Art Dubai: Expo 2020 showcases works with sustainability theme

Visitors to the now-open Sustainability Pavilion can see five specially commissioned pieces

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Four local and regional contemporary artists have created specially commissioned pieces of work for Expo 2020's Sustainability Pavilion.

The artwork includes sculptural, conceptual and digital installations, and was curated by Art Dubai art fair.

Art Dubai executive director Benedetta Ghione said she was delighted to have collaborated with Expo 2020,

“We are thrilled to have been part of the journey of bringing these artworks to life," she said.

The five pieces help to articulate our sustainability messages in uniquely visual and inspiring ways

The thought-provoking pieces can be explored during the Terra preview experience, which recently reopened to the public.

The Sustainability Pavilion is designed to tell the story of humans' relationship to the planet and challenges visitors to live in balance with the natural world.

Each installation demonstrates a specifically Middle Eastern response to the issues of sustainability, said Marjan Faraidooni, chief experience officer at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“We are very excited to be showcasing such a wonderful array of installations by some of the most talented and visionary artists from the UAE and the region.

"The five pieces help to articulate our sustainability messages in uniquely visual and inspiring ways, further empowering people to make changes towards a cleaner, safer, healthier future," said Ms Faraidooni.

In addition to the five pieces already in place in the pavilion, one final artwork will be installed in the coming months.

This new sculpture, designed by an internationally renowned artist, will be situated in the heart of the building.

After Expo, all the pieces are expected to become permanent installations.

“They will not only enhance the experience of the visitors to Expo 2020 but will also be an important legacy for the city of Dubai as they enrich the cultural fabric of the city in years to come," said Ms Ghione.

Plans for the expo legacy development,  District 2020, will see The Sustainability Pavilion transformed into a Children’s Science Centre, once the event finishes on March 31, 2022.

This new community will repurpose more than 80 per cent of Expo’s built environment.

The National takes a look at the four artists and the five artworks.

Directions (Expo 2020) by Mohammed Kazem 

Directions, Expo 2020 by Mohammed Kazem at Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion

UAE artist Mohammed Kazem combines technological and traditional methods in his work, as he explores his environment – whether it be social, political or natural.

His first piece for The Sustainability Pavilion represents the geographic co-ordinates of worldwide visitors to the Expo site.

Mr Kazem’s work inspires them to think about and create innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.

Measuring by Mohammed Kazem  

DUBAI, MARCH 11 2021: General view of  Measuring art installation at Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion as part of Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Mr Kazem's second piece, Measuring, challenges common architectural norms of understanding a space.

His perception of the space, influenced by both memory and mood, determine its dimensions, satirising the presumed accuracy of any spatial relationship.

The work invites viewers to reflect on the shifting nature of something as rational as "measurement", making us aware of both of our place in our environment and how we value it.

Hugs by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim

Hugs by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim at Terra - The Sustainablity Pavilion

Among the UAE's first generation of contemporary artists, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim hails from the coastal city of Khorfakkan, an enclave of Sharjah,  which is surrounded by mountains. His deep connection with the environment is evident in his work.

Hugs is an interactive installation forming a reflective walk-through space where visitors are asked to examine how their values impact on their decisions, especially when it comes to big questions such as the environment.

Do we remember what is important? Or do we push aside our values for the sake of convenience and comfort?

Takween by Zeinab Alhashemi

Takween by Zeinab Alhashemi at Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion

Zeinab Alhashemi’s work explores the hidden connections and geometry found in nature as a universal language.

Takween examines how the responsibility of humans and our planet are interdependent, with the two halves of the piece merging together to become one.

What appears to be separate are in fact parts of the same, suggesting that humans and nature thrive together.

Terrapolis by Ayman Zedani

Terrapolis by Ayman Zedani at Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion.

Saudi Arabian visual artist Ayman Zedani works with installation, sound, photography, video and science.

This artwork aims to renegotiate the relationship between human and more-than-human in regard to the future of the planet and more specifically, the future of the Gulf.

His new piece, Terrapolis, is a digital monument to all the contributors to The Sustainability Pavilion.

It uses a designed digital algorithm to transform their identities into digital organic entities that live in a simulation.

This likeness reflects life from a parallel reality, blurring the distinction between life forms.