On May 2, Sharjah Art Foundation hosted Talk8: an open platform for art students from high school through university to present their responses to SAF’s current exhibitions. The students were each given eight minutes to present, either individually or in groups, their reactions to the artworks using the medium of their choice – be it a poem, video or even a performance.
Attendees included participants in the Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by AUS professor Nicolas Karavatos during SAF’s one-day event Make Your Mark, visual communications students from the American University of Sharjah who interned with SAF during the March Meeting, and students from Al-Amal School for the Deaf who took part in sound artist Tarek Atoui’s experimental workshop Below 160.
The evening began with readings of the poems produced during Karavatos’ workshop on ekphrasis: the practice of creating a literary description of a visual work of art. During the workshop, Karavatos asked the participants to walk around and absorb details of their sensory environment. They weaved through the exhibitions, the neighbouring Souk and courtyards, scribbling down the thoughts and feelings that came to mind, without trying to make sense of them - as Karavatos instructed. The results were poems that sprang from the participants’ gut reactions to their surroundings. Taraneh Sahban and Zainab Zayed - two AUS students - shared their poems, as did Lelania Sperrazza and Patricia Prescott - professors from the university who accompanied the group. With the exception of Karavatos, all the readers were sharing their first poetic experimentations with the audience.
Following the poetry reading, Abdel-Salam Zo'rob, a student from Al-Amal School for the Deaf, shared his experience of learning to feel and create sound through vibrations during the workshop with Tarek Atoui. He excitedly recounted experiencing shock and elation when first feeling the vibrations. He also mentioned how much the group enjoyed working with Atoui and having the opportunity to perform their own compositions of vibrations for an audience. At the end of the evening, Abdel-Salam performed a short, dialogue-free play with his peer, Mohammed Hafez. The audience was invited to interpret the performance.
Samar Idris, Naima Abdelwahed and Deena Stevens, the three visual communications students from AUS who interned with SAF during the March Meeting, presented a fun and visually compelling documentary they made about Revisiting Tarab: the seven hour musical performance organised by Tarek Atoui that featured 22 different sound artists. The film titled, Revisiting Tarab: A Disco Insect Documentary, highlights the diversity of artists - from the avant-garde masters of electronic experimentation to instrumentalists trained in classical Arab music - that came together for this performance, and the dancing they inspired late into the Sharjah night.