Different voids appear in our daily lives,” says Jack Thomas Taylor, curator of Tashkeel’s newest exhibition, Mind the Gap. “I wanted to challenge residents of the UAE to see what these gaps might look like and whether they should be seen as opportunities, problems, or realities.”
The exhibition features the work of 28 UAE-based creatives from across the world, who responded to an open call, inviting them to observe and explore the cultural differences and similarities that they encounter in the country and, in doing so, uncover the opportunities they provide.
It’s the first-ever guest-curated show at Tashkeel and runs alongside a programme of workshops that reflect on the gaps in knowledge and education.
“Mind the Gap will transform Tashkeel into a research lab of thoughts, feelings and expressions,” Taylor says. “[It brings] together a diverse group of people of varying ages and nationalities to showcase how they feel about the gaps within the context of the UAE.”
The range of work covers photography, sculpture, videos, fine art and more, reflecting on everything from the gender gap and the spaces that lie between different generations to the unlikely origins of ideas and inspiration.
Artist Tom Baggaley’s Squash Vine Bore, for example, was created after Baggaley decided to take on the challenge of turning a scrub patch in his garden into a pumpkin patch. Fast-forward a few months, however, and the whole thing had been taken over by worms. But the failed gardening project became the basis for creating an entirely new piece of art. One that cultivated new friendships with his neighbours and inspired a string of vegetable patches across his neighbourhood.
In her work The Connection of the Cycle, Abu Dhabi-based artist Aisha Al Blooshi explores the bridges between genders, age groups and occupations, and the gap between past and present, showing that the cycle of life has “no definite beginning or end”.
The stories behind the artworks are detailed in the exhibition’s limited-edition book. “I really wanted [the book] to have a role in the exhibition, to be used as a tool to help guide people,” says Taylor. “Visitors can still understand the show without one, but it returns the exhibition to an accessible form.”
It’s an engaging body of work, allowing the viewer to dive deeper into the creative processes of the artists. “I feel that the progression an artist goes through should be showcased as part of their final product,” Taylor says, thereby bringing people together, sharing happiness as well as distributing knowledge.
“Rather than [being] a display of conceptually abstract artworks, this exhibition is accessible, but bold and ambitious,” Taylor explains. “It’s open-minded without being controversial and forward without being disrespectful.”
Free. Until April 6. Open Sat-Thu 9am-10pm. Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba Road, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai (04 336 3313).