Emirati artist Mariam Abbas debuted “Terra Ephemera: A Visual Cartography of Resilience” during the first Alserkal Lates of the season on September 28th. The exhibition delves into the transient yet resilient facets of the Emirati environment and its inhabitants. Abbas aims to illuminate the lesser-known local flora of the Emirates and encourage a collective perspective that encompasses the broader landscape beyond the skyline.
“Terra Ephemera” draws from Latin, with “Terra” signifying “earth” or “land,” representing the foundation where all aspects of nature and architecture coexist. “Ephemera” refers to transient, fleeting elements, which, in this context, pertain to the ever-evolving urban landscapes and the fleeting nature of desert vegetation. Together, they encapsulate the fleeting yet enduring essence of the Emirati land and its components.
The exhibition comprises seven paired elements: a botanical plant sketch alongside an acrylic painting of the same plant set against the UAE’s urban backdrop. Abbas emphasises the coexistence of architecture and flora, urging us to shift our gaze from the sky to the ground, where the UAE’s often understated and modest flora thrives in the city, desert, and mountains. This artistic endeavor serves to draw attention to these oft-overlooked elements of the local environment.
The title, “Terra Ephemera: A Visual Cartography of Resilience,” serves as an inviting prelude to a multifaceted narrative that maps the interconnected themes of change, endurance, and intricate interdependence. Through her art, Abbas constructs a kind of map, charting the intricate emotional, ecological, and cultural landscapes she explores. The concept of resilience acknowledges the enduring qualities of both Emirati flora and the rapidly evolving urban environments in the country. It embodies the tenacity and adaptability inherent in the subjects she portrays, echoing the indomitable spirit that unites the elements she depicts.
About Mariam Abbas
Mariam Abbas, an Emirati illustrator, designer, and visual artist, finds inspiration in architecture, botany, and the rich cultural tapestry that envelops her. She views architectural marvels as storytellers of the past, and botanical treasures as conveyors of cultural and historical significance. This perspective influences her art, which materialises in illustrations, contemporary paintings, and sculptures. Her preferred mediums include acrylics and pen & ink techniques, shedding light on her creative journey. Mariam’s distinctive artistic perspective has earned her recognition on various platforms, notably as the first Emirati artist featured on Instagram’s official account. Her work has achieved global acclaim, featured in publications like Harper’s Bazaar, The National, and Gestalten.
Location: Mestaria Gallery, Alserkal Dubai
Dates: 28 September – 19 October 2023