Artist Idris Khan and UAP complete UAE’s first Memorial

The latest artwork by internationally acclaimed British artist Idris Khan – in collaboration with UAP – has recently been unveiled in Abu Dhabi.

Idris’s artwork forms the Memorial at the heart of Wahat Al Karama park, the first Memorial Park for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrating the soldiers and other Emiratis who made sacrifices while serving their nation.

International art and design studio UAP was appointed to commission the Memorial and collaborated on the pavilion. The studio is behind some ground-breaking projects, such as the centrepiece of the ‘King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Breakwater Beacon’ in Saudi Arabia.

Idris was selected by UAP’s curatorial team from a number of world-renowned international artists that entered the competition. Khan’s profound affinity with the local UAE culture, combined with a strong western voice, made his Memorial the winning project.

Artist Idris said: “The idea was to create a park for reflection on both loss and remembrance, a spiritual place that conveyed unity and support. I wanted this monument to have positive and hopeful resonance while inspiring curiosity in sculpture and how contemporary art can influence emotions.

“The project allowed me to be ambitious and having been able to create such work gives me great pride.

“It is a place for serenity within a city busy with construction and growth, a major part of a country’s history and landscape that will be absorbed by the cultural awareness of future generations.”

The Memorial comprises 31 aluminium standing tablets, each 23 metres in height. The tablets lean on each other to represent unified strength, power and pride among soldiers, loved ones and their country. With its impressive scale, the Memorial represents the eternal martyr, a place of reassurance and defiance. Its two front tablets stand vertically and are intended to evoke a sense of humility when approached.

The tablets feature a series of Arabic poems and quotes from both the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The poems and verses encourage the viewer to discover and touch the engravings as they walk through the artwork, creating a personal relationship with the Memorial.


(from a press release)