28 March 2023
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Artist’s Garden : Samur by Zheng Bo

4 February


Zheng Bo’s practice aims to cultivate a kinship with plants, working with dance, film, drawing and installation that ask us to attune our attention to how we interact with the living world around us.

During extensive visits to different natural habitats in the UAE in 2022, Bo was captivated by the Umbrella Thorn Acacia, sometimes known as Samur. One of the most resilient trees in the Arabian Peninsula and also native to the Thar Desert of India and Pakistan, the central Sahara Desert and East Africa, the Samur provides food and shelter for humans, birds, camels, and insects; and it features in literature, poetry and religious texts across time.

For his Artist’s Garden commission, Bo choreographed a dance with two human dancers and a Samur tree growing in Sjarjah’s Mleiha desert as a way to understand and reconnect with the land and the tree. The dance pays homage to the tree’s tenacity and strength — the vibrancy of its branches, the delicacy of its leaves, and the defensiveness of its thorns. The performance is presented here as a film installation set within a landscape of indigenous plants that thrive in the desert.

Zheng Bo (b. 1974) grew up in Beijing and now lives on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Guided by Daoist wisdom, he grows weedy gardens, living slogans, ecoqueer films, and ecosoialist workshops; the diverse projects, alive and entangled, constitute a garden where he collaborates with human and nonhuman thinkers and activists. He currently teaches at the school of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

To 1 December.


4 February
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Jameel Arts Centre
Al Jaddaf
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