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The Workshop and Fann A Porter present 'Gusts of Wind' by Shereen Shalhoub
The exhibition features experimental clay sculptures handmade by the artist questioning the livid and imperfect human experience.

DUBAI.- With a series of experimental sculptural clay works, The Workshop and Fann A Porter present Gusts of Wind, the first Dubai solo exhibition of Shereen Shalhoub. The artist, who trained at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York and lives and works in Dubai. She participated in last year’s Sikka Art Fair as well as exhibiting an installation at Al Jalilah Cultural Center in Dubai and now presents a body of work using clay and a variety of techniques to probe the nature of what it means to be human.

Many pieces in the exhibition reveal varying perceptions of bird’s wings, which the artist is using as a symbol for human experience. In some, the visible details of feathers are clear and others are more abstract and fluid, a result achieved through piping. The free-flowing forms are made by piping clay as slip - a medium used for moulding and casting the material. The sculptures have an imperfect finish reflecting the heart of the exhibition’s concept, which Shalhoub has based around a biological function of a bird’s wing. A bird has the ability to morph and change the shape of its wings to respond to its circumstances. They twist through a range of shapes, angles and asymmetries in a natural and constant metamorphosis. Here, Shalhoub used wings as a representation of inner truth. Her main focus was to raise a question; “if our true essence is to be flawless to be considered perfect, then how do we push through our own gusts of wind without any struggles?”

Some of the sculptures combine the piping technique with using dripped wax from candles, which Shalhoub uses as a metaphor for these layers. Each of us is made of many different experiences and these make us more resilient. Here, then, the artist is aiming to show that in order to survive the stresses and burdens of modern life, we too must adapt and also rail against the social perception of perfection.

“In this exhibition, I am portraying the message that life experiences that are continuously reshaping us and that we are on a constant journey. We are made of layers of experiences and at the centre of it is a core being, my work investigates this core and, in some cases, reveals it,” says the artist.

Shereen Shalhoub was born in Amman, Jordan in 1978 and began working in the arts in 2006 when she owned a virtual gallery in Amman. She worked alongside Sam Bardaouil on curating several exhibitions for artists such as Gulnaz Fathi, Mahmoud Taha, Sarwat El Bahr and many others. In 2008, she enrolled on a post graduate course in Art Appraisal in Tisch School of the Arts in New York, and worked with Bortolami Gallery while attending The Art Student’s League of New York. Here, she practiced different techniques such as egg tempera and oil painting under the supervision of Jack Faragasso.

She began experimenting with ceramics in 2016 and since then has primarily focused on installations. In 2018, she exhibited an installation at the Al Jalilah Cultural Center in Dubai and the city’s Sikka Art Fair.

The artist lives and works in Dubai, UAE.

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