Nomadic Traces: Journeys of Arabian Scripts

Nomadic Traces: Journeys of Arabian Scripts

16 March 2019 - 28 July 2019

An exhibition conceived and curated by Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

The Middle East has been a cradle of several civilizations (religions, languages, and traditions), and a site of crossing trade routes that transcended modern national borders and identities. Not only goods, but also knowledge has over the centuries crossed the permeable borders along the caravan routes, as people spoke and wrote in several languages, borrowed from each other, and adapted ideas and skills to their respective needs. The story of written scripts in the Middle East testifies to this cultural wealth, diversity and fluidity.

The exhibition, Nomadic Traces: Journeys of Arabian Scripts, reflects on the important role that scripts have played in defining and preserving the cultural identity of past and present civilizations, and on the migrational and transformative nature of writing and its ability to freely cross borders and cultures. The exhibition sheds light on the development of some of the key Abjads (consonantal alphabets) of the Middle East. It poetically links the past with the present, showing in particular the wealth of this region through its many scripts, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Musnad, Palmyrene, Nabatean, and early Arabic (Jazm).

These writing systems are the binding agents of this exhibition. They constitute the core material for the production of newly-commissioned works by artists and designers of various nationalities (including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine) and specializations. The works reflect on and interpret with text and form the notion of ‘contemporary nomads’, referencing traditional crafts and exploring their potential for contemporary design. The featured works include art installations, jewelry, fashion, textiles, furniture and product design, and ceramics.

Featured artists and designers: Nasser Al-Salem, Sarah Al-Agroobi, Nadine Kanso, Ghita Abi-Hanna, Milia Maroun, Khalid Mezaina, Rasha Dakkak, Hamza Omari, and Xeina Al-Malki

Reasearch team: Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès, Ranim Al-Halaky, Dina Khorchid, Sheikha and Afra Bin Dhaher

This exhibition will run until 28.07.2019

In partnership with Khatt Foundation