‘Desert Displacements’ by Ishmael Randall-Weeks at Lawrie Shabibi Gallery

Lawrie Shabibi Gallery presents Peruvian artist Ishmael Randall-Weeks’ second solo exhibition at the gallery, running from January 11 to February 9, 2024. The showcase transforms geometric models into utilitarian poetry, weaving through architecture, design, and social-spiritual contexts of Peruvian and Arab cultures.

Ishmael Randall-Weeks, Untitled (For my desert to yours), 2023, Brass, bronze, 250 x 160 x 140 cm. Photographed by Juan Pablo Murrugarra. Courtesy of the artist and Lawrie Shabibi.

“Desert Displacements” converge geometric forms with historically rich elements—walking sticks, stones, rulers—forming a tapestry of cultural references. Ishmael refracts past and future visions from Bauhaus architecture to pre-Columbian symbols, exploring construction processes’ societal impact. The exhibition prompts contemplation on how physical structures shape daily life, inviting reflection on form and functionality’s influence on existence. Inspired by the Peruvian desert’s windswept landscapes, the artist explores parabolic shapes mirroring nature’s unity with constructed forms. The sight of distant parabolic antennas forms a symbolic bridge between Peruvian and Arabian deserts. Observing olive trees thriving amid archaeological ruins, Ishmael notes their continuity from Phoenician introduction to Andalusian development and arrival with the Spanish. The olive tree, symbolizing peace and unity, becomes a testament to cultural exchange marred by conflict. Ishmael’s exploration of material and spiritual form delves into the essence of guidance and displacement. The exhibition connects ancient cultures, migratory paths, and contemporary worlds. The Peregrine falcon is a symbolic thread, representing freedom and power in both Incan mythology and Bedouin heritage. Sacsayhuaman, Cusco’s sacred site, ties the falcon’s symbolism to the sun in Inca beliefs, aligning with the vital role falcons played in Bedouin culture, shaping the identities of the Arabian Gulf’s people. Ishmael Randall-Weeks’ exhibition explores profound narratives, uniting diverse cultures through the lens of time, symbolism, and shared human experiences.

Ishmael Randall-Weeks, Retablo IV, 2023, Bronze, Grout 700, corrugated steel, notebooks and pencils, 200 x 120 x 5 cm. Photographed by Juan Pablo Murrugarra. Courtesy of the artist and Lawrie Shabibi.

About Ishmael Randall-Weeks

Ishmael Randall-Weeks, a Bard College graduate of 2000 and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture attendee in 2007, has exhibited internationally. His works feature in renowned institutions like MoMA P.S.1, New York; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK; and Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Italy. Other venues include Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; and London, UK. Weeks participated in significant events like the Havana Biennial and Bienials de Cuenca. His accolades include grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, and NYFA. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, and Lima, Peru, Weeks’ diverse portfolio embodies global recognition.

Location: Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai

Dates: January 11 to February 9, 2024

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