16 March–16 June 2018
Gallery 3, Al Mureijah Square, Sharjah
Sharjah Art Foundation presents the first major solo exhibition of work by Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, recognised as a principal contributor to the development of contemporary art in the UAE. Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Elements spans over three decades of the Emirati artist’s practice and includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations as well as two new site-specific commissions.
A conceptual artist who works primarily with natural materials, Ibrahim is largely known for his land art. He creates artworks inspired by both primitive symbols as well as his lifelong relationship with the environment of his hometown Khorfakkan, situated between the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Hajar Mountains on the other.
‘We are delighted that Sharjah Art Foundation is presenting Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim’s first major solo exhibition,’ said Al Qasimi. ‘As one of the UAE’s pioneering conceptual artists, Ibrahim has developed a contemporary visual language where the primordial and the subconscious intersect. For over three decades his work has addressed the alarming effects of urban development on the natural environment, raising critical issues that affect us all.’
Encompassing the various forms in which Ibrahim works, this survey traces the aesthetic and conceptual concerns that run throughout the artist’s practice, such as his use of permutations and his disquiet about the demise of nature that accompanies urban development. His preoccupation with nature can also be seen in the materials he employs, such as hay, plastic bottles, mud and other natural and domestic elements.
The artist’s two new site-specific installations in Sharjah Art Foundation’s Bait Makrani and Bait Al Hurma expand on Ibrahim’s meditative practice of repetitively drawing symbols and lines. The artist sees the symbols he creates as a language for himself–one that comments on the psychology and subconscious of people and the mundane actions they perform. In Bait Al Hurma, Ibrahim has wrapped the interior and exterior of the building with his symbols as an act of meditation, thereby intertwining a new form of language with the history of the space. In Bait Makrani, he shifts from his use of paper, cardboard, canvas or clay and shifts to a larger intervention within the building. He uses coal to draw a line on the floor and wraps plants with cloth to reiterate the intersection between the demise of nature and the rise of urban development.
About Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim is a conceptual artist whose main interests are working with natural materials and creating land art. His work is inspired by primitive symbols and derived from psychological concepts.
Ibrahim’s work has been shown in exhibitions at Abu Dhabi Art (2017); Portrait of a Nation, Berlin (2017); Cuadro Gallery, Dubai (2013, 2015, 2016); UAE Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2009); Khorfakkan Art Centre (2009); UAE Pavilion, Expo Zaragoza, Spain (2008); Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany (2002); Dhaka Biennial, Bangladesh (1993, 2002); Havana Biennial, Cuba (2000); Cairo International Biennial (1998, 1999); UAE Contemporary Art, Institute du monde arabe, Paris (1998); Six Artists Exhibition, Sharjah Art Museum (1996); Emirates Art, Kunstcentrum Sittard, the Netherlands (1995); Five Artists Exhibition, Emirates Fine Arts Society, Sharjah (1994) and Exhibition for the Emirates Fine Art Society in the Soviet Union, Moscow (1990).
Since 1986, his work has been presented frequently in the annual exhibitions of the Emirates Fine Arts Society, Sharjah, and it has also been featured in Sharjah Biennials 1–6 and 8 as well as numerous other regional and international exhibitions. His work is also part of the collections of Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah Art Museum and Kunstcentrum Sittard, the Netherlands.
Ibrahim participated in artist residencies at Trans Indian Ocean Artist Exchange, Kochi Murzi Biennale, India (2016); A.i.R Dubai (2015); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2009) and Kunstcentrum Sittard, the Netherlands (1994–1996, 1998–2000). He received first prize for sculpture at the Sharjah Biennial in 1999 and 2001. He has been a member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society since 1986 and founded Art Atelier at the Khorfakkan Art Centre in 1997.
Ibrahim received a degree in psychology from Al Ain University in 1986. He was born in 1962 in Khorfakkan, UAE, where he continues to live and work.
About Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.
Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organisations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.
Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons.
All events are free and open to the public.
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa