Divide and conquer

Tashkeel’s new exhibition is all about why our differences should inspire us Discuss this article

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© ITP Images

Different voids appear in our daily lives,” says Jack Thomas Taylor, the curator of Dubai-based Tashkeel’s newest exhibition, Mind the Gap. “I wanted to challenge the 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 for the Tashkeel art hub, and runs alongside a programme of workshops that reflect on our gaps in knowledge and education.

Mind the Gap will transform Tashkeel into a research lab of thoughts, feelings and expressions,” says Taylor. “[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 new ideas and inspiration.

In her piece 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, with the intention of showing that the cycle of life has “no definite beginning or end”.

And Sharjah-based Tom Baggaley’s Squash Vine Bore was created after Baggaley decided to take on the challenge of turning the scrub 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. The would-be garden instead cultivated new friendships with his neighbours and inspired a string of vegetable patches across his entire neighbourhood.

The stories behind the artworks are detailed in a limited-edition book, produced specially for the exhibition’s run. “I really wanted [the book] to have a role in the exhibition,” says Taylor, “to be used as a tool to help guide people. Visitors can still understand the exhibition without one, but it returns the exhibition to an accessible form.”

It’s an engaging collection that invites the viewer to dive deeper into the creative processes of the artists. “I feel that the progression that an artist goes through should be showcased as part of their final product,” Taylor adds.

“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. Sat-Thu, 9am-10pm. Until April 6. Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba Road, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai (04 336 3313).

By Sofia Vyas
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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