Home Arts examine the future of the gulf through the song of the whales

examine the future of the gulf through the song of the whales

by godlove4241
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Ten artists from across the Gulf have been nominated for the second Richard Mille Art Prize. The complete list is available here.

The artists’ works are exhibited at Louvre Abu Dhabi until March 19 and the winner will be announced on March 20.

Ayman Zedani is interested in “relationships and dynamics between the human and more than human worlds, in relation to the future of the planet, but even more so the future of the Gulf”.

The creative process is often more important than the end result, he says. “My works are a by-product of my ongoing research into pressing ecological issues that require collaborative attention.” His work for this year’s art prize, Between desert seas, comes from a project studying a group of migrating whales living off the coast of Oman. Humpback whales in the Arabian Sea are considered the most isolated whale population on Earth and have developed their own unique language, song and culture. Zedani worked with the Environment Society of Oman, which helped facilitate interviews with whale experts. The work is subtle: a pile of salt that blends into the white walls and a nine-channel sound installation of whale song accompanied by a narrator.

The book talks about “the environment of the whales, the personality of the region, the ongoing cost of development, overfishing, concentrated shipping, collisions with whales, etc. This is not a problem specific to the Arabian Sea, but it is very condensed there.

At Ayman Zedani’s Between desert seas 2021 installed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Photo: Augustine Paredes – Seeing things. Courtesy of Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi. Artwork © the artist

Born in Saudi Arabia in 1984, Zedani served as a curator at the Sharjah Biennale before becoming a full-time artist during the pandemic. His work documents the effects of climate change but he is not pessimistic. Zedani confronts the problems that affect the world – the Gulf in particular as a hot and arid region – but also seeks solutions. “I’m interested in [the missions to reach] Mars, not just in terms of going there, but how these studies might actually be useful in the future Gulf when it gets too hot to even survive outside. I prefer to be a little naive and try to think about what could be done to change things.

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