Rana Begum's Dappled Light
Rana Begum’s Dappled Light in the Concrete Gallery
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To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Concrete exhibiting space, Alserkal Avenue is holding Dappled Light, Rana Begum‘s solo show featuring her artworks which have not been displayed in the region before, although the show itself has been touring. Begum’s work will explore how light, colour, and form interact with each other inside Concrete, responding to its minimalist lines and highlighting the building’s architectural conversation with light and form.

The displayed art pieces will include No.1228 Mesh (2023), a large-scale multicoloured “cloud” made of mesh suspended within the space, and No.1079 Painting Large (MG) (2021), a huge (10 m. wide) canvas full of bright-coloured splotches: even if you don’t move, the way the colours are applied leads to a sense of movement. Several wall-based artworks use various materials and forms to reveal the interplay of light and space. Other ones, such as No.1227 Net (2023) and No.1229 Wall Drawing (2023), are site-specific installations that respond to the surrounding architecture. No. 694 Hyetal (2016), Begum’s only artwork in which movement and artificial light are combined in dynamic interplay, will also be exhibited. It has been recently included in the Uncombed, Unforseen, Unconstrained exhibition presented alongside Venice Biennale 2022. In Concrete’s yard, there will be an outdoor commission, Begum’s latest sculptural composition made of colourful tessellated mesh panels.

Rana Begum, Dappled Light (installation view), Concrete, 2023. Photo: Mohamed Somji, courtesy of Alserkal Avenue

Moreover, visitors will have a chance to watch No.1080 Forest (MG) (2021), Begum’s first 37-minute film. It came out of lockdown watercolours she made of views out of the window of her flat overlooking Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. Then she started taking photographs. “You are encased in a kind of forest, and you see this incredible change and movement of light – daily, […] monthly and yearly, ” the artist said. The film is made up of stills taken every hour of the year with daylight; it is projected in a separate room at full height to replicate the experience of standing before the large window.

Speaking about the Dappled Light show, Rana Begum said: “In each touring location, [it] has transformed to create a new experience, a new narrative. I am […] excited to bring it to Concrete and see how it responds to the […] architecture. The geometric brutalism reflects my exploration into urban form, while providing a stark backdrop to the more nebulous surfaces of colour and soft […] light.”

Rana Begum, No. 1080 Forest, 2021. Video loop: 18″31 minutes Edition 1 of 3. Photo: Angus Mill, courtesy of at Mead Gallery

About the artist

Rana Begum (born in 1977, Bangladesh) is a visual artist living and working in London. In 1996, she graduated from University of Hertfordshire (Hatfield, Hertfordshire) with BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design. In 1999, she received her BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree (Painting) at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. In 2002, Begum graduated from Slade School of Fine Art, London, with a MFA in Painting.

Begum’s sources of inspiration are the urban landscape, the precision of geometry, traditional Islamic art and architecture, and such art history movements as Minimalism and Constructivism. Focusing on the interaction between light and colour, her art practice features drawings, paintings, wall-based sculptures and large-scale public art projects. To create her art pieces, Begum uses mostly industrial materials and repeating geometric patterns; the latter is rooted in her childhood memories of the repetition of recitals of the Qur’an.

Rana Begum, No. 1079 Painting Large (MG), 2021. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 370 x 1000 x 5 cm

Rana Begum’s art has been displayed at numerous solo and group exhibitions, such as Infinite Geometry, Wanås Konst, Sweden, (2021); A Conversation with Light and Form, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK (2018); The Space Between, Parasol Unit, London, UK (2016); Creative Folkestone Triennial, Kent, UK (2021); Seismic Moverments, Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2020); Eccentric Objects, CFhill Gallery, Stockholm (2020); Kettles Yard, Cambridge, UK (2018), The 11th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea (2016); and many others.

About the location

Concrete is designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) founded by Pritzker Prize winning architect Rem Koolhaas. It is the first building in Dubai’s history to be shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2019.

Launched in 2017, Concrete is a multidisciplinary and responsive space created with the capacity to present large-scale art exhibitions, symposia, conferences, fashion presentations, film screenings, corporate experiences, and private functions. It has hosted exhibitions and events in collaboration with internationally famous institutions (including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, Hayward Gallery, London and the Aga Khan Museum), luxury brands, well-known personalities, and leading international educational and cultural organisations.

The Dappled Light exhibition will be open to the public until March 22, 2023. To learn more about it, please visit its official web page.

You may also be interested in visiting World Art Dubai 2023.