I recently published the following contribution in the catalogue of the Emirati artist Hashel Al Lamki’s “Maqam” exhibition at this year’s Abu Dhabi Art, held at Manarat Al Saadiyat between 22-26 November 2023.
Beech, M.J. 2023. The Geology of Abu Dhabi Emirate: In every layer, a history untold. Pages 11-18, in: Venetia Porter and Laura Cherrie Beaney (eds.), Maqam – Hashel Al Lamki. Abu Dhabi Art – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
ISBN: 978-9948-769-02-6 [ download here =>> ]
Abu Dhabi Art presented the Gateway Exhibition: Maqam, curated by the curator Venetia Porter, in collaboration with the artist Hashel Al Lamki. Hashel Al Lamki is one of the leading lights of the UAE. Early to grasp the importance of climate action and environmental consciousness, he was also among the first of his generation to realise the need for artists to work together, to offer peer to peer critique and to create collaborative artist-run spaces.
Growing up in the Al Maqam district of Al Ain, Hashel was influenced by the beauty of its landscape and in particular by the dramatic nearby mountain range of Jebel Hafit. It was here that he first became aware of its ancient geology and the colour of its rocks. In the essay I contributed to the catalogue for this exhibition I give a snapshot of the history of this landscape. starting with the Mesozoic era, 252 to 66 million years ago when Abu Dhabi was submerged beneath the Tethys Sea and when significantly the rocks that now provide the region with its precious resources of oil and gas began to be formed.