Filwa Nazer : DesertX

AIUla , Saudi Arabia

Under the theme of "In the Presence of Absence", Desert × AlUla 2024 asks 'what cannot be seen?' Often dismissed as spaces of emptiness, deserts are rendered mute, static, but there is much more than meets the eye. Artists taking part in Desert X AlUla 2024 have been invited to explore ideas of the unseen and the inexpressible. Encouraged to engage with what is not immediately apparent, they stage new encounters with the landscape, imagining alternative perspectives that appreciate the imperceptible forces and atmospheres of time, wind, light, the flows of history and myths woven into the place.

Inspired by a pre-Islamic belief amongst Bedouins - that spirits inhabit certain shrubs and ancient sites - Filwa Nazer explores the ideas of hostility and fear in relation to the nature of the desert. Nazer responds to the idea of the supernatural and the awe of the unknown with an installation that mimics the abstract wavy shape of a black snake with spiky triangles of transparent steel mesh layered one after another, reflecting on how humans create monsters with their anxieties and anguish.
The juxtaposition of different types of black steel mesh creates an eerie play of shadows next to the undulating structure. The serpent - historically a powerful symbol of rebirth, transformation, immortality and healing - represents here the incarnation of nature in its mysterious, devouring, and hostile guise. The shadowy journey of walking the narrow path, reaching the head of this monstrous structure, is a metaphor for the transformative energy of the serpent as it sheds its skin. Once the visitor reaches the ascending edge, the darkness fades and he is faced with the vastness of desert and mountains.


9 February - 23 March 2024

15 February 2024
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