For her open residency at the jamjar, Talin Hazber creates sculptures from sand. Here, she explains to Peter Feely why she’s so fascinated with the granular material.
When I ask the young Syrian artist what she’s hoping to achieve through her work with sand, she simply quips: ‘It is about freezing a moment – the movement of the dunes.’ On meeting Talin Hazber, it is certainly clear that she is analytical and scientific in her determination to utilise the abundant material in her art, explaining that she wants to ‘test the structural integrity of the sand – how the patterns can be’.
As she talks about her creations, her ambitions begin to expand. Hazber realises she ‘wanted to create structures and spaces that people could go to’ and when she alludes to the technique behind her sculptures, it becomes evident that it’s a lengthy and complicated process involving multiple layers and adhesives.
Failing to rationalise the extent of her fascination, Hazber elaborates what she sees as the relationship between sand and art. ‘If you see it in a different context – a piece of art on its own, it will be interesting to see – particularly how light works on the grains. I want people to see sand in a different way.
‘When I started, I used sand from a specific area in Ras Al Khaimah. I decided that I wanted to experiment with different sand grains and textures – different colours in the sand, with its various sizes. In Ras Al Khaimah we have red sand, but in Fujairah we have white sand.
‘If I mix the sands together with other sand from all over the UAE, each type of sand behaves differently. It’s also a metaphor for unification. Sand is everywhere. It’s so similar in many ways, but it also differs from place to place. I talked to my friends and they get sand from all over the world – I just wanted to see how sand is different. Here, I have sand from the Maldives.’
This relationship with sand seems complicated and challenging, as Hazber continues: ‘To get the correct moment takes time; the adhesive changes the way the sand behaves.’
Her expectations of an audience’s reaction is simple however, as she reveals that she wants ‘people to see the work – I want people to appreciate the sand in a different context. I want it to be spiritual. In the Arab region people used to live in the desert.
‘I’m an architect, so I also want people to see sand as a space – a shell where people can go to. I’d like to build big installations in the desert where people can see the potential of sand as a material and recognise the inconstant nature of its behaviour.’ Eventually Hazber’s fascination starts to become clearer.