Monday, June 06, 2005

Sharjah road construction delays :: Gulf News
And sparse attendance at an art exhibit

The Sharjah Biennial 7 art exhibition closes today. A friend and I visited the exhibits located at Expo Centre. We and one other visitor who arrived about 11 am were the only visitors between the time it opened at 9 and when we left after noon.

Why the low attendance for a major exhibition? One factor would be the traffic. As Yogi Berra is alleged to have said about a popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

Another reason might be that many of the exhibits are audio visual and use English or English subtitles to translate. Little of the audio is Arabic. Descriptions are always in English and the artist's language; but not always in Arabic.

Many of the exhibits are from perspective of foreigners in a foreign land. Given that UAE nationals are less than 25% of population of the country, it would be interesting to see something at the people level expressing what it is like to be a native in a country with a large influx of immigrants. The UAE is, of course, not unique in this respect. One can be displaced from one's homeland. But one can be displaced in one's homeland, too, and not always because of physical violence.

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