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Migrating Garden

Sep 2023, NADA House 2023, Governors Island, New York, USA

signs and symbols is delighted to present Migrating Garden, a site-specific installation by Shaqayeq Arabi for NADA House 2023. The installation comprises suspended sculptures that, together, compose a dynamic landscape in the air, responding to wind or the movement of visitors. Made of various organic and manmade materials, such as local twigs and mesh, the installation considers the shifting relationships and tensions between fragility and resilience, structure and flexibility, nature and existence.

Arabi's large-scale and immersive environments typically combine found objects with natural elements, including metal mesh, wire, paper, film, glue, twigs, plants, wood, and paint. Loosely held together or freely hanging, the individual components perform a tenuous balancing act, seeking an equilibrium between adaptation and stability. The natural materials in her work have a special resonance for the artist for their ability to bend yet resist external forces; an Iranian artist based between Dubai, Tehran, and New York, Arabi's installations can also be seen as a metaphor for the precarity of living in the Middle East. Through her work, Arabi not only accepts but embraces the conditions in which she lives, finding inspiration in images of resilience in nature.

The Sea Was Far Away And The Sky Further

March 2022, Farjam Foundation, Dubai, UAE

curated by Camelia Esmaili

Nature is an efficient system of moving energy around, via predation, symbiosis, death, and transformation without any preconceptions. The Sea Was Far Away And The Sky Further explores the flow of life as energy, continually knotting and unknotting, from flow to matter and back to flow in an immense wave of distinguishable forms, always and everywhere, simultaneously. It's a state of imbalance constantly moving toward rebalancing, reaching a tender moment of fragile equilibrium, then passing, moving on.

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And There Were Gardens.......

Jan 2020, Total Arts at the Courtyard, Dubai, UAE

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


The installation is a presentation of a landscape with actual fragments from the artist’s immediate environment and references to her imaginary garden, a vision of a dream, a fragment.

Dancing on Stilts

March 2020, Signs and Symbols, New York, USA

Dancing on Stilts & traversing the soggy ground
the blue sky is in the faraway horizon
and the memories of that fertile land is running in my veins.

- Shaqayeq Arabi

Signs and Symbols is pleased to present Dancing on Stilts, a solo exhibition by artist Shaqayeq Arabi. The exhibition features a site-specific installation composed of found objects and natural, symbolic material, combining sculpture with painterly elements to allude to shifting relationships between representation and abstraction, memory and materiality, structure and sensation. Read more...