NYUAD's new exhibition looks at the layered history of Mesopotamia's artefacts

History and terrorism come together in works by Rand Abdul Jabbar

Rand Abdul Jabber's stoneware sculptures were inspired by Mesopotamian artefacts. Shown here is 'EWCB 976', 2019. Courtesy Rand Abdul Jabber
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The Abu Dhabi-based artist, designer and architect Rand Abdul Jabbar will show a suite of perfectly crafted, symbolic sculptures at the NYUAD Project Space. The works continue her exploration of the archaeological heritage of Iraq and Mesopotamia.
Abdul Jabber researches the many layers of history embedded in her native Iraq, from an artefact's original purposes to their interactions with colonialism and history, and finally to their after-lives in museum collections and archives.

In a recent talk with the archaeologist Yousif Al Diham at the Jameel Arts Centre, Abdul Jabber discussed the case of the Minaret of ‘Anah, in a western Iraqi town. The Minarat is believed to date back to the Uqaylid dynasty of the 9th and 10th centuries, and was moved in the 1980s when a dam constructed in the town. As Abdul Jabber and Al Diham explained, it was then destroyed by terrorists, and finally rebuilt in 2012: a long and complex history that, as Abdul Jabber reveals, is par for the course for the country.

Titled Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings, the NYUAD show comprises stoneware sculptures that the artist has made inspired by Mesopotamian artefacts, focusing on their shape, colours and texture.

Abdul Jabber was trained as an architect and works across the fields of art and design. She was a participant on the SEAF program, run by the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Foundation, and has a studio at the art-and-design organisation Tashkeel. In a similar project that criss-crossed research, art, and design, she and fellow architectural-apostate Meitha Al Mazrooei mapped the E11 road by way of an A-Z glossary of concepts inspired by the road, such as “Duality” and “Olfactory”.

Her show opens next Tuesday but be careful: NYUAD Project Space exhibitions are short, so you only have two weeks to catch it.

Rand Abdul Jabber’s Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings is on from June 11 to 29 at NYUAD's Project Space