Saturday 2 November, 2019 06:00PM - Saturday 8 February, 2020 08:00PM
1971 Design Space, The Flag Island, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
“FashCultivate” is an exhibition celebrating the date palm trees (Phoenix Dactylifera) for being one of the most cherished gifts of nature and their importance throughout the history of human civilization. Date palm trees have become part of the cultural and historical identity of the Gulf Region. They also play an important role in the region’s economy, with the UAE rated globally as the 6th largest producer of dates.
Rich in theirs long history, the seeds of the trees were believed to have travelled to the region 7000 years ago through traders of the ancient world and their nomadic lifestyles from places where the date palm trees were originally cultivated, such as the Indus Valley (now Pakistan) to Mesopotamia (now Iraq), the Nile Valley, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Horn of Africa. The date palm trees gained their highest appreciation within the Arabic Islamic culture and were frequently mentioned as both a fruit and a tree in the Holy Qu’ran. Different parts of the trees have been utilized for different purposes: for example, the tree trunks were used to support tents, frameworks and structures of human dwellings, while the leaves were incorporated in floorings, baskets and mats. The branches were used for making roofs whereas the seeds and dates became ingredients for making soups, oil-based perfumes, Kohl eyeliners and, of course, date syrup.
For this exhibition, seven designers from the Gulf region were invited to work on commissioned pieces within textile design, contemporary couture fashion and more in relation to the topic of the date palm trees – by referencing the trees’ various functions, fibres, compositions, colours, structures, nourishments, haptics and their sheer beauty as well as uniqueness at large in their creations. True to the exhibition title, Fash-Cultivate, the commissioned designers researched the date palm tree extensively, thereby defining certain narratives, aligning them with their own ideas and merging them in their final, hand-crafted results that will be on display at 1971 – Design Space, Sharjah, from 2 November 2019 – 8 February 2020. Alongside the commissions, the curators and Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council has developed a research with Dr, Sandra Piesik dedicated to new findings in relation the date palm tree which will be on show at the exhibition.
The exhibition is co-curated by Emirati fashion designer/curator Khulood bin Thani and Fatma Al Mahmoud (Head of 1971 – Design Space, Sharjah). The exhibition theme is also mirrored in the accompanying, bespoke exhibition design itself, created by Sharjah-based Interior/Product Designer Alya Al Ghfeli.
Abadia (KSA), Asma Al Mazrouei (UAE), Faissal El-Malak (UAE-Based), Hala Kiaksow (Bahrain), Hessa Al Suwaidi (UAE), Khalid Mezaina (UAE) and Maryam Omaira (UAE)