Silsila — Arabic for ‘chain’ or ‘link’— is a multi-media project depicting Alshaibi’s seven-year cyclic journey through the significant deserts and endangered water sources of the Middle East and North African region. Through this body of work, the artist examines connections between different cultures that are under threat of displacement, recognizing shared global issues that need to be addressed. Inspired by the great 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, Alshaibi loosely followed his ancient paths through the present-day Middle East and North Africa to the islands of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, a nation slated to be the first to “disappear” by rising tides, and onto Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, another island on the brink of extinction with. Alshaibi establishes that this recognition of geological interconnectedness and human interdependence is essential to addressing environmental issues. According to the artist, the story of water and desert is an enduring paradox and starting point for broader and philosophical readings that place mystical and historical importance on the natural world and point to our uncertain ecological future.
Included in the exhibition are nine prints and two videos. For Iihya’ – إحياء (Revival), this will be the premiere US showing.