Maraya Art Centre officially launches Maraya Art Park
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, March 20 - 2013 at 16:33
- PRESS RELEASE
HE Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) on Wednesday inaugurated the Maraya Art Park - an initiative by the Maraya Art Centre - which will include a number of outstanding activities and artworks.
The first is the Sculpture Park, which was launched yesterday and which showcases projects from local and international artists, designers and architects, while the second is the Children's Art Park, which aims to introduce children to the world of art through sculptures, interactive games, and educational activities.
During the inauguration an outstanding interactive sculpture entitled 'The Hierarchy of Being', created by international, New York based Iraqi-American artist and NYU professor Wafaa Bilal, was revealed.
'The Hierarchy of Being', curated by Sara Raza, explores visual culture through the lens of pioneering Islamic sciences and examines how these ideas have impacted current thinking. This mobile sculpture stands 5 meters tall and includes a dome with a diameter of 10.5 meters. It has 17 windows, 15 of which serve as a mechanical IRIS while the remaining two are pinholes which allow light to enter.
Propelled by the artist's longstanding interest into the work of two influential Iraqi scientists from the Golden Age of Islam, Ibn Al-Haytham and Al-Jazari, Bilal takes inspiration from their achievements into the study of optics and engineering. Re-appropriating these ideas within his own artistic practice, which exists at the cusp of photography, (re) Imaging and new media technologies, Bilal has created a sculpture based on Ibn Al-Haytham's discovery of the first camera and Al-Jazari's rotary methods to produce kinetic motion. The result is a memorable immersive experience that re-creates the function of a pinhole camera to create a camera obscura effect.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said, "Art plays an immensely important role in the cultural heartbeat of any nation, it is through the arts that we can express our greatest desires and needs and open the minds of young and old to new possibilities and deeper understanding. Shurooq therefore remains committed to supporting the arts in Sharjah in every way possible and we look forward to seeing many more exciting and stimulation exhibitions and projects spring forth to edify the people of Sharjah, the Emirates and beyond, from the wellspring of imagination and creativity that Maraya has come to represent."
Al Sarkal added that most of Shurooq's project will include special places for Maraya Art Park.
Giuseppe Moscatello, Maraya Art Centre Manager, commented, "As part of our vision and mission, at the beginning of 2012, we started to plan to expand our programme, and reach a wider audience; an audience that is not necessarily art oriented, but rather a general one. To this end we are continuing our mission by establishing the Maraya Art Park, a project that aims to foster local and international artists to interact with the public spaces, and actively engage the local communities, inviting established and emerging artists, designers, and architects to come up with ideas for the production of sculptures that invite visitors to interact with them, creating sustainable projects. Through their contributions, we are aiming to build more cultural bridges and further establish the Emirate's identity, thus adding to the cultural value of Sharjah venues."
The unveiling of 'The Hierarchy of Being' marks Bilal's first solo exhibition and public art installation in the UAE. Commenting on this milestone, the artist said, "My project at the Maraya Art Park is significant in both the regional and cultural context. 'The Hierarchy of Being' is ultimately a celebration of the achievements of two Arab Muslim scientists, Ibn Al-Haytham and Al-Jazari, who were both active during the peak of the Golden Age and this project synthesises their advances in the fields of optics and kinetic motion while bringing my own photographic and technological practice into the work."
Working closely with a bespoke team of professionals, including Maraya Art Centre's Manager Giuseppe Moscatello and architects Alexander Turner and James Crawford in addition to Bilal's project curator Sara Raza, Maraya's London-based associate curator.
Speaking of her involvement, Raza said, "'The Hierarchy of Being' is an exhibition that recontexualises how art and architecture correspond with public space and time. I am delighted to have worked with Wafaa, an artist who is driven to explore new limits within our visual cultural understanding of vision and mobility."
Commenting on the launch, she added, "Sharjah is a city that has fast become a cultural destination in the Gulf and is the perfect location for this project; it is a city that combines art and cultural heritage by looking both to history and to the future."
Accompanying Bilal's project, Maraya's Art Park will host a series of open air events and public programmes in collaboration with local schools and universities in the UAE to explore the work of the artist and his influences.
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