Tensegrity - Ruba Salameh
17 October - 31 December 2020
Zawyeh Gallery, Unti 27, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
In her recent artwork series titled “Tensegrity”, Ruba Salameh breaks the rules or rather breaks free from the authority of the art form. Salameh builds concrete structures of abstract arrangements compromised of geometrical shapes using cold pastel colors and distributing the shapes carefully and minimally on the canvas. Yet, this monotonous harmony is disrupted suddenly and in a rather unexpected way. Salameh discretely introduces hordes of small chaotic ants crawling about in curiosity, assembling around the shapes as if trying to jointly carry them away. They gather in the corners as if stuck in search for their nest or are scattering around in conflicting paths.
Perhaps ants’ existence amongst a group of geometrical shapes in an artwork is a form of rebellion towards the traditional rules of art, as their presence transcends being part of the aesthetics and brings attention to these creatures’ pervasive organic ubiquity.
In a sense, one can feel these ants as an extraterrestrial element imposed on the artworks to disrupt the neat symmetrical aesthetic arrangement, although as organic creatures of the earth their presence on a piece of natural linen canvas shouldn’t be viewed as disruptive. Salameh plays on this contradiction consciously, putting ants in the center of attention, despite their discrete existence on the canvas similar to their organic discrete survival on earth.
The artworks bring to mind a striking similarity of the notion of resilience of an indigenous population in a situation where their own living space diminishes continuously as a result of an incessant expanding domination by a colonial power. Slowly and discretely, the indigenous population daily motions transform to a form of disruption to the supremacy of the dominant power.
“Tensegrity” is a representation of the disruption actions created by indigenous populations in rebellion towards external powers subjugation and attempts of consistent erasure. Even though this erasure might happen in a setup that unaware viewers might find pleasing from afar.
About Zawyeh Gallery
Zawyeh is an independent Visual Art Gallery founded in Ramallah, Palestine, in 2013. Since Feb 2020, the gallery has expanded by opening in a second location at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, UAE.
Zawyeh’s mission is to promote emerging and established Palestinian artists – from Palestine and the Diaspora – through various thematic exhibitions at home and aboard. In the past few years, the gallery organized several solo and collective exhibitions, showcasing artworks based on a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, installation, video, and photography.
Zawyeh aims at supporting young artists and showcasing contemporary and modern Palestinian art internationally through the participation in art fairs, exhibitions, and specific art projects. Zawyeh Gallery has participated in a number of art fairs including Paris Contemporary Art Show P/CAS (2019), Contemporary Istanbul (2019), Galleries at MAS Abu Dhabi (2019), Art Dubai (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016), Abu Dhabi Art (2019, 2018), and Beirut Art Fair(2018, 2017).
Zawyeh believes in investing in creativity and artistic talents in Palestine, as a way of resilience in the face of adversaries.
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