Expo 2020 unveils community art project ‘Hammour House’ - GulfToday

Expo 2020 unveils community art project ‘Hammour House’


Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan attended the preview of the project on Thursday. WAM

Expo 2020 Dubai has unveiled Hammour House, its one-of-a-kind community art project, at an exclusive preview attended by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Hammour House will bring together fishermen, scientists, artists, school students and many institutions at Expo 2020 Dubai to showcase a selection of visually striking and emotionally inspiring installations on-site.

Inviting communities around the world to connect with the sustainability issues, Hammour House examines the coral reefs of the UAE and its inhabitants, particularly the orange-spotted grouper, commonly known locally as hammour.

Sheikh Nahyan said, “Hammour House embodies Expo 2020’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, which links creativity and engagement, and aims to bring the whole community together to build awareness, and enable action towards addressing our biggest challenges from the viewpoint of the arts.”

During the six-month mega-event, the project will showcase a vibrant tapestry depicting marine life created by school students using batik technique and sustainable dyes. It will also feature Hammour Fish, a sculpture made from ghost nets (fishing nets lost and/or abandoned at sea), by Australian artist Sue Ryan.

In an exciting and creative programme that includes daily knitting experiences and innovative workshops led by UAE-based artists and art teachers, visitors can contribute to an “ever-growing” coral reef sculpture, made from recycled materials, which will be showcased on-site at Expo 2020.

The programme also presents musical evenings in collaboration with the Centre for Musical Arts (CMA), where students will compose and perform an exclusive soundtrack, especially for Hammour House.

Bringing together diverse segments of the community and organisations, Hammour House narrates crucial stories that respond to Expo 2020’s subtheme of Sustainability (one of three subthemes, alongside Opportunity and Mobility), celebrating the underwater world.

One of its inspirations is the “One Thousand and One Nights” story of Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman, particularly the introduction of the story where the fisherman develops a friendship with the merman and learns about underwater life and begins to appreciate that fish are not only a source of food but also organisms subject to complex systems and hierarchies similar to those found on land.

Dr. Hayat Shamsuddin, Senior Vice President, Arts and Culture, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “Through our programming, we are highlighting connections between seemingly disconnected narratives and community members. By bridging arts with science, we aim to engage with serious topics to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability issues. By facilitating connections between fishermen, scientists, artists, schoolchildren, and institutions, we aim to address the future of our oceans. We also want visitors to consider that whatever happens in any ocean body, affects the entire environment globally.

“Through our collaborative art project, we want to create connections between communities around the world to inspire a better future for everyone, while also realising our common values regardless of the differences among us.”

One of the first global mega-events to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 runs from 1st October, 2021, to 31st March, 2022, inviting visitors from around the world to join the making of a new world and experience a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

Separately, on the occasion of the imminent launch of Expo 2020 Dubai, Majid Al Suwaidi, UAE Ambassador to Spain, has hosted several officials from the Spanish government and those in charge of the Spanish Pavilion at the expo to discuss the investment opportunities that the global event will create for Spanish companies. Xiana Margarida Méndez Bértolo, Secretary of State for Trade of Spain; Francisco Girao, Director of Defence, Security and Space Industries at Atrevia, and representatives of more than 20 major Spanish companies, as well as representatives of leading media outlets, attended the event.

During the meeting, Al Suwaidi highlighted the importance of the expo and its influence on the Arab region and the entire world. It will be an international business platform that will encourage collective action and create opportunities for addressing challenges through new ideas and solutions.

He then called on Spanish companies participating in Expo 2020 Dubai to capitalise on the competitive advantages offered by the event, stressing that the event will leave a lasting legacy upon its conclusion in April 2022.

The expo is expected to receive over 25 million people, with 70 per cent of them being from outside the UAE, he added.

“The UAE is establishing an economy that relies on human capacities after providing the world with a key platform for innovation and collective action,” Al Suwaidi stressed. Alberto Rubio, Director of the Diplomat in Spain Online Newspaper, who managed the session, described Expo 2020 Dubai as a starting point for a more developed and open future world, underscoring the UAE’s policies of openness and tolerance.


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