Past and Present, Here and There

This collection is based on the interplay between Dubai’s historically significant local culture and its prominent global role. With a focus on intricate handwork and pattern, ArtLink Projects created a compelling discourse by intertwining contemporary abstract works with works by local craftsmen. The diversity of mediums, including oil, ink, photography, reliefs and sculpture alongside the locally-produced works, reflect Dubai and its important role within its immediate region and the world at large.

Music of the Pearl Divers
Pearl-Diving Shanties

Glory to God who Created Heaven and Earth
And with His Might founded and governed the stars
Seven skies lifted
And earth he made round with high mountains
And prayers constantly being read to the mountains
And made the mountains high and stable
Lifted by the forehead of a mighty bull Al-Mannayee

The Mashrabiya is a projecting oriel window that is enclosed by carved wood latticework and was a traditional element in Arabic architecture from the Middle Ages. Taking the Mashrabiya as a muse, ArtLink Projects designed and produced a unique wall sculpture composed of Arabic letters from a local pearl diver’s sea shanty, which was then printed with images of 19th century maps from the Gulf region when it was a line of pearl-diving villages. The laser has replaced the hand of a craftsman, taking a contemporary approach to an extremely traditional design technique.

Many of the traditional crafts from the region focus on skilled handwork and intricate patterning, such as khoos (palm leaf weaving) and talli (embroidery). As such, the collection is composed of works by artists whose focus on their craft and technique are reflected in the artwork.

“Although I do not formally meditate, my work is a form of meditation. When I am engaged in the creative process, I am very much in the moment and I usually forget everything else.”

Luisa Mesa, Miami-based artist.
“I am interested in investigating the possible spaces beyond our confrontation with reality. My paintings create an image that appears in flowing motion: the superposition of the wave-shaped color streams initiates the complex illusion of spatial depth. The aim is not to define the meaning within the picture, but to create a dialogue between the observer and the picture itself. For me, the most thrilling moment is when the picture creates a proper existence, reveals its nature, the inner reason of the picture.”
Christoph Schrein, Leipzig-based painter