Li Hongbo to debut regional exhibition at Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival

17 Dec, 2019

As part of this year’s Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, Maraya Art Centre is presenting the regional debut exhibition of Chinese contemporary artist Li Hongbo and his signature innovative paper sculptures.

Curated by Jolaine Frizzell, the exhibition, titled Bloom, is comprised of structures created out of 35,000 individual sheets of paper, creating with them sculptures of guns and bullets unfurled in a floral, polychromatic geometric arrangement that are inspired by the patterns prevalent in traditional Islamic art. An installation presented in a geometric pattern inspired by traditional Islamic art will also be on display under the theme ”Prospect”.

“In this large-scale installation, paper sculpture and traditional Chinese craft practices metamorphose in a manner that challenges viewers’ expectations from this bright field of colour resembling a garden,” Frizzell said.

Motivated by the Chinese proverb ‘life is as fragile as paper’, Hongbo’s practice revolves around this interpretation of paper, its significance within society, and his reinvention of the material to challenge his audience’s expectations of the works.

His intricate method includes pasting each sheet of paper together to create an accordion-like structure of bold colours which are then cut, polished and expanded into the final works. The exhibition presents 8,000 bullets, 2,000 pistols and 300 sets of AK47s in a deconstructed, vibrant and playful form that resembles a floral landscape

“While this practice originates from folk craft, it allows Li to allegorically propose that weapons must be disarmed for peace, and also shows how we can all experience beauty within the darkness of the world,” Frizzell added.

Since 1998, the annual Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival has been instrumental in promoting the various kinds of traditional and contemporary Islamic arts in the region through local and international exhibitions, intellectual programmes, and interactive activities.