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Date palm-inspired exhibition opens at 1971 – Design Space

‘Fashcultivate’ highlights the plant’s importance to the UAE.

On 2 November ‘Fashcultivate, a new exhibition curated by Khulood Thani and Fatma Al Mahmoud, opened in 1971 – Design Space, the multi-functional design space dedicated to the display and discussion of contemporary design.

Fashcultivate’ highlights how the date palm is both a symbol of the UAE and a cherished natural gift, using it as a source of inspiration for artists and designers to create commissioned works.

Faraara’ by Mariam Omaira

The work of some of the region’s most exciting artists and designers is featured; Emirati designers Khalid Mezaina, Asma Al Mazrouie, Maryam Omaira and Hessa Al Suwaidi, as well as renowned regional designers Faissal El Malak, Shahd Al Shehail and Hala Kaiksow, worked on design and textile pieces that reference the date palm’s various functions, structures and haptics.

Emirati interior and product designer Alya Al Ghfeli has also been commissioned to create a bespoke design for the exhibition, incorporating the theme of the date palm and reflecting it in a unique exhibition layout.

The Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council has also commissioned research, directed by the curators and conducted by Dr Sandra Piesik, to explore the use of sustainable materials made from the date palm and encourage the development of climate-friendly production. Dr Piesik’s research also explores the means through which we can use 21st-century technology and contemporary art to ‘re-engage with the 7000-year-old date palm and its cultural significance’.

Renewal by Shahd Shail

Fatma Al Mahmoud, Head of 1971 – Design Space, said: “The celebration of the date palm was key for Khulood and me, as curators. We will always have a deep connection to the date palm due to how these trees have provided, and continue to provide, for our communities in this region – including as a source of nutrition, shelter and materials for everyday tools. The works in the exhibition, the design of the exhibition and the concept of the Palm Fabric Textile Research Development have all exceeded our expectations and we are thrilled to be able to share this exhibition with the public.”

The exhibition opened on 2 November and was followed in the evening by a public talk, discussing sustainability in design practise, moderated by Co-curator Fatma Al Mahmoud and featuring Khulood Thani, Nada Taryam, Co-founder of Architecture + Other Things and Director of Civil and Architectural Projects at Bee’ah, and participating designers Hala Kaiksow, Faissal El Malak.

The exhibition is free to attend and open to all and will run until 8 February 2020.

The Mother by Asma Al Mazrouie

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