Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A live performance art piece, that was previously installed in London’s oldest botanical garden, has now been reimagined for Abu Dhabi.

Installed at Umm Al Emarat Park here as part of its collaboration with Abu Dhabi Art, the Act II: The Climbing Vine can now be seen at the park’s Botanical Garden and Shade House.

Taken from the series, ‘Every Act of Recognition Alters what Survives’, the work by Iraqi artist Rand Abdul Jabbar explores the role of memory, in relation to place and history, through the use of sculptures that are set in dialogue with the park’s plants. The pieces, therefore, utilise the sensory and emotional qualities of the Botanic Garden and Shade House to provide focal points for contemplation and reflection.

Live readings

Live performative readings of The Climbing Vine, a personal text written by Entissar Hajali, a London-based Syrian writer and performer, took place yesterday, with repeat performances today and on December 11.

“I’m thrilled to see the installation come to life in the UAE through this collaboration between Abu Dhabi Art and Umm Al Emarat Park. The art installation and performance that I am presenting emerged from a participatory workshop through which I engaged women of the Iraqi and Arab diaspora in London in conversation around the role of memory in relation to place and history. The work, which features a series of sculptural interventions in dialogue evokes memory’s transformational power to defy boundaries of space and time, and their capacity to connect with cherished experiences from distant times and places in the present moment,” Abdul Jabbar said.


Abdul Jabbar is a Baghdad-born artist who borrows from and reconstructs the ephemera of place, history and memory, through the use of design, sculpture and installation as primary media of operation.

The artist will also conduct a free workshop at the park on December 5, where art enthusiasts will have an opportunity to join the artist for a stroll through the Botanical Garden.

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Promoting art

“Curating and creating opportunities to explore, experience, enrich and educate is what drives all our community-focused events and initiatives at Umm Al Emarat Park. We always welcome collaborations that allow us to support artists from the region and promote the local art scene, as we believe in always finding ways to nurture the local community and leave lasting cultural legacies,” said Rasha Kablawi, head of the park’s corporate affairs and communications department.