States, by Alaa Edris

Photo: "Southern Jordan Valley" (2017) by Nadia Bseiso, courtesy of the artist

Perceptible Rhythms/Alternative Temporalities features 12 artists from the Middle East and South Asia who explore the impact of conflict, urbanization and the climate crisis on their environments and the ways in which humankind can better care for the planet. 

Hailing from countries as diverse as the UAE, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the artists use multimedia, installation, photography, drawing and painting, to explore ways to live in harmony with the planet by reconnecting with past cultural histories, remembering extinct plant species, and imagining alternative ways for humankind to attune to nature. 

Leading Iranian-born artist Abbas Akhavan’s Study for a Monument presents bronze cast reproductions of flora native to modern-day Iraq whose environment has been decimated by decades of political and ecological turmoil. Jordanian photographer Nadia Bseiso explores the impact of water scarcity in villages along Jordan’s border with Israel, while in Disappearing Land, Egyptian artist Marianne Fahmy imagines a future map of the Nile Delta river basin, which scientists predict will face severe flooding. 

As curator Maya El Khalil writes, “In the process, they (the artists) find different temporalities, rhythms,  frequencies and  stories of possibility in the movement of seeds, changing riverbeds and botanical archives.”

The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF). 

View works featured in this exhibition



About the Artists

The exhibition features works by: Sarah Abu Abdallah, Abbas Akhavan, Sarah Almehairi, Nadia Bseiso, Marianne Fahmy, Abdulnasser Gharem, Ali Kazim, Mohamed Mahdy, Moza Almatrooshi, Maha Nasrallah, Filwa Nazer, and Christian Sleiman.

Curator's Tour

Listen to a guided tour of the works featured in "Perceptible Rhythms/Alternative Temporalities" by curator Maya El Khalil.

About the Curator

Maya El Khalil is an independent curator, based in Oxford, UK who has worked extensively in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf with artists, collectors and institutions to develop the identity and ideas that have defined a growing art scene. Her last exhibition, Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives, which she curated for the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation in 2022, celebrated 50 years of art in the UAE, showcasing over 100 artworks of more than 60 pivotal artists.

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MEI Art Gallery Exhibitions