Online editor Colin Armstrong speaks with artist and designer Ranim Orouk about her work ‘The Revival’ that will be shown as part of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) pavilion at Abu Dhabi Art this year.
I was inspired by the Arabian oryx which was in danger of extinction. But in recent years the situation of the species has improved due to a successful breeding programme in Abu Dhabi that was started by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. My piece shows a series of oryx horns emerging from the sand, it represents the population of the oryx that recovered from the brink of extinction.
What was your inspiration to create this piece?
The first version of this piece was commissioned for the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi and it was for an exhibition that explored the theme of endangered animals. I picked the Arabian oryx which is a very important animal for this country. I was inspired by the story of the animal, there were as few as four left in the wild in the UAE before they were taken to Sir Bani Yas Island, where they started the breeding programme and now there are more than 700 of them – it’s been an amazing accomplishment. I wanted to celebrate that achievement in an art form.
What message do you hope that people take away from your work?
I wanted to create a visual piece that might inspire humans to reassess their relationship with living things, to be more kind and take more responsibility to protect animals. My work shows how hard it is for these animals and how cruel we have been in the past to them and we need to help protect the environment and be aware of conservation efforts, not only in the UAE but around the world.
How important is it to you as the artist to engage the public and deliver your message to them through your work?
I think it’s very important that’s why I always try to do things that people can engage with. It’s very different when it’s a 2D artwork, with pieces like mine I feel it speaks to people more and that’s what I wanted. I believe that if you’re not succeeding in engaging the viewers then the artwork is not delivering the message that it is supposed to and in that way, something is lost. It’s important for people to be able to identify with the message and the work.
You can see Ranim’s work at the ADMAF pavilion at Abu Dhabi Art taking place at Manarat Al Saadiyat from 14th-17th November. For more information, visit: abudhabiart.ae