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Art installation at Al Jahili Fort prompts open dialogue with the present

Art installation at Al Jahili Fort prompts open dialogue with the present
21 Nov 2023 12:17


Spreading over seven rooms of Al Jahili Fort, “Artefacts of the Current Moments” is an immersive multi-layered art installation by Emirati artist, poet, and filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem that Abu Dhabi Art commissioned in Al Ain city this year.

The art installation presents versatile formats that centre around ceramic as a major material to reflect on the main theme, which is the “current moment”.

The fixture highlights the artist’s multi-disciplinary practice which includes poetry, painting, sound, film, and sculpture. Known for her storytelling approach, Alghanem creates a subliminal narrative for the visitors of Al Jahili that is based on the different materials and tools she adopted in parallel with the subjects she has been exploring for the last six months, particularly in relation to her several visits to Al Ain Oasis.

  • Art installation at Al Jahili Fort prompts open dialogue with the present
    Art installation at Al Jahili Fort prompts open dialogue with the present


Her objective is to provide the audience with a profound experience at the Fort. She invites them to be in an open dialogue with the thoughts each section of the installation presents. This approach mirrors her personal journey, delving into the essential meanings of the known and unknown, the recognised and the concealed, and the prevailing psyche of existing elements versus those reverberating from ancient history.

She intentionally creates similar items to those that were unearthed in archaeological sites aiming at situating them within a new historical context specific to this region and moment in history. Yet, she injects a contemporary touch, employing aesthetic choices such as interweaving ceramic pieces with industrial wires and utilising diverse clay types, glazes, oxides, and waxes to reflect the present time.

While the inception of this theme dates back several years, Alghanem intensified her efforts during the COVID pandemic, viewing the lockdown as a pivotal historical moment. For her, it was an opportunity for humanity to reconnect with nature and the inner psyche.

Alghanem contends that artists can construct alternative realities, making the world more bearable. 

“There are hundreds of hours that pass throughout our lives either in waiting for things to happen or in waiting for the right time to start something more profound. In 2021, I started creating ceramic art pieces to address those moments spent in waiting, forming the foundation of this installation,” she said.

In terms of film, Alghanem produced a seven-minute art-film with an un-attached soundtrack that will be played in a separate room to engage the audience with each form independently.

Finally, it’s essential to acknowledge that besides the support of Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism, this installation was also supported by Dubai Culture that tremendously helped the artist by providing her with the space and facilities to create her artworks at Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in Dubai.

Source: Aletihad - Abu Dhabi
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