People of Pangaea

A series of photographs taken from the air tread the line between reality and fiction. The scapes, be it landscapes, desertscapes, even moonscapes, offer a multiplicity of possibilities as to where their locality could be or where their origins stem from. Raising more questions than diffusing answers, these images present wonders in no uncertain terms.

The photographs of these anomalous formations, the oldest of which believed to be 9,000 years old, are aerial views shot over the vicinity of the holy city of Medina. The patterns created across the land are recognised as either gates, kites or keys, identified by pilots in the early 1920’s. They each occupy vast areas of land through a very ordered and distinct placement of the volcanic rock.

The artist’s selection of this body of work to reflect on the exhibition concept questions history on the value of its past in its relationship with the present. Being born and raised in Medina, the artist does not recall any mentioning of these mysterious structures; and yet, they have been known of since 1920s. Would the knowledge of their existence have changed his understanding of the present? Would it have impacted his interpretation of the past?

THE CLOCKS ARE STRIKING THIRTEEN

In a global, connected world, truth is mediated and nuanced by a large variety of lenses, contexts and individual perspectives. The idea that global information systems are built on a power structure that prevents us from balanced consideration and informed discussion seems to resonate more than ever today.  

For this exhibition, artists were invited to respond to a specific condition of our time: The incessant hunger for truth and the role of storytelling.  Encouraged to question the idea of absolute truth, each responded with different and prevalent narratives, from the domestic, to the geo-political, from the spiritual to the trans-historical.

Despite their individuality, the works in this exhibition provoke familiar and overlapping themes - artists express commonalities in their approaches to the subject, and the idea that so often truth really does seem stranger than fiction

Since the earliest times, it has been apparent that we need stories not because they provide valid epistemological descriptions, but because they have a cognitive function: the very act of creating, telling and hearing stories, whether true or not, allows us to make sense of things.

The irony is not lost that in enabling this exhibition at Athr, we have by the very definition of our roles, constructed a certain narrative, or at least selectively presented one.  With this in mind we would urge you to construct your own and find the reasons to tell it.

 “The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.”  Rumi