“Artifacts of the Current Moments” is an immersive multi-layered art installation by artist, poet, and filmmaker, Nujoom Alghanem commissioned by Abu Dhabi Art for the Cultural Sites Programme this year.
It spreads over 7 rooms of Al Jahili Fort presenting works in diverse media centring around ceramic as a major material to reflect on the main theme of the installation which is the “current moment”.
The installation highlights the artist’s multi-disciplinary practice which includes poetry, painting, sound, film, and sculpture.
Known for her storytelling approach, Alghanem creates a subliminal narrative for the visitors of Al Jahili that is based on the different materials and tools she adopted in parallel with the subjects she has been exploring for the last six months, particularly in relation to her several visits to Al Ain Oasis. Her objective is to provide the audience with a profound experience at the Fort. She invites them to be in an open dialogue with the thoughts each section of the installation presents. This approach mirrors her personal journey, delving into the essential meanings of the known and unknown, the recognized and the concealed, and the prevailing psyche of existing elements versus those reverberating from ancient history.
She intentionally creates similar items to those that were unearthed in archeological sites aiming at situating them within a new historical context specific to this region and moment in history. Yet, she injects a contemporary touch, employing aesthetic choices such as interweaving ceramic pieces with industrial wires and utilizing diverse clay types, glazes, oxides, and waxes to reflect the present time.
While the inception of this theme dates back several years, Alghanem intensified her efforts during the Covid pandemic, viewing the lockdown as a pivotal, historical moment. For her, it was an opportunity for humanity to reconnect with nature and the inner psyche.
Alghanem contends that artists can construct alternative realities, making the world more bearable. She states, "there are hundreds of hours that pass throughout our lives either in waiting for things to happen or in waiting for the right time to start something more profound. In 2021, I started creating ceramic art pieces to address those moments spent in waiting, forming the foundation of this installation."
In terms of film, Alghanem produced a 7-minute art-film with an un-attached soundtrack that will be played in a separate room to engage the audience with each form independently.
Finally, it’s essential to acknowledge the support of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. This installation was also supported by Dubai Culture who provided her with the space and facilities to create her artworks at Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children in Dubai.
Nujoom Alghanem is represented by Aisha Alabbar Gallery, is a commissioned artist for Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites, Abu Dhabi Art 2023.