The ebb and flow

Burjeel’s art show in Kuwait explores the effect of water on the people who live near by

An artwork from Ziad Antar's Portrait of a Territory, which consits of images taken between 2004 and 2011 along the UAE coast. Courtesy Al Seef
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From the earliest times, bodies of water – lakes, seas, rivers and streams – have played an essential role in the development of human civilisation. Some say rivers and seas shape the mindset of the people who live near them.

This is what makes the Al Seef exhibition in Kuwait so fascinating. Al Seef, which is Arabic for edge of water , explores, as The National has reported, how proximity to water has played a significant role in the development of a place. And its people. For instance, the folkloric traditions of the people who lived along the Nile and the openness and curiosity of those who inhabit coastal landscapes in the Gulf. An exhibition, of course, can only ever offer, to use a water-based metaphor, a compass, a craft and some sails. But it does start us down a fascinating line of thought. Anthropologists discern a closed mentality in people who inhabit landlocked areas. But we, proudly on the edge of the sea, have always looked towards the serendipitous horizon.