Art Oasis

Can and should artists engage with environmental debate? Make your own mind up after checking out this great show

Can and should artists engage with environmental debate? Under the rather astute title of ‘Making Art As If Everything Matters’, a large-scale artist residency programme kicked off a fortnight ago following a panel discussion at Wafi as part of Dubai Summer Surprises.

The residency offered 11 Dubai-based artists the opportunity to work closely with celebrated curator Beth Carruthers, who was flown in specially for this event. Working on the ideas raised in the panel discussion, namely the question of whether art can contribute usefully to the battle for environmental sustainability, the artists aimed to integrate this into their practice and seek out a successful means of communicating these ideas. The final pieces go on display this week under the Eye of Horus section of Wafi.

Among the artists involved is Gita Meh, who has been working closely with the Repton School to create a huge installation. ‘The project is called No Political Pollution,’ she tells us. ‘I had the students help me to create masses of origami from newspaper. Fish that become insects, that become reptiles, that become aeroplanes…’

Darwin Guevarra and Abdul Rahim Salim are also involved in the residency, along with Elizabeth Monoian of the Land Art Generator, an initiative set up to create public artworks in the UAE that stimulate dialogue on sustainability.

The eleven artists are joined in this exhibition by 13 other Dubai-based artists whose works gravitate around this theme. It’s been a little hard to see much of the work before it opens this week, but we’re quite taken with Jalal Abuthina’s vast and awe-inspiring landscape shots. A highly recommended, forward thinking show.

July 9-16.

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