“Chimera” by Kuwaiti artist, Monira Al Qadiri, is a large scale iridescent, oil-drill shaped sculpture that launched Expo 2020 Dubai’s Public Art Program, which features 11 significant pieces of work from artists from the UAE, Middle Eastern region and beyond.
Al Qadiri’s is one of the 11 works of art situated across the Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity districts, Expo 2020’s two parks, and are part of the future city of District 2020 as the first curated permanent open-air art exhibition in the UAE. The pieces of permanent art contribute to the UAE’s art scene as it hopes to develop enough to boost Dubai’s position in the international art world.
The other artists, aside from Monira Al Qadiri, commissioned to submit their sculptures include, Emirati artists Afra Al-Dhaheri, Shaikha Al-Mazrou, Abdullah Al-Saadi and Asma Belhamar, Kuwaiti artist Hamra Abbas, Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah, Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, Berlin-based visual artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke, South Korean artist Haegue Yang and British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare.
Ibn Al-Haytham’s seminal work, Book of Optics published in the 11th century, takes inspiration from the infamous Arab mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and “the father of modern optics”. Expo 2020 Dubai’s Public Art Program looks to explore the philosophical aspect of Ibn Al Haytham’s theories on visual perception, such as his classifications of vision, recognition and perceptions of reality.
Tarek Abou El Fetouh, who is delighted to unveil “Chimera,” is also the one curating The Public Art Program. “Her bold sculpture with its magnified size and reflective color makes it seem like a futuristic creature from outer space. Through this sculpture, the artist attempts to merge the pre- and post-oil eras into one body. She creates aesthetic connections between pearls and oil, through their color, materiality, symbolism, ecology, and economy in order to reimagine the past, present, and future of the wider Gulf region,” he said.
'Alien Technology' by Monira Al Qadiri, contemporary artist who was born in Senegal, raised in Kuwait, and has spent most of her adult life in Japan. Her artistic perspective is a cultural hybrid. #womensart pic.twitter.com/N1cLo8PNJ4— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) September 24, 2019
Monira Al Qadiri’s sculpture explores the regions past and present as it tells of the region’s connection to pearl diving, a significant part of the Gulf’s history, to today, and the way men would dive to the seabeds to retrieve precious pearls, similar to the drills that drill further into the ground for oil.
Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.