Breaking Boundaries II at Firetti Contemporary
Breaking Boundaries II at Firetti Contemporary
   Reading 3 min

In collaboration with Dubai Culture, the Firetti Contemporary gallery is hosting Breaking Boundaries II, a group exhibition. Part of the Dubai Calligraphy Biennale, the show pays tribute to the history of linguistics, traversing its traditional boundaries to explore creative expressions through the works of five artists. These are Diaa Allam, Sawsan Al Bahar, Kaikhan Salakhov, Josh Rowell, and Yousra Wahba. Curated by Celine Azem (Co-founder and Director of Firetti Contemporary), the exhibition will end on the 1st of November, 2023. 

The exhibition features Egyptian artist Diaa Allam‘s (b. 1981) works from his Virtues series, in which, as the title suggests, he delves into human virtues and morals. He combines ancient calligraphic techniques with innovative approaches to connect history and the future. The cultural significance of Arabic calligraphy crosses national borders. So by blending this traditional art form with unconventional mediums (for example, NFTs, Metaverse, and Augmented/Virtual reality), the artist paves the way for cross-cultural appreciation and understanding.

Diaa Allam, Virtues on Tiffany Blue (2023) and Virtues on Pink (2023) (installation view).
Breaking Boundaries II, Firetti Contemporary, Dubai, 2023.

In the show, on view are also the art pieces of Josh Rowell. Celebrating the handmade in today’s world progressively dominated by the virtual, this British artist explores language and reshaping information. His Painting Language series explores the intricate nature of communication in the 21st century. Each painting is a coding system representing a text from different sources and languages. Rowell’s exhibited artworks draw from Sacred Geometry, a branch of mathematics ascribing symbolic and sacred meanings to geometric shapes and proportions. For example, two of his paintings investigate the origins of the Fibonacci Sequence. The other three feature a fragment of text from Harmonices Mundi by German astronomer and mathematician Johan Kepler. 

Josh Rowell, First 97 Numbers of the Fibonacci Sequence, 2022. Acrylic on Canvas. 150 x 300 cm.

Azerbaijani artist Kaikhan Salakhov‘s (b. 1993) work, whose hypnotising paintings are on display, is also based on geometry. In his opinion, understanding its principles is crucial to comprehend the architecture of the Universe. Salakhov gets his inspiration from Eastern geometry and Islamic art, which features numerous geometric ornaments incorporating profound knowledge of the Eternal. Through his practice, the artist expresses gratitude to his ancestors as well as Islam, the Quran, and the Kaaba. The latter is particularly significant in his art. It serves as the source of all geometric entanglements and symbolises the receptacle of all believers performing the Hajj.

Kaikhan Salakhov, The Holy Kaaba, 2022. Acrylic on canvas. 35 x 25 cm.

Syrian-Palestinian artist Sawsan Al Bahar (b. 1990) showcases her reinterpretated installation titled Leaving is Home, which explores how language impacts personal history. It comprises 3D-printed sheets inscribed with excerpts from the artist’s grandfather’s memoir: from an unfinished chapter in which he wrote about Jaffa (Palestine), his hometown he had left in 1948. Reconstructing this chapter, the installation invites viewers to confront fractured memories.

Sawsan Al Bahar, Leaving is Home, 2023. 3D Printed PLA. 24 x 17 cm. each. Total: 48 pcs.

With her background in Pharmaceutical Science, Egyptian artist Yousra Wahba‘s (b. 1977) practice brings together calligraphy and science. Her outstanding mixed media art pieces embodying DNA celebrate the evolution of human communication (language and writing). They also highlight the relationship between communication and our genetic code. 

Yousra Wahba, Genetic Glyphs, 2023. MRI of the spine & vertebrae, screen print on paper (b&w and color). 63 x 83 cm.

All in all, Breaking Boundaries II unites the past, present, and future of the language. It encourages visitors to contemplate how human experiences are interconnected and how linguistics and phonetics can unite cultures. 

To get more information about the show, please visit its official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

To stay tuned and be sure that you will not miss our latest art news, you can join our Telegram channel.