Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park is adjacent to Jameel Arts Centre and is the UAE’s first arts-themed park. It was designed to balance the rippling water of Jaddaf Creek with the stacked geometry of the Jameel Arts Centre. The result, a fluid and easily navigated criss-cross of paths, reflects a hidden geometry that both defines distinct zones and builds an organic flow between them. The site-specific approach of park creators ibda design, an architecture studio founded in the UAE by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, placed a premium on accommodating both human behaviour and the aesthetic needs of the featured works.
Recognising the potential impact of severe environmental conditions – salt, wind, water, sun – the works featured in the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park will be exhibited on long-term rotation. Pieces installed at the opening of the park reflect themes of nature, atmosphere, transformation, immersion, and geometry as well as local and regional traditional forms.
Drawing upon the natural landscape surrounding his hometown of Khorfakkan (a city in the Emirate of Sharjah), Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim’s installation Khorfakkan Mountain Rock Wrapped in Copper String, 2007, is comprised of tons of rock collected over the course of several years. Each rock is wrapped with copper wire in an act of obsessive repetition that evokes both archaeology and the artist’s memory of a space before it is irrevocably changed by the UAE’s constant urban development.
David Nash transforms 700 kilos of tree bark through a ritualistic application of industrial blowtorches and chainsaws to produce a dark carbonised affect. The resulting work – Charred Column, 1993 – reflects the inherent tension between man and nature, and is designed to further evolve as the outdoor environments transform the treated sculpture over time.
Inspired by Cycladic sculpture and futurism, Helaine Blumenfeld brings a mass of hard bronze to life with the fluid form of Tempesta, 2013 – a unique crossover between figuration and abstraction.
Talin Hazbar and Latifa Saeed reimagine the majlis – a site where family, neighbours and members of a community gather – with a seating installation crafted in terracotta clay. Created in close collaboration with local craftsmen, Left Impression, 2018, is comprised of a series of purposefully deformed geometric forms, emphasising their origin in artistic handicraft rather than industrial process.
Molla Nasreddin, The Antimodernist, 2012 by the collective Slavs and Tatars is both a working playground ‘ride’ for adults and children, as well as a smartly layered satirical commentary and reference to the legendary Azerbaijani periodical of the early 20th century. Here a life-size figure of the popular 13th century Sufi philosopher Molla Nasreddin faces backwards while riding a donkey walking towards the future. The work is characteristic of Slav and Tartar’s oeuvre, which often invites direct audience participation and regularly uses humour to excavate and explore the geography of Eurasia that is equally imagined and political.
The opening programming of the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park includes WATERLICHT, a large-scale, site-specific light installation by Dutch artist and design creative Daan Roosegaarde.
The park is developed in partnership with Dubai Holding.