Khorfakkan born artist and resident, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim has been chosen to feature in this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival, an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF).
His work, titled ‘The Qubba Project” has been commissioned as one of twenty works across the UAE in the theme of ‘Portrait of a Nation’. The artists have been chosen to present seven themes; Nation & Unity, Geography & Nature, Architecture & Urbanism, Portraiture & Identity, Religion & Spirituality, Language & Calligraphy and Tradition & Heritage.
The 20th anniversary of the ADMAF has provided an ideal point for many prominent Emirati artists to reflect on the progress of UAE arts and culture with several of them having longstanding relationships with the foundation. They are invited to show the influence of their homeland on their work; the mediums embrace a diverse range of visual arts, from large-scale indoor and outdoor installations, to paintings, collage, video and sculpture.
Many of Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim’s works go beyond a simple influence of the landscape of Khorfakkan and the East Coast; they are physical derivatives of his surroundings. Many of his most eminent compositions feature physical manipulations of raw materials he finds around his home in Khorfakkan- creating very direct connections between art, nature and identity. Value is another theme regularly explored.
Notable examples of his work include:
‘A photograph depicts a vast hole carved into a mountain, revealing the sun. He counters this physical impossibility with ‘Stones Wrapped in Copper’ (2007), a diligent amassing of material from the same mountain in a volume approximate to the void.
‘Fresh and Salt’ (2015) elides the impossible distance between Khorfakkan and the Caspian Sea, binding salt and fresh water stones from each place together.
‘Land Shift’ (2015) exchanged a piece of land from Oman with another from Dubai, conflating borders, value and money.
According to the artist, The Qubba Project (2015) ‘is embedded in history, this architecture is as old as humanity itself.’ Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim strongly supports physical interaction with his artwork. The coordinates of the physical installation are provided, inviting the viewer to experience the artwork, both in person and through the guise of the gallery exhibit.
The viewer is encouraged to come into contact with the natural environment beyond gallery spaces, in order to heighten the impact and energy of the work upon the viewer. They are invited to experience first hand the dramatic contrasts of Khorfakkan’s bright blue waters against the cragged rock face of the Hajjar Mountains; something the artist has set out to represent in his work. The subject of the installation becomes the medium, capturing a special relationship between the artist and homeland.
“The Qubba Project” can be seen at Portrait of a Nation exhibition at Emirates Palace hotel, Abu Dhabi. From April 10th to May 6th.