Inside Maraya Art Centre’s Latest Exhibitions

The exhibitions present artworks by Sama Alshaibi and Chris Wood.

By Sekka

Maraya Art Centre, a non-profit creative initiative by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), that supports emerging artists in the region, has announced the opening of two exhibitions titled Tell it to the River by Sama Alshaibi, and Liquid Light by Chris Wood. Chris Wood has also been commissioned to unveil a newly created, permanent artwork on Al Noor Island titled Flutter. The exhibitions will conclude on 30 June 2023 in Maraya Art Centre, Al Qasba.

Tell it to the River by Iraqi-Palestinian artist Shama Alshaibi, curated by Mo Reda and Cima Azzam

Tell it to the River is a mid-career survey of Iraqi-Palestinian artist Sama Alshaibi. Images courtesy of Maraya Art Centre.

Tell it to the River is a mid-career survey of Iraqi-Palestinian artist Sama Alshaibi, mapping a journey of a twenty-year practice. The works portray experiences of displacement, revolving around the social circumstances of an individual exiled from a city, a country and a citizenship as a result of war and migration.

This exhibition debuts two commissions: Prelude to the Round City, inaugurating the first chapter of Sama Alshaibi’s 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, and Iihyaa (Restoration), the closing chapter of Alshaibi’s project Silsila  (Link) from 2009 – 2017.

Tell it to the River manifests the legacy of time and tribulation in an embodied space of cultural meaning. Alshaibi professes and unburdens her experiences to this body of water that, too, endured and witnessed changes and destruction. At the same time, it is a vital source of regeneration, fertility and birth of life.

The exhibition is supported by Ayyam Gallery, Dubai.

Liquid Light by British artist Chris Wood, curated by Cima Azzam

Liquid Light showcases Chris Wood’s experimental installations. Images courtesy of Maraya Art Centre.

Chris Wood features her first institutional solo exhibition in the United Arab Emirates. The show reveals a visual dialogue between water and light. The artist uses a range of high and low-tech optical materials to harness patterns of light that suggest ephemeral glimpsed moments in the natural world. 

Liquid Light showcases Chris Wood’s experimental installations, which draw on the beauty of water and light, and their visual qualities that are often incidental, frequently understated and overlooked. 

This exhibition aims to encourage audiences to re-examine their relationship with the natural world. As one navigates the space, one shall be transported into the artist’s world and her unrequited fascination with water and light. 

Flutter – New Artwork on Al Noor Island by Chris Wood

Accompanying the exhibition Liquid Light, Chris Wood has also been commissioned for a permanent, site-specific sculpture on the nearby Al Noor Island, which is home to an iconic butterfly house in Sharjah. The sculpture, titled Flutter, traces the migratory paths of the painted lady butterfly. Their epic journeys are represented in meandering lines of optical dichroic panels. The artwork produces patterns of coloured lights that change over the day, reflecting these butterfly insects’ metamorphic transformation and fleeting life. 

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