Imran Qureshi's project for Abu Dhabi Art’s Beyond comprises multiple site-specific installations/artworks, powerfully connected with one another to create a narrative around the idea of water as life, its importance and the danger due to the alarming situation of global warming. The artist has chosen two major sites to demonstrate three different dimensions of his art which includes site-specific floor painting at Al Ain Oasis, at the main entrance in the courtyard of Al Jahili Fort as well as two indoor spaces inside the fort itself.
The city of Al Ain is the greenest piece of land in the whole region, surrounded by dry, sandy and deserted areas. In the year 2011, Al Ain Oasis was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its ancient irrigation system - which was extremely inspiring for Imran Qureshi. The first garden is extensively lush and green with abundant foliage, including date palm trees - whereas the one directly opposite has a completely different impact due to the absence of green grass on the ground and a deliberately created sense of dryness all around it, which sets it apart from all other farms and gardens in the area. This time, unlike his previous site-specific floor paintings, he has tried to connect these two different oasis gardens as a diptych, creating a powerful dialogue and statement through their opposite characteristics.
A few kilometres away from Al Ain Oasis, is a second site for my other two projects at the historic Al Jahili Fort.
In Al Jahili Fort, the first sculptural installation titled ‘Morning and night sang a duet together for a long moment’ comprises of a few thousand plastic black roses, again portraying the idea of a changing landscape due to the alarming threat of global warming. Historically, this specific piece of land, on which Qureshi has chosen to install this sculptural installation, was where oil drums were kept for refuelling armoured vehicles during the time Al Jahili Fort was in use by the Trucial Scouts, between 1956 and 1971.
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