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Warehouse421 examines how nature and architecture inform cultural heritage

The exhibition has been created by architect and artist, Talin Hazbar

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 3 November 2019: Warehouse421’s latest exhibition, Structures of Impermanence, examines how nature and architecture blend to inform cultural heritage. The exhibition, which opened to audiences yesterday, 2 November, is created by artist and architect Talin Hazbar and focuses on the use of the bah-rah, or water fountain, in traditional Syrian architecture.

The installation, which explores the use of water in social contexts through using multi-disciplinary media, reflects Warehouse421’s ambition to present and explore regional narratives across the Middle East.

Structures of Impermanence studies the use of the bah-rah, a fountain-like water structure which can be found at the center of a traditional Syrian home. The bah-rah, often ornate in its design and tiling, is used as the focal point of social interaction, and this exhibition will delve into both the beauty contained within the bah-rah and the social relations which the fountain engenders. The exhibition seeks to understand the relationship between a structure and the contexts and rituals which emerge around it, stemming from cultural, social and religious traditions.

Talin Hazbar’s work inspects the connection between natural environment and material and is augmented through extensive research into the social and historical contexts of that connection. For Structures of Impermanence, Hazbar consulted 11 contributors to bring a richer understanding of the bah-rah to audiences.

The exhibition is constructed from four fountain quarters, spread throughout the space. The bah-rah is examined in fragments, offering audiences a chance to experience the fountain in a detached manner. The bah-rahs are placed in both isolation and in connection, examining how these structures relate to both their surrounding environs and the wider communities which use them.

Faisal Al Hassan, Manager of Warehouse421, said: “The bah-rah will be recognizable to audiences as a customary expression of the traditional Syrian home, yet the opportunity to understand its social and cultural situation presents an intriguing opportunity. Its status as an object that is both strikingly immovable and at the same time incessantly fluid presents a dichotomy that is fascinating for those interested in regional architectural design.

“At Warehouse421, we seek to explore regional narratives through research-based exhibitions. Whilst some of our exhibitions examine these topics on a wider scale, Structures of Impermanence uses the vehicle of the commonplace, albeit beautiful, item, the bah-rah, to uncover questions regarding Syrian and Middle Eastern identity with audiences visiting our exhibition space.”

Speaking of her upcoming exhibition, Talin Hazbar commented: “The opportunity to study the bah-rah raises a set of questions about Syrian social, cultural and religious identity, and helps us to examine these concepts, not through texts or writings from the time, but through an object which was commonplace in Syrian homes. Through such a process of examining both the object itself and researching its past, it is pertinent to understand how this impacts our modern life in the Middle East.

“Architecture is an aspect of modern life that is continually ubiquitous, so understanding how people create and interact with their surroundings is a useful insight into their views of the time. I hope that audiences engaging with this work will reflect on what objects in their modern-day life are analogous to that of the bah-rah,” she concluded.

Talin Hazbar’s works examines themes of exploration, understanding of nature, impermanence and materiality. Hazbar has developed an ongoing body of work, examining transient objects that accentuate the importance of designing within natural systems and challenging the properties of accumulation and decay of material, all in the pursuit of recalling natural-built structures and understanding the relationship between nature and architecture.

Warehouse421 is a home-grown arts and design center which is dedicated to showcasing and promoting the creative and innovative eco-system in Abu Dhabi through curation of thought-provoking exhibitions with relevance to the region.

Structures of Impermanence runs from 2 November to 29 December. For more information on the exhibition, please click here.