National Pavilion UAE - An Unexpected Cold Wave | Review of Walking on Water by Moza Al Matrooshi
  • An Unexpected Cold Wave | Review of Walking on Water by Moza Al Matrooshi

    2013-06-13 12.05.22 HDR

    “You have no water in your country” one visitor exclaimed, “Yet you can walk on it!”

    As part of the second batch of interns plugged into the National Pavilion of the UAE I had a lot of information funneled into me by my previous peers upon my arrival: where to go, what to do, how much I’ll love working and living in Venice, and a bundle of local secrets bestowed upon them by their Italian colleagues. As we weaved into the alleys and braided the city with our footsteps for the next two days I felt prepared to take on the city and it’s massive wave of tourists, it’s heat, and unevenly laid ground with a sore body and an open heart.

    As I floated on the escalator outside of the national pavilion of the UAE I was not overly eager to see the work because during the program’s training I have been educated about it and I was not expecting to have an overwhelming moment of awe and surprise as I walked towards it, but before I knew it I was thrown into the dark sea that was both calm and bitter and it rocked me in 360 degree panorama and plunged me out in seconds, leaving me sway my way out of it. I saw the pictures, read about it, understood the meaning behind it and was left in disagreement with it all, because to me it meant something completely different.

    This is the part where I am supposed to tell you what it meant to me, followed by a comparison of some sorts to water and Venice, and I should probably try to link it to a contemporary piece of artwork and start drawing connections, but I can’t. I lost all these thoughts to Mohammed Kazem’s sea. Kazem was able to contain the sea by the grace of modern day technology in a 360-degree panoramic dome as an extension of his Directions 2005 – 2013 series called Walking on water for the 55th Biennale di Venezia. I found it easy to relate to the people who stepped in and out of it quickly looking like they have just been washed over by an unexpected cold wave, and eventually came to this conclusion: I do not need to compare this piece with anything, because for an artwork to posses the strength to stand alone representing a whole country, and breed different reactions that are somehow bound by a common thread says more than I could.

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