“So To Speak” – Emirati artist Shamma Al Amri engages viewers in a language-themed exhibition at Tashkeel

From 14 September to 18 October 2022, visitors to Tashkeel can experience Shamma Al Amri’s exhibition ‘”So To Speak” – the culmination of her journey as the 14th participant of Tashkeel’s Critical Practice Programme.

As a multidisciplinary artist concentrating on the study of language, Shamma’s work demonstrates her interest in examining found text (such as graffiti and anonymous mark-making), as well as bureaucratic and dogmatic forms of text prevalent in the contemporary landscape. Her research delves into linguistic theory, the origins of script, and the study of sacred texts, stemming from her deep need to reconnect with the Arabic language and study its implications socially, collectively and politically.,

In this new body of work, Shamma Al Amri continues her ongoing research into language and developed related artwork under the mentorship of renowned typographer, writer and graphic designer, Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès and acclaimed Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem. The resulting pieces in “So to Speak” span a diversity of mediums from metal and wood to in on paper, prints and UV on plexiglass.

During her tenure on Tashkeel’s Critical Practice Programme, Shamma honed in on the root of a single Arabic word that dictates correctness, exploring the multiplicity of meaning and context to navigate concepts of agency and social behaviour within collective systems. Her particular interest lay in the study of Arabic text and its visual and theoretical implications as a means of shifting and expanding systems of engagement today. By drawing inspiration from pedagogical methods and sacred texts to popular culture, she invites the viewer to explore language as an expression of both image and meaning.

“Shamma’s culminating exhibition “So To Speak” underscores her commitment to learning and the lived experience, highlighting her extensive research into language and its expression through art,” commented Lisa Ball-Lechgar, Deputy Director of Tashkeel. “With such a powerful range of works produced during her year on Tashkeel’s Critical Practice Programme, the impact of this sort of support for the UAE’s creative community is tangible.”

The Tashkeel Critical Practice Programme offers sustained studio support, critique and production of one year for practicing contemporary artists living and working in the UAE. The programme culminates in an exhibition, publication or other digital/physical outcome. Each artist’s programme is carefully built around the individual’s practices and/or areas of research.

Shamma Al Amri’s exhibition ‘”So To Speak” opens on Tuesday, 13 September at 6pm with all works available for sale. Entry to the exhibition is free of charge to all UAE residents and visitors. Opening hours are Sunday -Thursday; 10am – 10pm and Friday; 9am – 12pm.