The 13th edition of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in the United Arab Emirates’ capital which opened on Wednesday featured Sharjah’s Maraya Art Centre’s participation with work by artist Hazem Harb titled ‘I am the land and the land is you.’
Maraya Art Center, a non-profit creative initiative by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), supports emerging artists in the region, and their participation in Abu Dhabi Art Fair is in line with that vision.
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Harb’s ‘I am the land and the land is you’ is an immersive installation where the artist asks the viewer to step through a wall of empty olive oil containers.
The cans speak of the importance of olives as building blocks for Palestine's agriculture and are a symbol of the country’s identity.
On the one hand, olive trees serve as a source of income, a liquid gold. On the other, they stand as a quintessential symbol of the country's resilience and continuity, not least because of their longevity.
Inside, the artist reveals a photograph from his archival collection that engulfs the viewer with a vast landscape of the city of Jerusalem in 1920 -- inviting the viewer into his homeland, Palestine.
The illuminated words ‘I am the land and the land is you,’ written in 1988 — a verse from Palestine’s national poet Mahmoud Darwish — addresses the universal notion of belonging to a country, despite being apart from it.
Abu Dhabi Art will be open till November 21 at Manarat Al Saadiyat, and visitors can view Harb’s ‘I am the land and the land is you’ at booth number CP06.
This installation stands in line with the artist’s largest solo exhibition titled ‘Hazem Harb. Temporary Museum. For Palestine’ at the Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, that opened on October 20, 2021, and will run until February 10, 2022.
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