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Must See: UAE-based Artist Moey's Installation ‘Migrant Minds’

“I felt that if I’m going to call this country my home, I’d better give back to the nation through what I do best — my art.” This is how Moey wanted to practice his self-expression.

The opportunity arose when Sikka, the annual contemporary art event in Dubai, put out open calls for artists to participate. As the deadline for submission drew near, the artist poured all his heart and soul into the creation of his piece.

And the day of the event finally arrived, he proudly showcased his work to the world, knowing that it was a testament to his love and appreciation for the country he had grown to call his home. “Migrant Minds” exhibits the theme of being away from home, but still finding solace in another place. Moey portrays that through travel, or specifically travel accessories. Once you enter the installation you will see a bamboo stick holding up in the air what seems to be a huge, tied bag, floating in the air, made entirely by Persian carpets.

Moey explains the rationale behind the apparatus, “The concept was inspired by the buqsa/jhola (‘bundle’ or ‘bag’ in Arabic/Hindi) carried by travellers to hold their bare essentials in the olden days.“

The amazing thing about this installation is that it was built by the people it was telling the stories about. Moey explains about inclusivity and how immigrants should be part of the narrative, so he contacted his community and neighbors to enlist their help with his project.

Soon after, a large group of people from varying ages were helping set up the art sculpture from stitching to drilling, to even people cooking. It was literally created by 40 individuals from the diaspora in the UAE, how powerful is that?

As visitors approached "Migrant Minds," they found themselves naturally becoming part of the artwork, holding onto the bamboo stick, peering into their own reflections of the mirrors fitted at the bottom of the bag, or even interacting with the music that was being played, Bollywood, Arabic, Turkish and more, depending on the nationalities of the guests.

The community project soon became a hit with both its beautiful message and storytelling, but also its inception and the people behind it. Evoking nostalgia, familiarity, and warm feelings of home. This is something a lot of people would truly appreciate, people who don’t get to live at home anymore or were obliged to leave home at some point.

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