water – and its production of history, culture, language, and society
‘An Ocean In Every Drop’ seeks to re-enchant our relationship with water, bringing together works that span from the 10th century to the present day, featuring 15 artists from 14 countries, from First Nations and indigenous communities, through Ancient Persia to the UAE.
Jameel Arts Through existing works and new commissions, the exhibition delves into environmentalism, mythology, spirituality, folk traditions, and lived experiences. ‘An Ocean in Every Drop’ is on display in parallel with Art Jameel’s ‘weather station’ – part of the World Weather Network project, located at Jameel Arts Centre and running until June 2023
Jameel Arts opens a major new group exhibition, ‘An Ocean In Every Drop,’ at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai’s contemporary arts hub, on September 22, 2022 (running through April 2, 2023). Its title was inspired by a 13th-century poem by Rumi – “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an ocean in every drop” – the exhibition speaks to the centrality of water in shaping our world and the complex web of relations produced by thinking with water, featuring 15 regional and international artists from 14 countries through history, from First Nations and indigenous communities, through Ancient Persia to the UAE.
Bringing together existing works and new commissions that range from large-scale installation and audiovisual works to manuscripts and works on paper, Jameel Arts’s ‘An Ocean in Every Drop’ seeks to re-enchant our relationship with water through history, from the 10th century to the present day, exploring the vast and ancient ways in which water shapes human development, produces history, culture, language, and social relations.
‘An Ocean in Every Drop’ asks us to think with water, following its flows through the past to inform our present, tapping into various thematics: environmentalism, mythology, spirituality, folk traditions, and lived experiences. Exhibiting artists include Jumana Emil Abboud, Martha Atienza, Raven Chacon, Cian Dayrit, Léuli Eshrāghi, Asunción Molinos Gordo, Abul Hisham, Candice Hopkins, Sohrab Hura, Hussein Naserreddine, Thảo Nguyên-Phan, Daniel Otero Torres, Karan Shrestha, Fatima Uzdenova and Munem Wasif, as well as the work of 10th-century geographer and writer al-Istakhri.
Approaching water as a life force, the exhibition sets out to understand water’s role in the production of myth and its anchoring of spiritual beliefs, connecting to a range of world views. By relating to bodies of water as living beings, it marks a transformation in our own approach to the climate emergency, centering our role in and relation to the issue today.
“The exhibition is part of a multifaceted attempt at Art Jameel to address the climate emergency and the role of arts and culture in shaping our understanding of it. By gathering together works from around the globe that bring into focus a range of worldviews, we hope to platform voices that shed light on the historical roots of climate change while offering a view of a more just, equitable, and sustainable future. At Art Jameel, we have implemented measures to reduce footprints as much as possible, such as choosing suppliers and materials that limit waste and carbon emissions. With Cop27 in Cairo in November 2022 and then in the UAE in 2023, this is a key moment for the region to engage in reducing footprint and responsibly, tackling resource scarcity.”Nora Razian, Head of Exhibitions, Art Jameel,