Perceptible Rhythms/Alternative Temporalities: Middle Eastern Artists on Sustainability and the Environment

Dec 14, 2022 - Apr 28, 2023

Curated by Maya El Khalil

Presented with Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation      


Perceptible Rhythms/Alternative Temporalities seeks to find new ways to relate to and care for the environment in the face of a warming planet and its impact on nature and humanity. Presenting works by 12 artists from the Middle East and South Asia, the exhibition explores aspects of the climate emergency that are particular to the region. Through the use of multimedia, installation, photography, drawing and painting, featured artists consider the transformation of landscapes, territories and ways of life to show how climate change is bound to extractive colonial and industrial histories that have informed the current state of emergency. Instead of resigning themselves to a declining planet, however, the artists’ works propose alternative ways for humankind to attune to nature. 


Against a backdrop of social realities like migration and conflict, exacerbated by the worsening climate crisis, the artists explore collective memory, history and their connection to the land through meditative, communal and research-based approaches.  In the process, they find different temporalities, rhythms,  frequencies and  stories of possibility in the movement of seeds, changing riverbeds and botanical archives. Their works imagine living in harmony with nature and cultural histories while their mythologizing of  seas, songs and trees enables a connection to land and place that in turn becomes worth fighting to preserve.  Through these new connections and memories, our relationship to the environment becomes intertwined with our care for self and community, each strengthening the other and creating new rhythms for life. 

Featured artists: Sarah Abu Abdallah, Abbas Akhavan, Moza Almatrooshi, Sarah Almehairi, Nadia Bseiso, Marianne Fahmy, Abdulnasser Gharem, Ali Kazim, Mohamed Mahdy, Maha Nasrallah, Filwa Nazer, Christian Sleiman.