Multiroom exhibition, Zemanna, at Manarat Al Saadiyat is a visual exploration of the 1990s in the United Arab Emirates and of the impact of that decade on art and society. Although this decade is seen as the beginning of major change in the country’s population, it was characterised by the presence of street vendors and colourful neon-lit dukkan signs and had a mood of ease and simplicity; a time when life moved at a slower pace.
This exhibition, curated by Munira Al Sayegh with Dirwaza Curatorial Lab, showcases nine commissioned interactive installations that address the remnants of the 1990s and how they have contributed to this present time. The participating artists are: Afra Al Dhaheri; Aisha Al Ahmadi; Alaa Edris; Fadel Al Mheiri; Ghada Al Sayegh and Maytha Al Shamsi; Jumairy; Mays Albaik; Rawdha Al Ketbi; and Sree. They have created a multi-room experience to answer the question of: What led to the 1990s, and what did the 1990s lead to?
While pillow forts are universal, the Takya pillows common in many childhood homes in the United Arab Emirates became a cultural signifier: little homes within one home, within another home.
In artist Afra Al Dhaheri’s installation, Fwalat Al Aser, visitors can tap into their childhood, pick up a pillow and construct their own little safe havens, like building blocks.