Cultural Crossroads

An Emirati Artist Journeys to London

By Sotheby's

I met a traveller from an antique land solo art exhibition by Emirati artist Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, opened recently at Pi Artworks London, UK in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, H.E Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi the Assistant Undersecretary for the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the UAE Ambassador H.E. Mansoor Abulhoul, Mr. Abdullah Al Kaabi, the Cultural Attaché at the UAE Embassy IN UK along with other VIP's, diplomats, officials and art enthusiasts. The art works will be on display from 25 June to 7 July 2019.

Art piece from the Carrom Station in Motion collection.

The exhibit consists of 23 art pieces from different collections: Bon Voyage, Carrom Station in Motion, Mishmash and Mishmash Trails. These works reflect a theme inspired by the poem Ozymandias by Percy Byssche Shelley, in which the 18th century poet ponders on the greatness of ancient Egypt viewed by the travellers of his day. Bringing together past and present by connecting the ancient civilizations, customs and traditions with more modern ones, the exhibition includes verses of poetry selected specifically from a variety of well-known Arab and Western poets. The Bon Voyage collection, in which sketches based on well-known paintings are combined with the commercial world of airline advertising, offers reflection on the commercial culture. We also see an addition to her previous Carrom Station collection (won the International Emerging Artist Honorary Award in 2014 and currently part of the Zayed National Museum collection), a new collection entitled Carrom Station in Motion, a name that takes after two popular games, the classic wooden board game paired with the modern video game. Simple times made valuable by fun gatherings around gaming. The shapes of the controller buttons transform into large scale wooden carrom chips. These shapes move across a shadow of multiple arrows that point to motion or searching for direction.

In the Mishmash collection, the artist redesigns coins by combining symbols that range from ancient Phoenician to modern Emirati, to past Islamic and more. In the Mishmash Trails collection, Alyazia takes the outlines shaped by the opening of various caves and creates her pieces from marble. Reasons that entice searching are one of three: treasure trails, past knowledge or probable profit. Most of the “X” marks on maps mislead the searchers to empty caves. Whereas the real treasure (a design combination of ancient eastern coins) appears to be dug up beneath the marble, away from the misleading points.

Guests at the exhibition.

Janet Rady, Director of Janet Rady Fine Art and curator of this art exhibition says, “Alyazia Bint Nahyan connects things and people. The title I met a traveller from an antique land subtly reflects these connections. This is an engaging exhibition in which the audience is invited to discover and be delighted.”

Seeking to inspire travel, exploration, treasure discovery and connecting, the artist leaves the viewers with a question to ponder. What is treasure? Is it the knowledge, the history, the skills, the human connections, or an object that we will always treasure...? Is there a special something or someone that has touched or shaped our lives? It could be from our past or our present, cheap or expensive, but it is priceless to us. Whatever or wherever it is, whether it is ours or lives in a museum, has passed down through our family, found on a beach or in a cave, whether it is a gift, a souvenir or an everyday object, our treasure holds a story, the story of what it means to us.
This charming show affords a glimpse into the evolution of a young artist.

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