The Sea Was Far Away and the sky further

March 2022-November 2022

What can we learn from nature about the essence of being?

Dubai-based, multidisciplinary visual artist, Shagayeq Arabi, sets out to question the flow of existence through evocative natural forms made with locally found objects, cast in their natural environment, to create a context of their own, the context embedding itself within the work, mirroring the life cycles of human existence.

Nature is an efficient system of moving energy around, via predation, symbiosis, death, and transformation without any preconceptions. The Sea Was Far Away And The Sky Further explores the flow of life as energy, continually knotting and unknotting, from flow to matter and back to flow in an immense wave of distinguishable forms, always and everywhere, simultaneously. It’s a state of imbalance constantly moving toward rebalancing, reaching a tender moment of fragile equilibrium, then passing, moving on.

In her monumental immersive installation, Arabi turns her attention to Gharaghir, si an Arabic term for the type of fishing trap found exclusively in the Khaleej peninsula, displaying sixty locally made sustainable floating traps, created by craftsmen in Umm Al Quwain, in the heart of the Emirates. Arabi provides the impetus for existential musing on the cycles of life, its vulnerability, its silence and screams, its mysterious yet clear natural condition and the state of being under its ubiquitous and polymorphic forms; at times fracturing, falling apart, decaying, and at other times integrating, fusing and merging in perpetuity.

In her works, she uses local, natural found objects and raw materials rooted in the anonymity of nature, contrasting their structures with what shapes its identity and fulfills its environmental purpose; later recycled for a new use: sometimes biologically subtracting, sometimes adding or dividing its elements into new shapes, meanings and forms, in parallel with the cycles and stages of human existence. Whether bacteriological, plant, mineral or man made like the Gharaghir it, assembled in situ, echoing nature, giving birth, continuously decomposing and metamorphosing into something new, whatever it may be, endlessly questioning its idiosyncratic quest for organic transcendence, crumbling, forming, birthing, swelling, harmonizing, always being, always dynamic and always in motion.

In The Sea Was Far Away And The Sky Further, Arabi explores the slow phases of life with its intricate, complex, convoluted, organic cycles of being: birth, growth and degradation adapting slowly to its environment, this becomes its ultimate form: constantly adjusting to its environment.

Her locally found objects, revisited with her interdisciplinary organic approach, plunge the viewer into a living experience at its most micro level, without any preconceived ideas and perceptions about the predefined path of nature

She invites us to ponder how entwined objects are – both living and inanimate – with their environment, and nudges us into a reflective narrative in the search for heritage and questions what it means to be alive in a certain place, at a certain time, within a local yet universal discourse. There are no questions, no answers, simply a testimony to

the transient state of being, both in terms of materiality and ethereal nothingness, whatever may be and wherever it may lead.

You are invited to behold this relentless organic journey of being without applying any meaning, as in nature, where everything small or large exists in a symbiosis, from birth to death in an endless cycle.

A multitude of different ways of being are vital, original, silent and always in profound motion.

This exhibition is a visual reminder that our lives alone are one thing and together they have another dimension, a solitary identity fuses with another to form something new, open to endless possibilities, no longer tied to a singular function or identity.