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A Saudi Arabian tragedy

The Earth in all its glory

The latest exhibition at Majlis Gallery, “Guided by Gaia”, is an artistic exploration of the scientific theory known as the Gaia Hypothesis, which proposes that Earth (Gaia) is itself a self-regulating complex organism that has the ability to interact with other organic and inorganic substances to maintain and repair itself in optimum condition to harbour life. Thus if human beings fail to fulfil their responsibility of working together with Earth in this endeavour, they will simply be removed. The show has been organised in collaboration with Dubai Culture and the UAE Green Festival, and features works by South African artist Lynette ten Krooden and Irish photographer Daragh Muldowney.

To convey her eco-friendly message, ten Krooden has used old, recycled 300mm vinyl records as her canvas. Placed on acrylic stands, the records are painted on both sides with visuals depicting the beauty of our planet. She is also presenting a series of paintings in her signature gold leaf, sand and oil technique featuring the Earth, the Moon and elements of nature.

“My training as an artist and an archaeologist has given me a total fascination with the Earth, its formations and ever-changing ecosystems. These systems are often influenced by mankind, but I believe that they can never be completely altered or destroyed by us, because Gaia will always rejuvenate herself. After all, she has time and millions of years of experience on her side, whereas we are merely a tiny dot in the vast Universe. I always say we need a compass, not a watch, on our arm because we cannot do anything about the universal systems of time and space. We are only visitors here, and should be grateful that Gaia tolerates us, nurtures us and gives us the opportunity to experience her micro and macro cosmos,” ten Kooning says. “My work in this show is based on the photographs and notes that I have gathered over 30 years of documenting the landscape, during my nomadic travels, which I believe were ‘guided by Gaia’,” she adds.

Muldowney’s photographs capture tiny details that convey the beauty and purity of nature. “Long before I picked up a camera I felt my eyes being ‘guided by Gaia’. I have always felt a sense of belonging and connection with nature. A walk on the beach, up a mountain or in a forest makes everyone feel happy. And if we focus on this feeling and meditate on it, we can heighten this ‘feel good’ moment to a point where it can become a form of therapy. For me it is the small, all-too-often overlooked details that can bring the deepest healing. In this show I have tried to capture moments of pure connection with the beauty of nature by focusing on the sensual lines, the vibrant colours and the purity and simplicity of nature. My aim is to present imagery that induces a feeling of peace and calm in the viewer, as well as a sense of awe and responsibility for the world we live in,” she says.

“Guided by Gaia” will run at Majlis Gallery until April 17.