Friday, April 8, 2011

The Path of Roses

The last three weeks have been the Abu Dhabi Festival, which is a cultural event sponsored by one of the Sheikhs and designed to celebrate arts, music, dance ... in Abu Dhabi. There have been many events including a robust educational program, community program and some high end dinners and award ceremonies. There is everything from free exhibits, lectures and concerts to expensive gala dinners and big name performers. We've taken advantage of a few free things and one of those was the Path of Roses art exhibit. 

The artist is Rachid Koraichi from Algeria and the piece is a retrospective created from a combination of types of calligraphy and other symbols he finds interesting. I'm not a big art enthusiast so can't at all interpret his work, but I did find the exhibit stunning to look at. Here are a few pictures of the combination of sculptures, pottery, lighting and metalwork that made up his piece.

 This photo gives you the best overall idea of the exhibit. The whole piece was housed in a relatively small rectangular box that you stepped up into and walked through. The artist said it was to enclose the piece so you weren't distracted by anything around it. This was significant because the exhibit was housed in the Emirates Palace hotel, which can be pretty distracting! :)

Down the center of the exhibit were the calligraphy sculptures. They are a combination of symbols from a number of different cultures so don't have a single clear meaning. Then below them on each side are these beautifully decorated shallow bowls. Each is filled with a small amount of water and 3 rose petals float in each one.

Along the far wall is a collection of more symbols hung from the wall. The lighting is then set up so that they create overlapping shadows on the wall - really stunning to see. And because he built this separate space, it's really quiet in there - Brian and I were the only two there when we visited so that added to the atmosphere.

This is the view from the other side, standing with my back to the wall in the photo above. If you look closely, you can also see that along each wall, there are curtains of varying lengths. Above the curtains is a silhouette of more symbols and behind the sheer part of the curtain sits another of the sculptures you see in the middle aisle as well as some embroidered cloth. Lots of mixed materials in the exhibit which made it really interesting to look at.

You can also see the bowls a bit better in this photo and the 3 rose petals floating in each.

At the other end of the exhibit was this filial metal work. It was attached to the wall horizontally and then lighted from above to create this interesting shadow. The artist says this is the focal point of the piece. We just thought it was gorgeous.

And here's a close up view of the pottery bowls. This type of decoration on everyday objects is a hallmark of Arabic art. The elaborate calligraphy and detail in the design is amazing to look at. 

As I mentioned, this exhibit was part of the Abu Dhabi Festival and free to the public. It was housed in the Emirates Palace hotel in the lobby area of the auditorium there. After we took in the exhibit, we poked around the hotel a bit more just cuz it's so fabulous. We were even able to find our way to the spa entrance and then out the back onto the beach area. We weren't really supposed to be there, but had been lead to this area by a helpful hotel employee when looking for a restroom. Lucky us! Here are a few more photos of the Emirates Palace hotel.

The first photo is of a HUGE Tahitian pearl and diamond ring. I can't even imagine how it would fit comfortably on your finger! But it is gorgeous - we weren't brave enough to even find out how much it costs.  The second photo is the hallway leading to the hotel spa. As we were trying to get this photo, a young couple with a baby strolled by, we assume headed for their room. How can a couple so young afford this place?! Honestly, some people just have TOO much money (and it's too bad Brian and I aren't some of those people! ;)

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