x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Columns of light illuminate Sharjah sky

Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has set up his Spectra light installation on Flag Island. It will shine each night until November 24 and will be visible as far away as Ajman and Dubai.

A Japanese artist, Ryoji Ikeda, has set up his Spectra light installation on Flag Island. It will shine each night until November 24 and will be visible as far away as Ajman and Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
A Japanese artist, Ryoji Ikeda, has set up his Spectra light installation on Flag Island. It will shine each night until November 24 and will be visible as far away as Ajman and Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

SHARJAH // A huge column of light will illuminate the skies above Sharjah as part of this year’s National Day celebrations.

A Japanese artist, Ryoji Ikeda, has set up his Spectra light installation on Flag Island.

It will shine each night until November 24 and will be visible as far away as Ajman and Dubai.

“This installation will include 49 custom-made lights arranged in a grid pointing skyward and the artwork will form a monumental column of light from sunset to sunrise,” said Nawar Al Qassimi, public programming and outreach officer at Sharjah Art.

“The powerful light will be projected thousands of metres as it reaches the Earth’s stratosphere and will be visible in neighbouring emirates.”

Visitors will be able to walk through the beams at ground level, looking up at patterns projected on to the clouds while listening to waves of sound washing over them.

“The cutting-edge digital technology is informed by mathematics of the utmost precision – every individual’s experience of this work is entirely different,” Ms Al Qassimi said.

Spectra forms part of a larger exhibition, I Look To You And I See Nothing. This will feature immersive sound environments, light installations and contemplative spaces that explore the boundaries of the viewer’s perception.

Curated by Olivier Varenne and Nicole Durling, the exhibition was co-organised by the Museum of Old and New Art, in Tasmania, Australia, and the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Another piece on display is Kurt Hentschläger’s ZEE, an indoor art installation that creates a dense fog that leaves the viewer feeling disoriented and almost weightless.

Strobe lights illuminate the fog in an evenly dispersed manner, creating kaleidoscopic three-dimensional structures in constant animation.

An ambient and minimal soundscape connects the viewer to the imagery.

“The foundation is also reaching out to members of the public with several arts programmes to expose the diversity of art and tell the public that they did not have to go to museums alone to witness art,” said Maitha Al Jassim, public and media relations officer at the Sharjah Art Foundation.

“We have shopkeepers in the neighbourhood whom we have transformed into art fans.”

ykakande@thenational.ae