We the People is an example of Nari Ward’s exploration of the American experience. The familiar phrase is taken from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Although the statement appears to be bold and strong on the wall, a closer look reveals the shoelaces that create the text. Ward uses a common material, shoelaces of different materials, colours and sizes, to evoke the multitude of lives and experiences that make up America. At first sight, the work appears to be crumbling but a detailed inspection discloses the beautiful smaller elements. Just like America, the work can be perceived either as falling apart or being built up by the differences of its elements. Similar to the first edition of the work that was in English, the Arabic version highlights the formal elements of iconic calligraphy and asks a fundamental question: who ‘we’ are?
Taking its title from a work by Farideh Lashai that was itself inspired by Goya’s Disasters of War, this exhibition offers an insight into the radical ideas, visions and perspectives on humanity that inform the work of eight artists represented in the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection.
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