2013 – Sharjah, UAE
Maraya Art Centre commissioned a site specific project by Emirati furniture & objects designer Khalid Shafar. Shafar intervened in the space completely transforming the perception of the venue and creating a sort of disorientation effect through an installation that tells a story of recycling and the past.
The installation was inspired by imagining a date farm with many palm trees lined up creating pathways in between.
In the shaded space beneath the palms sunlight penetrates creating interesting geometric shapes when looking up. It’s a quiet space that is occupied by the sounds of birds, water and light winds. A space where a person can meditate and relax with nature, surrounded by something that has been there for many civilizations, religions, and cultures – The Palm tree.
In this installation, nature is reinterpreted by using materials that come from natural resources put together in a static form. 3 main natural materials are reinterpreted in this instance; Wood, Coconut Tree Fibres, & Henna plant/leaves. All wooden objects in this installation such as THE PALM trunks and benches are made of recycled construction timber that had been reused many times and often been left in the outdoors for long periods. This kind of material is specifically used to reflect the nature of the real palm trees being one of the toughest plants to survive the different weather conditions. Also, it’s an ecological statement for recycling. The walls are covered by a material made purely from coconut tree fibre. This creates a warm feel to the space. In addition, the natural smell of the tree fibres stimulates the visitors’ senses and imagination. The ceiling displays different motifs and designs of Henna (hand decoration for women) represented by the hand design cut-outs that play the role of palm tree fronds. Henna is made of crushed henna (hina) leaves mixed with water and used to create special designs on the hands of girls and women.