Desert Ishmael Randall Weeks
Desert Displacements by Ishmael Randall Weeks
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Desert Displacements is a solo show by Peruvian artist Ishmael Randall Weeks, which is currently on view at Lawrie Shabibi. In the displayed art pieces he has created using such unconventional materials as walking sticks, stones, rulers, and others, the artist combines geometric forms with elements from history and metaphors. The exhibition will run through 9 February 2024.

Weeks’ creations (each anchors itself within social and spiritual contexts from Peruvian and Arab cultures) evoke visions of the past and future and emphasise a shared human experience across time and space. Through these works, he contemplates how physical structures shape our movements, emotions, communications, and dreams. So we as viewers are invited to think about how form and functionality impact our everyday lives.

Ishmael Randall Weeks, Desert Displacements (installation view). Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2024.

To produce the presented body of work, Weeks was inspired by parabolic shapes sculpted by nature in the Peruvian desert. They metaphorically connect the sands of Peru and the Arabian dunes. Another source of his inspiration was Peruvian olive trees thriving amid ancient archaeological ruins in the coastal landscape. The trees have adapted to their surroundings after being introduced by the Phoenicians, developed in the Al Andalus, and arriving with the Spanish. The olive tree symbolises peace and unity and has become a testament to cultural exchange. Weeks also reflects on the significance of the Peregrine falcon, an image connecting the Incan myths and Bedouin tales.

Ishmael Randall Weeks, Desert Displacements (installation view). Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2024.

About the artist

Ishmael Randall Weeks (b. 1976, Cusco, Peru) divides his time between Brooklyn (NY, USA) and Lima (Peru). He received his BA degree from Bard College (NY, USA) in 2000; in 2007, he graduated from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (ME, USA).

Weeks works with installations, sculpture, and video; he also produces works on paper. In his art, he mostly focuses on issues of urbanisation, transformation, and regeneration as well as on the themes of escape, collapse, and nomadic existence. To create his larger-scale works (sculptural objects and architectural spaces), the artist employs found and recycled materials and environmental debris, often on-site (aged books, empty tins, bicycles, etc.). These artworks take the visual form of functional objects stripped of their productivity to delve into notions of labour and utility and force us to explore our understanding of culturally specific forms.

Ishmael Randall Weeks, BIOMBO (DESERT DISPLACEMENT), 2023. Mirror, glass, steel.
310 x 180 x 40 cm | 122 x 70 7/8 x 15 3/4 in.
(9 Panels)

Weeks has exhibited in many solo and group shows which include HAWAPI Out of Context (PS122 Gallery, New York, NY, 2023); Código (Revolver Galería, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2022); Displaced Forms (Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Cromwell Place, UK, 2021); Non-Space (Revolver Galeria, Lima, Perú, 2020); Cuña (Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo, CDM, Mexico, 2019); Extraction (Galeria Nosco, Marseille, France, 2018); Próxima Parada: Artistas Perúanos en la Colección Hochschild (Sala Alcalá 31, Madrid, Spain, 2017); Focus: Latin America (Art Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 2016); and others. 

Ishmael Randall Weeks, TUNIC II (YABNI), 2023. Grout 700, corrugated steel, books and pencils, brass.
380 x 200 x 5 cm l 149 5/8 x 78 3/4 x 2 in.

Among the multiple fellowships, residencies, and awards the artist has received are Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at The Bellagio Center (Italy, 2017), Don Julio Award at Mexico Gallery Weekend (Mexico City, Mexico, 2016), Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) (New York, NY, USA, 2011), and Full Fellowship, Kiosko Art Residency (Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 2008), to mention a few. Weeks’ art pieces have been featured in such public collections as  Lima Art Museum (MALI), Museo d’Arte Contemporaneo (MACRO) (Rome, Italy), Deutsche Bank Collection (London, UK), and many others. 

To get more information about Desert Displacements, please visit the exhibition’s official web page.

You might also be interested in attending Lines in Motion by Pablo Reinoso.