A Hanging Garden, 2007

Samir Srouji
A Hanging Garden, 2007
Crude oil, steel, sand, grass
Installation view


A Hanging Garden is a site-specific garden project that is informed by the tension at the far edge of growth and the desert. Grass, sand, gravel, and crude oil are the ingredients at play. This temporary installation is conceived as a composition of natural and man-made materials in vicarious balance suspended 145 cm above ground.

Viewing the peripheries of human development from satellite images, especially in the UAE region, one is struck by the seeming tenacity of green patches as well as by the fragility of their existence. There are no transitions; the shift from lush gardens to arid desert is a violent one. These gardens exist at a knife’s edge proximity to their demise and return to sand. A Hanging Garden echoes these confrontations and reflects on their immediacy.

It is said that the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon were created by King Nebuchadnezzar to cheer his homesick wife, who came from a mountainous green region to the dry, flat lands of Mesopotamia. Referencing the Babylonian myth, A Hanging Garden is also a contemplation on the human desire to transform geography; on the heroism and futility of this endeavor witnessed at the tenuous line between sand and grass.

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 8.