The Diving Bell & The Butterfly is a group exhibition of artists either based in Dubai or with roots in the region whose work is united by systematic techniques. Curated by Anna Seaman, the exhibition borrows its title from the novel by French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby who was paralyzed by a stroke and although able to only move his left eyelid, he wrote his book with the assistance of a translator. He suffered locked-in syndrome, metaphorically referred to as the diving bell, yet still managed a creative output, showing his mind to be free as a butterfly. Taking that principal thematic from an artistic standpoint, the exhibition features practices that deliberately place themselves within restrictions yet still find space for flexibility and expression.
Anna Seaman says: “The artists in this show have disparate practices which reflect, in their own varying ways on the dichotomies of life. When making the selection, I wasn’t looking for a single aesthetic, rather a way of working that acknowledges the act of creative freedom whilst staying within constraints. Viewed together, the artwork offers audiences the chance to ponder upon the systems that exist in daily life as well as enjoying stunning pieces of craftsmanship from regional practitioners.”