics but preclude others”, says Sultan.
The selected artists are: Amna Al Dabbagh, Cheb Moha, Chndy, Dina Khorchid, Farah Al Qasimi, Flounder Lee, Nasir Nasrallah, Saba Qizilbash, Salem Al Mansoori, and Shaikha Al Ketbi. The selection was based on their ability to create works that dealt with the structure-building involved in language, or a tendency towards works that address the subject of communication. Often this manifests itself in works that simultaneously deal with the technologies of communication (both artificial and otherwise), the construction of new languages, and the translation of memory into works that attempt to communicate.
Shobha Pia Shamdsani, Executive Director of UAE Unlimited says: “Since our inception, it has been part of our mandate at UAE Unlimited to support emerging UAE-based artists, to help get them on a regional and international stage, but also to create a culture of mentorship, guidance and peer learning that will provide a lasting impact on the development of their work. The regular reading sessions with the curator and guest artists provide an important opportunity for in-depth mentoring, as for some Ishara will be the first time that they have participated in a curator-led group show.”
The Dubai-based guest artists, Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian, provide an important role mentoring the commissioned artists and providing insight into their practices, a format that UAE Unlimited has adopted since its inception in 2015. The mentorship also extends to Sharjah-based curator, Laura Metzler, who is senior curatorial advisor on the exhibition.
- Ishara: Signs, Symbols and Shared Languages. March 5 to April 1, 2018. Concrete, Alserkal Avenue