Dubai Gardens at Sharjah Biennial 13

Dubai Gardens, Hind Mezaina | Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, 2017

Dubai Gardens, Hind Mezaina | Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, 2017

The blog has been quiet for the past two months because I've been busy working on a new piece commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 13 which opened on 10th March. The title of this year's biennial is Tamawuj and is curated by Christine Tohme. 

It was a huge honour to be part of this year's edition which includes a year-long education programme and off-site projects in Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah and Beirut spread throughout the year. 

My work is titled Dubai Gardens and it is a series of 110 cyanotype prints accompanied with text by Todd Reisz. It was the first time I made cyanotype prints and I really enjoyed the process and the final results. I've also been receiving encouraging and positive feedback for both the prints and the text by Todd Reisz, which makes me feel happy and grateful.  

About Dubai Gardens:  

Hind Mezaina’s work delves into themes of cultural memory and the notion of heritage. For SB13, the artist examines the accelerated rate of change she has witnessed in Dubai over the years, developing a method of ‘visual archaeology’ grounded in presence and observation.

Dubai Gardens, a reflection on man-made and natural green spaces in Dubai, offers an alternative view of a city hyperbolised in the media as ‘ridden in spectacle’. These often public areas were built for various purposes—for decoration, as a refuge or place of tranquillity, and sometimes even as a barrier. Using cyanotype, a mid-nineteenth-century process of camera-less photography, Mezaina draws attention to the plants found in these interstitial spaces by placing their foliage on lightsensitive paper and exposing them to produce the images on display here. Rather than snapping documentation for a botanical study or indexing different plant varieties, Dubai Gardens is enriched by the slow speed of the artist’s mode of capture and reflects a meditative interaction with the city. Accompanying the images is a text written by Todd Reisz, an architect and writer, whose work focuses on Gulf cities. 

The biennial is on until 12th June and I strongly urge you to go visit it. There are works by more than 70 artists spread across five different areas, you can find the locations mapped here. My work is in Gallery 3 in Al Mureijah Square. 

The opening week which included talks, performances and film screenings was fun and hectic. These are some of my highlights that I shared on Twitter during the week. I will try to share more highlights in the next few weeks. 

Sharjah Biennial 13