Last updated on Fri 14 October, 2011
14 OCT., 2011 - 22 FEB., 2012
BARJEEL ART FOUNDATION
Curated by Mandy Merzaban
Caravan is a term that historically denotes a company of travellers – often merchants, pilgrims or migrants – who venture across desert trade routes for business, cultural or spiritual purposes. Today, the idea of a caravan is associated with tourism and leisure. Tourist agencies invite visitors to traverse time in order to experience ancient civilisations, take part in ‘Bedouin-style adventures’ and visit a series of carefully selected historical sites.
Through history, fiction and travel literature has portrayed caravans in the Middle East in a way that straddles fantasy and reality. Meanwhile, modern-day caravan tours claim to offer a gateway into a romantic past including belly dancers, bazaars, camels, hieroglyphics and other opulent tokens of ancient Arabia. In both contemporary and ancient contexts, caravans contain both real and imaginary elements. They embody memories of the past that are only loosely representative of the complexities of cultural traditions and history.
Artists in this exhibition explore ideas of travel, nostalgia and reconstructing the past in a way that reveals the hazy divide between recorded history and myth. The artworks investigate both personal and collective histories behind prevailing ideas of the heritage, culture and antiquity.
Mandy Merzaban, Salwa Mikdadi
Barjeel Art Foundation, English/Arabic, 2011