JEDDAH: ‘The Distance From Here’, an exhibition showcasing different perceptions of space and time, is being held at Hayy Arts in Jeddah.
The exhibition, which will run until October 25, brings together the works of 20 artists from Korea, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Morocco, the United States, Britain and Syria.
“It’s thinking about time and space, and as humans, the idea of our environment over the last few years through the pandemic and everything that’s happened. It is really a reflection on this incredible change that is happening in Saudi Arabia at this great time for art in the kingdom,” Antonia Carter, director of Art Jameel, told Arab News.
Hayy Arts, the museum component of Hayy Jameel, is hosting the event.
Carter added: “Here, we really want to put on exhibitions that will make everyone think. So we’re going to start with a concept and work with the artists who are very concept driven.
Each creative mind has chosen a different medium to metaphorically and physically express their message about space and time. The wide range of mediums includes textiles, videography, photography, painting, weaving and many more to sum up their ideas.
To create the exhibition, the artists were given both the theme and complete freedom to express their ideas through the medium of their choice. “I think that’s why we have such an amazing proliferation of media here throughout the show,” Carter said.
The exhibition also features works by Saudi artist Filwa Nazer.
Nazer is a Saudi visual artist who used textiles to create a piece called “Between the Neck and the Shoulder”, a colorful installation suspended in the center of the exhibition. The fabric is cut unevenly, with patches sewn on it. Each point is different and has a personal meaning for the artist.
She said: “Textiles were the natural choice for me due to my background in fashion design, but it also ties into my theme of exploring the relationship between our bodies and the spaces we inhabit as well as the spaces transitions.”
The artist revealed that a lot of research, writing and sketching was done before his creation came to life. “It’s set up so that it can be viewed up close from all angles,” she explained.
Some of the most eye-catching works include “The Classroom” by Hicham Benohoud and “Rubbing/Loving, STPI, Artist Studio 38, 41 Robertson Quay, Singapore, 238236” by Do Ho Suh.
“The Classroom” is a set of photos taken in a classroom in Marrakech, where most of the students in the background are studying, but some are shown posing in odd positions as they dress in peculiar ways.
Do Ho Suh had a much simpler approach to artwork. He used the process of rubbing pastel colors to create texture on paper as he wanted to rely on touch as well as the visual element.
Since “The Distance From Here” is a traveling exhibition, which came to Jeddah from Dubai, the curatorial team worked not only to preserve the artworks, but also to preserve the essence of the exhibition.
Rotana Shaker, the assistant curator, told Arab News: “A traveling exhibition has a different process and that process takes a few months. Once the exhibition in Dubai was set up, we were already thinking about what to do next and how we would adapt it to the new context.
Carter said bringing together the works of many different artists, fitting them into the space, and bringing it all to life is exciting. The greatest satisfaction for the curators is to see the crowd not only enjoying the works, but also seeing themselves reflected in what was shown on the gallery walls.
Carter explained that just from the name, you can tell that Hayy Jameel is “devoted to the community.”
“At Art Jameel, we truly believe that the arts are for everyone and no one should be left out… so one of the biggest challenges and also one of the biggest accomplishments was to really reach out to the community as a whole.”